FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- Freshman Devaun Ford’s (Mashpee, Mass.) four-yard touchdown run with 5:37 remaining capped a comeback from a 13-point halftime deficit and gave Framingham State a 39-33 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference football victory over UMass Dartmouth Saturday afternoon at Bowditch Field.
Trailing 26-13 at the break, the host Rams (2-2, 2-0 MASCAC) closed back to within six on their first possession of the second half when senior quarterback Adam Wojenski (Stratford, Conn.) connected with sophomore Austin Nunn (Bellingham, Mass.) on a 54-yard touchdown pass, and Framingham State evened matters with 3:20 to play in the third quarter after Wojenski threw a 97-yard scoring strike to senior Jacob Maher (Marshfield, Mass.). The visiting Corsairs (4-1, 2-1 MASCAC) regained a 33-26 advantage 54 seconds into the final frame on junior quarterback Stephen Gacioch’s (Tiverton, R.I.) plunge, but Wojenski forged the hosts’ third tie of the day when he hooked up with freshman Elijah Nichols (Burlington, N.J.) for a 26-yard touchdown on the hosts’ ensuing possession. Following a punt to midfield, Ford capped a six-play drive with the deciding score for the Rams, as UMass Dartmouth advanced the ball to midfield in the closing minutes but turned the ball over to allow Framingham State the chance to run out the clock.
Gacioch gave the Corsairs an early 7-0 edge after capping an opening 12-play, 80-yard drive with a 13- yard touchdown run, but Wojenski found Maher for a 39-yard scoring strike on the Rams’ first possession to even matters. Gacioch responded with another long drive of 76 yards that he capped by finding junior DJ Machado (Swansea, Mass.) from 21 yards out for a 14-7 visitors’ advantage, and the early see-saw affair continued when Maher hauled in a 69-yard touchdown pass from Wojenski on the very next play for the hosts, who saw the extra point blocked.
Gacioch and Machado connected once again from 31 yards out midway through the second quarter that extended UMass Dartmouth’s edge to 21-13, and the Corsairs recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff with a chance to add more points before being stopped on 4th-and-goal at the Framingham State six-yard line. Wojenski was sacked by sophomore Jay Bast (Cranston, R.I.) in the end zone on the hosts’ next play for a safety, and the visitors converted the free kick into a 20-yard field goal off the foot of junior James Tooker (Harwich, Mass.) with 1:41 remaining in the second stanza to take their 26-13 lead at the break, setting up the frantic second half.
Wojenski completed 14-of-25 pass attempts for 422 yards and his five scores while finishing with 475 yards of total offense in the triumph for the Rams, as Maher hauled in five receptions for 215 yards to go with his three touchdowns. Nunn had three catches for 128 yards for Framingham State, as the hosts collected 520 yards of total offense on just 54 plays from scrimmage. Gacioch, who entered the game ranked second nationally in Division III in total offense, completed 34-of-59 pass attempts for 343 yards and added 97 rushing yards to finish with 440 yards of total offense and account for all four scores for UMass Dartmouth, which ran 99 plays in compiling 516 total yards. Machado hauled in six receptions for 113 yards to go with his two touchdowns for the Corsairs, who received 13 receptions for 90 yards from senior Abbi Bamgbose (Worcester, Mass.).
Sophomore Shorn Hawthorne (Quincy, Mass.) recorded 10 total tackles, including eight solo stops, to lead the way defensively for Framingham State, which registered four sacks on the afternoon. Senior Connor Russ (Middletown, R.I.) posted nine total tackles, including six solo and three for losses of nine yards, in the setback for UMass Dartmouth, which also received nine stops from junior Jacob Burkhead (Plymouth, Mass.) and notched eight tackles for losses totaling 24 yards.
UMass Dartmouth will be idle until Saturday, October 19th when the Corsairs travel to Bridgewater, Mass. for a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference clash with Bridgewater State that kicks off at 4:00 pm, while Framingham State heads to Fitchburg, Mass. next Saturday afternoon for a MASCAC matchup with Fitchburg State that kicks off at Noon.