By Nicole Belair, Staff Writer
The UMass Dartmouth football team earned its first shutout since 2011 during last weekend’s Fall Family Festival, defeating Massachusetts Maritime 33-0.
Based on each team’s season record, however, the face-off between Mass. Maritime (previously 4-2) and UMass Dartmouth (4-3) seemed like it would have been a relatively even matchup. UMass Dartmouth also stands at 4-2 in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) and Mass. Maritime holds a 3-2 record.
The last time the UMass Dartmouth football team shutout an opponent was Sept 16, 2011 when they beat Plymouth State 16-0.
The Corsairs have only shut out the Mass. Maritime Buccaneers once before, prevailing 54-0 back in 2004.
On Saturday, the Corsairs collected a season-high of 705 total yards on 120 plays, the second-most plays run in a game in NCAA Division III Football history.
The 229 passing yards were the most for the Corsairs in the air this season. The Corsair defense allowed the fewest yards from an opponent this year, holding Mass. Maritime to merely 173 total yards on Saturday.
This was a strong performance by UMass Dartmouth’s defense, as the Buccaneers have been averaging just over 400 yards per game.
Nonetheless, neither team could find their groove in the beginning of the game. It wasn’t until the last 42 seconds of the first quarter that UMass Dartmouth found its spark.
Senior Cory Burnham broke through and found Abbi Bamgbose for a 23-yard catch in the end zone, putting the Corsairs up 6-0 going into the second quarter after a failed two-point conversion attempt.
The second quarter was just as slow, until sophomore quarterback Jacob Francis carried the ball in with 1:23 left on the clock, completing a nearly four-minute drive.
After another three-and-out by Mass. Maritime, Cory Burnham completed a 31-yard pass to Kevin Wadsworth, and then found Matt Clement for a two-yard toss into the end zone.
With just 12 seconds remaining, UMass Dartmouth senior Stephen Roy punched it in for the two extra points, ending the half with the hosts leading 20-0.
The Corsairs’ defense continued to impress, preventing the Buccaneers from getting any points on the board in the third quarter.
Halfway through the quarter, UMass Dartmouth’s Alex Ortega intercepted a pass by Buccaneer Chris Haggerty.
Mass. Maritime couldn’t convert on a three-and-a-half-minute drive to finish out the quarter.
At the start of the fourth, Cody Burnham completed three passes and the run game resulted in a two-yard touchdown for Corsair Eddie Sheridan with 11:23 left on the clock.
With just under five minutes to go, sophomore Matt DeLeo rushed six yards for the final score of the game.
The Corsairs finished strongly by not allowing the Buccaneers to run more than five consecutive plays in the fourth quarter. UMass Dartmouth came out on top with an impressive final score of 33-0.
Of all of the weekends, it’s always exciting to have a huge win during an event like Fall Family Festival.
The Corsairs will be back on the road this coming weekend, traveling to Western Connecticut for a 5 p.m. kickoff.