By Staff Writer Greg Estabrooks.
Freshman running back Devante Greaves rushed for a whopping 237 yards and scored four touchdowns to lead UMass Dartmouth to a 41-27 victory over conference opponent Worcester State on Saturday afternoon at Cressy Field.
It was homecoming weekend, and a big game for the Corsairs, who with the win improved to 4-3 on the season and 3-2 in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference play.
Greaves headed the offensive explosion from the Corsairs, in which the team posted nearly 600 yards of total offensive yards. UMassD had success both on the ground and through the air in this one, as sophomore quarterback Stephen Gacioch completed 18 of 29 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown.
The Corsairs got to work early by marching 80-yards down the field to an eventual touchdown by Devante Greaves from three-yards out, just 4:25 into the game. The visiting Lancers would show some fight early on as well, as they evened the score 5-minutes later on a four-yard touchdown run by senior Hunter Paupaw.
However, UMass Dartmouth would soon take a lead that they would not relinquish the rest of the afternoon. Early in the second quarter, Greaves found the end zone from six-yards out for his second of the day to give the Corsairs a 14-7 lead.
And then a short time later with 8:34 remaining in the half, Greaves would score yet again on an eleven-yard run after a short punt from Worcester State that set up UMass Dartmouth with excellent field position.
After another Lancer punt, the Corsairs worked down the field unimpeded and punched another one into the end zone. This time, it was quarterback Stephen Gacioch who snuck across the goal line on 4th and 1 to give his team a 27-7 lead with 2:52 left in the second quarter.
Worcester State went three-and-out on their next possession, and gave UMass Dartmouth another chance with a few minutes remaining in the first half. The Corsairs would make the most out of the opportunity, and scored on an incredible flea flicker play with 9-seconds remaining in the 2nd to take a commanding 34-7 lead.
During the play, senior Matt Mitchell lateraled the ball back to Gacioch at the 23-yard line, and then Gacioch aired it into the end zone to junior Jacen Hudson, who leaped over a Lancers defender and came down with the ball for the touchdown. Believe it or not, Hudson would find himself on ESPNs Sunday NFL Countdown for his efforts the following day when Randy Moss gave him a shout-out on his #YouGotMossed section of the show.
The Lancers would fight back in the second half of the game thanks to some solid quarterback play from senior Noah Brum. Brum connected with sophomore Jordan Choquette on a 41-yard strike just 1:40 into the quarter, and then again with junior Jacob Maher from nine-yards out to cut the Corsair lead to 34-20 with 3:55 remaining in the third.
And then in the 4th, Gacioch’s pass was tipped at the line and picked off by the Lancers, who would convert the turnover to a score with 12:47 left to play on a Paupaw touchdown run to make it a one-score game.
The Corsairs refused to be rattled, as they pounded the ball with Greaves on the following drive, who found the end zone for his fourth touchdown in what would be the final score of the game.
The score, 41-27, would stand there until the end, as the two teams traded turnovers during the final minutes of the game. UMass Dartmouth sealed the deal late with a pair of interceptions from junior Mo Rainford and sophomore Sam Krajewski.
The Corsairs defense was also aided by a pair of picks from sophomore Jacob Burkhead, as well as one from junior Tony Slaughter. Junior Connor Russ led the team in tackling on the day with 8 total stops.
The 596-yards of total offense was a season high for the Corsairs, who have been moving the ball well most of the year thanks to a well-balanced pass-run formula.
UMass Dartmouth takes to the road this Saturday when they face-off against conference rival Framingham State, who currently sit a game ahead of the Corsairs in 2nd place with a 4-1 conference record and a 5-2 mark overall.
PHOTO COURTESY: CORSAIR ATHLETICS