BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – The visiting Bridgewater State University football team cruised to a 50-6 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) victory over Fitchburg State University on Saturday afternoon at Elliot Field.
The Bears improve to 1-3 on the season and 1-1 in the MASCAC with their first win of the season. The host Falcons fall to 1-3 overall 0-2 in conference play. The Bears are now 27-8 all-time against the Falcons as the two teams have met every season since 1986.
Bridgewater State scored touchdowns on each of their first five possessions of the game. The Bears racked up 429 yards of total offense (229 passing, 200 rushing) and limited the Falcons to 195 total yards and just 45 rushing.
Sophomore wide receiver Maurice Ashley (Brockton, Mass.) caught four passes for 107 yards and his first three collegiate touchdowns to pace the BSU offense, while senior running back Nick Santavicca (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.
Senior quarterback Stefano D'Emilia (Bridgewater, Mass.) completed 8 of 11 pass attempts for 160 yards and a pair of scores. Sophomore QB Brad Thiltgen (Cumming, Ga.) was a perfect 8-for-8 for 69 yards and a touchdown.
Santavicca's six-yard TD run capped off an 11-play, 92-yard drive on the Bears' opening possession. A four-yard touchdown run by senior wideout William Watts (Pembroke, Mass.) put the finishing touches on a 13-play, 72-yard drive to make it a 14-0 game.
Bridgewater capitalized on a Fitchburg fumble on the ensuing possession as the Bears took over at the Falcon 18. Five plays later, Santavicca punched it in from two yards out.
A 61-yard touchdown pass from D'Emilia to Ashley extended the BSU advantage to 28-0 with 8:30 remaining in the second quarter.
A Chris Easter (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) interception and 65-yard return gave the Bears outstanding field position at the Fitchburg 20. Two plays later, D'Emilia connected with Ashley on a 20-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 35-0 with 6:10 left in the first half.
After a missed field goal on their opening possession of the third quarter, the Bears strung together a six-play, 58-yard drive with sophomore running back Jeremy Soule Jr. (Middleboro, Mass.) finding the end zone on a 16-yard scamper to make it a 41-0 game (the PAT was missed).
Thiltgen hooked up with Ashley on a nine-yard scoring strike to give the Bears a 48-0 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Fitchburg broke up the shutout bid on a nine-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Connor Fitzsimons (Flushing, N.Y.) to classmate Joshua Nelson (Providence, R.I.) with 5:20 left to play. The Falcons, however, fumbled the snap on the PAT and BSU senior defensive back Miles Nessuno (Reading, Pa.) corralled the fumble and returned it all the way for two point for the Bears. The points marked the first in Nessuno's collegiate career.
Sophomore linebacker Steven Silvia (Dighton, Mass.) finished with a team-best six tackles (three solo) to lead the Bears' defensive effort. Senior defensive back Dylan Anti (Plymouth, Mass.) notched three tackles (two solo) and broke up two passes. Junior defensive end John Philpott (Gloucester, Mass.) recorded two tackles (one solo) with one for loss, while freshman cornerback Prince Brown (Lynn, Mass.) forced and recovered a fumble. Nessuno also added an interception.
The Bears finished with 27 first downs in the game and scored 14 points off three Fitchburg turnovers. Bridgewater also held over a ten minute advantage (10:28) in time of possession.
Offensively for Fitchburg, Fitzsimons completed 16 of 33 pass attempts for 150 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions, while Nelson finished with four catches for 52 yards and the score. Junior defensive back Joel Monteiro (Brockton, Mass.) led the Falcon defensive effort with nine tackles (seven solo) and one sack.
The MASCAC schedule continues for both teams next Saturday. The Bears entertain Westfield State University at noon, while the Falcons travel to Plymouth State University for one o'clock game with the Panthers.
Notes: D'Emilia moved into fifth place on the Bears' all-time passing list as he now has 4,525 yards in his career. D'Emilia leapfrogged Adam Camobreco who threw for 4.407 yard from 2002 to 2005….Santavicca now has 21 rushing touchdown in his career which ranks eighth on the Bears' all-time list. He moved past Clint Cabral who rushed for 20 touchdowns from 1989 to 1992…The 50 points marked the most in a game for the Bears since a 64-42 Cranberry Bowl win at Mass. Maritime on November 14, 2015.