By Contributing Writer Jake Hunsinger
The UMass Dartmouth Football Team earned another win on Saturday, September 28th by defeating the Plymouth State Panthers 21-14 in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference in a home game at Dartmouth’s own Cressy Field.
Junior quarterback Stephen Gacioch accounted for all three touchdowns, two in the first quarter and one in the second.
Corsairs scored their first touchdown lead with 6:35 remaining in the first quarter on Gacioch’s three-yard run, growing that lead and maintaining it on the final play of the opening frame when Gacioch found junior Pedro DelToro from five yards out, and the hosts extended that margin to 21-7 with 5:48 remaining in the second stanza when senior Jeremy Jackson capped an 18-play, 84-yard drive by hauling in a three-yard strike from Gacioch.
The Plymouth State Panthers (3-1, 1-1 MASCAC) evened the score for a little while in the first quarter after sophomore quarterback Brett Lavanchy connected with senior David Hamilton on a 17-yard scoring strike less than four minutes later.
Lavanchy responded with a nine-play, 46-yard drive that ended with a 12-yard touchdown connection to sophomore Gavin Moody and sliced Plymouth State’s deficit to seven with 1:12 remaining in the half. This would be the final scoring play of the contest, as the final 30 minutes settled into a defensive tussle defined by a key series early in the fourth quarter.
After a punt block by senior Matt Shea set the Panthers up first and goal at the Corsair 1-yard line with 10:58 remaining, the Corsairs were able to maintain their defense for four straight running plays, including on fourth and goal when Hamilton was stopped by junior Chris Gomes on the two. The Corsairs retained control over the ball over the final 8:51 of action, as Gacioch rushed for 39 yards on nine plays on the drive and sealed the triumph with a third down conversion with 1:41 remaining.
Gacioch completed 32-of-45 pass attempts for 305 yards and added 104 rushing yards on 22 carries for the Corsairs, as he accounted for all but 24 yards of the hosts’ 433 yards of total offense. Senior Jacen Hudson and junior DJ Machado combined for 15 receptions and 124 yards for UMass Dartmouth, which converted 69 percent (9-13) of its third down opportunities.
UMass Dartmouth heads to Framingham, Mass. on Saturday October 5th to face off against the Framingham State Rams in what will be their third Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference matchup. The game kicks off at noon, and will give the Corsairs another chance to expand upon their winning streak.