By Sports Editor Tom Griffin
UMassD’s hopes for an undefeated season were suddenly struck down in a close, high scoring showdown against MASCAC-contending Framingham state.
Leading by thirteen at halftime, the Corsair offense grew inefficient and scoring became more difficult as the game progressed. Putting up only one touchdown in the second half, UMassD watched as their lead slipped away in spite of a successful air-and-ground attack and a 440-yard day for Stephen Gacioch.
A series of costly mistakes plagued an otherwise impressive showing in the first half of Saturday’s contest. Gacioch, despite two passing and two rushing touchdowns, threw two picks, one of which set up an almost instantaneous touchdown drive for Framingham State.
Turnovers didn’t stop with interceptions, as two lost fumbles played a key role in handing the Rams an almost free victory. The first, stripped from Gacioch on the run from inside the red zone, turned a potential Corsair scoring drive into a four-play trip to six for Framingham State.
The second, torn from Abbi Bamgbose at the start of the Corsairs’ final last-minute drive, sealed the game in favor of the Rams.
While the offense found themselves struggling to move the rock in the second half, the defense suffered from lapses of breaking rather than bending. The Corsairs allowed a 400-yard-passing game for Framingham State’s Adam Wojenski, who, in a one-play drive and pinned to his own 3, torched the UMassD secondary for a 97-yard streak to the endzone. Where the Corsairs found two separate one-way trips to the endzone, they also let the Rams find pay-dirt through the air on five drives.
Aside from dropping the Corsairs to an unfortunate but respectable 4-1 on the season, this loss also causes UMassD to fall in terms of MASCAC football standing. Formally one of the few 2-0 teams within their conference, they now stand at 2-1, falling to fourth place just beneath their recent opponent in Framingham State.
This game also leads the Corsairs into their bye week, which they can use to rest, recuperate and regroup following such a difficult loss. Following this bye, however, is a five-game gauntlet against five straight MASCAC opponents. Starting with the 2-3 Bridgewater State Bears, UMassD’s football team will have its work cut out for it in trying to win its way back up the MASCAC championship ladder. This includes matchups against the undefeated Mass Maritime and Western Connecticut State that sit atop the conference.