By Nicole Belair, Staff Writer
Fitchburg State’s defense was on top of its game on Saturday, November 5, as the Falcons held on for a 22-14 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference victory.
Fitchburg State held the Corsairs to a season-low in yards, with just 165 rushing yards and 62 through the air.
The first quarter was quiet, until Fitchburg State’s, Quinton Perkins, took a pass from Connor Fitzsimmons sixty yards for their first touchdown. The kick attempt was good, sending the Falcons seven points into the lead.
The Corsairs responded shortly into the second quarter. They took advantage of strong field position, starting the ball at the Fitchburg State 27-yard line. Running backs Eddie Sheridan and Michael Slaughter, Jr. led the team down the field, with John Beardsley catching the touchdown pass from quarterback, Cory Burnham.
The score remained 7-6 following a failed two-point conversion attempt. However, Fitchburg State extended their lead when Christopher Ludwig nailed a 25-yard field goal to finish out the quarter.
The Falcons entered into the third quarter with a 54-yard drive, concluding in a four-yard touchdown pass to Jesse Brown with the clock at 10:28.
The Corsairs didn’t back down, though, as Sheridan punched in the ball from the one-yard line. Matt Mitchell then completed the reverse pass to Burnham for the two-point conversion. With a lead of only two points, the Fitchburg State defense and running back, Jevon Brown-Simpson, geared up for the remaining time.
In the fourth quarter, the Falcons intercepted the Corsairs twice. Just 48 seconds in, a pass by Connor Fitzsimmons was intercepted at the UMass Dartmouth twenty-yard line by Tony Slaughter, who managed seven yards on the run-back. Jevon Brown-Simpson ran for 103 of his 166 rushing yards of the day to keep his team in possession of the ball.
Then, with 4:42 left on the clock, another pass was intercepted. This time, it was a pass by Slaughter, Jr. that was picked off by Jovon White at the Fitchburg State 41-yard line.
With less than two minutes remaining, Brown-Simpson ran in a 29-yard touchdown, increasing the Falcons’ lead to and putting the score at 22-14. Ludwig booted a perfect onside kick just moments later to keep the visitors in possession until the final buzzer.
UMass Dartmouth completed the season as the best offensive team in program history with 4,363 yards, breaking the record of 4,208 set by the 2008 team. In addition, the Corsairs finished the year with an impressive 2,879 rushing yards, just 51 yards shy of the program record.
Eddie Sheridan also became the first UMass Dartmouth running back to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for a season since 2008, with 1,087 rushing yards.David Collins also went out with a record-setting day, leading the Corsairs with thirteen tackles and beating his previous career high of ten.
UMass Dartmouth finished out the season with a record of 4-4 in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference. In addition, they closed the season with a record of 5-5 overall, posting their highest overall win total since 2011.