Source: WestConn Football
By: Ryan Yursha
BRIDGEWATER, MA – Senior quarterback David James completed 18 of his 23 passes for 283 yards, threw for four touchdowns and added another on the ground as the Western Connecticut State University football team outgunned Bridgewater State University 42-33 on Saturday afternoon to extend their unbeaten record to 3-0. James, whom head coach Joe Loth said “played his finest game since coming to WestConn,” connected with sophomore wide receiver Will Daniels, who finished with eight catches for a total of 162 yards on the day, on two of those scores.
The Colonials defense, which Loth said “really stepped up in the fourth quarter,” forced three turnovers on the day, two of which came in the final frame when they conceded just one touchdown on five Bears possessions.
They didn’t wait until the fourth quarter to make an impact, though. Bridgewater State had taken their first possession of the game down to the Colonials 14-yard line when, following a short completion from the Bears Stefano D’Emilia to William Watts, senior linebacker Logan Danville knocked the ball loose and sophomore defensive lineman Jemeson Charlestin fell on it for the recovery.
On the ensuing drive, the WestConn offense looked to be stalling out following a holding penalty just after crossing into Bears territory, but on third-and-17, James hit Daniels for a 23-yard completion, setting up a 27-yard strike to Daniels on the next play to put the Colonials on the board.
But when D’Emilia got the ball back, he marched the Bears down the field and, in the final play of the 12-play, 75-yard drive, hit Colin O’Brien for a 20-yard touchdown pass to even the score before time expired in the first quarter.
Following a 31-yard kickoff return from sophomore running back Roy Penn-Consentino to the Colonials 42, James made short work of a short field, finding senior WR Devon Smith in the end zone for a 25-yard score to open the second quarter. Bridgewater State would come right back to tie it up at 14-14 on a 2-yard Nick Santavicca run.
The Colonials had great field position for a second consecutive possession after a Jahzarri Mullings kickoff return put them just short of midfield, and James completed back-to-back passes before calling his own number, giving WestConn the lead with 5:33 remaining in the first half.
Bridgewater State threatened to tie the score again following another rushing touchdown from Santavicca, but senior defensive end Jordan Fletcher came up big with a blocked extra point, WestConn’s fourth blocked kick of the year, to keep the Colonials up 21-20.
The Bears had a chance to pull ahead after WestConn turned the ball over on downs, but sophomore defensive back Jonathan Fox came up with an interception to keep Bridgewater State out of field goal range and the Colonials ahead going into halftime.
WestConn went three-and-out to start the third quarter, and Santavicca made them pay when he rushed for his third touchdown of the game to give Bridgewater State their first lead. The Colonials answered with a 71-yard drive that culminated in a 2-yard touchdown reception by Smith, putting them back ahead by one with the final score of the third quarter.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, D’Emila hit Colin O’Brien for a 12-yard score, and Bridgewater State took a 28-33 lead after a failed 2-point conversion. But a 28-yard touchdown reception by senior WR Nick Kimball put the Colonials back on top.
And following three-and-outs by both teams, a strip sack by Fletcher and subsequent fumble recovery by senior defensive lineman Malik Dawkins ensured that it would be the last lead change of the day.
After a failed Bridgewater State fourth-down conversion, senior kicker Jordan D’Onofrio connected on a 31-yard field goal attempt to give the Colonials a 42-33 lead, putting the game out of reach for the Bears with just over a minute remaining in the contest.
The Colonials will look to keep their unbeaten season alive when they travel to Worcester State University to take on the Lancers in their homecoming game on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 2:30 p.m.