DANBURY, Conn. -- Freshman Luis Gonzalez (Greenacres, Fla.) rushed for a career-high 140 yards and two touchdowns to lead UMass Dartmouth to a 28-12 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference football victory over Western Connecticut Saturday evening at the Westside Athletic Complex.
The visiting Corsairs (6-2, 4-2 MASCAC) opened the scoring midway through the first quarter when freshman quarterback Ryan Qualey (Woburn, Mass.) connected with senior Abbi Bamgbose (Worcester, Mass.) on a 23-yard touchdown pass, but the host Colonials (6-2, 4-2 MASCAC) crept back to within one with 9:54 remaining in the half on sophomore Anthony Via’s (Washingtonville, N.Y.) six-yard run. Qualey and Bamgbose hooked up once again five-and-a-half minutes later on a 20-yard scoring strike that gave UMass Dartmouth the lead for good at 14-6, and that margin held up until the early stages of the final stanza when Western Connecticut pulled to within two on a five-yard touchdown pass from junior Thomas Walsh (Great River, N.Y.) to fellow junior Chris Pascall (Pennsauken, N.J.).
The Corsairs took advantage of a short field and extended their lead to nine points (21-12) on Gonzalez’s two-yard plunge with 7:39 to play in the contest, and following a Colonial turnover on downs with 3:22 remaining, the visitors iced their triumph when Gonzalez capped a six-play drive with his second visit to the end zone from two yards out.
Qualey amassed 139 yards of total offense (including 112 yards through the air) as part of a 398 yard total offense output for UMass Dartmouth, which received five catches for 81 yards from Bamgbose along with 58 rushing yards from junior Olawale Junaid (Boston, Mass.). Via rushed for 102 yards to go with his score in the setback for Western Connecticut, which received a combined 175 passing yards from Walsh and senior David James (Stamford, Conn.).
Senior Tony Slaughter (Springfield, Mass.) paced the Corsairs defensively with 13 total tackles, including a pair of sacks and three tackles for losses of 11 yards, while fellow senior Connor Russ (Middletown, R.I.) added eight total stops. Junior Sean Reall (North Providence, R.I.) also recorded two sacks for UMass Dartmouth, which has recorded its highest single-season win total in 11 years.
Junior Vincent Scancarello (Monroe, N.Y.) matched Slaughter with 13 total tackles (nine solo) in the setback for Western Connecticut, which received a pair of interceptions from junior Matt Abbate (Tolland, Conn.) and freshman David Boatswain (Brooklyn, N.Y.).
UMass Dartmouth hosts Massachusetts Maritime in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference clash next Saturday afternoon at Cressy Field that kicks off at Noon, while Western Connecticut heads to Fitchburg, Mass. for a MASCAC matchup with Fitchburg State next Saturday afternoon that also kicks off at Noon.