By Sports Editor Tom Griffin
The UMass Dartmouth football team suffered their second loss of the season with a devastating 56-20 blowout against Bridgewater State.
With this loss comes the unfortunate truth that the Corsairs’ previous hopes for an undefeated season, which had come to an end against the Framingham State Rams the week prior, were little more than hopes. Through four mostly uneventful quarters, the Corsairs couldn’t manage to put up more than 20 points.
Notable output from the Corsair offense includes two scoring connections from Stephen Gacioch to Jacen Hudson and Leroy Brown. Beyond these two highlights, UMassD scoring attempts sputtered.
Bridgewater State, climbing to an early lead, led by 35 through the first half. The Corsair defense managed to step up, allowing only one trip to the endzone in the third quarter, holding the Bears scoreless for the entirety of the fourth, and coming away with a pick-six to cut Bridgewater State’s lead to 36. However, the offense couldn’t produce in the second half, and the Bears’ massive first half lead was enough to secure a win for the opposing team.
Mistakes plagued both the Corsairs’ offensive and defensive showing against Bridgewater State.
The offense generously offered turnovers to the Bears, including four fumbles on the game, only one of which was lost. Stephen Gacioch, for as career-defining as his 2019 campaign has been, threw four drive-ending interceptions to the Bears. Backup quarterback Ryan Qualey eventually saw the field, only to throw an additional pick in his debut.
What’s interesting to note is that, while the Corsairs were smothered in Bridgewater State’s overwhelming lead, the UMassD offense went generally pound-for-pound with that of the Bears.
The Corsairs reached first down 23 times, compared to Bridgewater State’s 22 first downs. The Corsairs also successfully converted on 41% of its third downs, where the Bears could only manage to do so 25% of the time. Where UMassD failed, however, was in protecting the ball and extending drives.
As for the defense, its Achilles heel was its secondary. Allowing five passing touchdowns on the evening, the Bears were left to scamper away with long touchdown receptions of 64, 61, and 30 yards.
Where the offense succeeded in moving the chains, they failed their defense by prematurely ending drives and lacking in time of possession. Where the defense succeeded in ending drives and turning the ball over, they failed their offense by starting the team in a hole too steep to climb out of.
As a team, the Corsairs succeed and fail on each-other’s efforts, and their game against Bridgewater State was a clear example of a team loss.
The wave of disappointment that the football team is currently riding isn’t all bad right now, however. Sitting at 4-2 on the season, including two in-conference wins, the Corsairs are still sitting healthily above .500 and remain relevant within MASCAC.
With four upcoming MASCAC-related games between now and the end of the season, the Corsairs have plenty of opportunities to fix their in-conference standing. Starting against Worcester State this Saturday, the Corsairs will use their Homecoming game to right the ship.
PHOTO COURTESEY // UMASS DARMOUTH PHOTOGRAPHICS