By Sports Editor Tom Griffin
A powerful offense and some overtime heroics led UMassD past a high-scoring Husson 48-41 Saturday afternoon.
Early on, the Corsairs dared Eagles quarterback David Morrison to beat them through the air with his arm – he did so, scoring first in an efficient five-minute drive. Not to be outdone on home soil, UMassD put both game management and the rock in the hands of Junior quarterback Stephen Gacioch, who, in passing for 5 touchdowns and a career-high 512 yards, showed up to play and delivered in full.
The game that followed was an hour-long barnburner between two air raid offenses that had nothing slowing them down.
Throughout the game, the Corsairs and Eagles traded touchdowns back and forth, often answering one another in drives lasting only around a minute and a half each. For every long bomb produced by the Eagles quarterback, Gacioch responded with deep passing touchdowns to the likes of DJ Machado and Pedro DelToro.
As the score remained close between the Eagles and Corsairs for the majority of the game, success lied in the two teams minimizing their mistakes. While Gacioch lit up both the Husson secondary and the statistics sheet, he gave up two interceptions at critical moments. Trailing by seven toward the end of the first half, UMassD drove to Husson’s 38 yard-line, and were looking to tie the game until Gacioch was intercepted in the endzone. Later in the third quarter, now tied, the quarterback offered up a downfield turnover that the Eagles later drove with to take another lead.
Despite Dartmouth miscues, several key special teams blunders from Husson kept the home team in the game. Earlier, in the second quarter, the Eagles whiffed on an extra point that, had the game continued normally, would have broken up the tie and ended the game without overtime. Pinned to their own endzone early in the fourth, the Eagles punter let loose a floating 28-yard punt that started the Corsair drive a mere 36 yards away from scoring – a mistake quickly capitalized upon for seven by the UMassD offense.
Tied at 41, the overtime period began with the Corsairs electing to receive. Spotted at Husson’s 25 with their set of downs, the struck quickly. Gacioch, good for one more touchdown pass, found Abbi Bamgbose in the endzone for six. The defense, with the game on the line, stood firm, holding Husson scoreless in a quick four-and-out.
Starting 2-0 on their season for the first time in over a decade, the Corsair football team anticipates their last non-conference matchup against Dean on Saturday.