BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – The Bridgewater State University football team cruised to a 41-17 victory over Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) rival Westfield State University on Saturday afternoon at Swenson Field.
The Bears improve to 2-3 on the season and 2-1 in the MASCAC, while the Owls fall to 0-5 overall and 0-3 in conference play. The Bears are now 29-9 all-time against the Owls and 15-3 at Swenson Field. The two teams first met in 1982 and have played every year since.
Bridgewater State racked up a season-high 526 yards of total offense with a season-best 381 yards coming on the ground thanks in part to the outstanding play of the offensive line. It's the most yards rushing in a game for the Bears since November 14, 2015 against Mass. Maritime Academy (403 yds.).
Sophomore running back Jeremy Soule Jr. (Middleboro, Mass.) rushed for a career-high 195 yards and two touchdown on 21 attempts to pace the BSU ground game, while senior running back Nick Santavicca (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) racked up 118 yards on 19 carries. It marks the first time the Bears had two 100-yard rushers in the same game since that 2015 Cranberry Bowl win over the Buccaneers (Alex McLaughlin, Carlton Williamson).
Senior quarterback Stefano D'Emilia (Bridgewater, Mass.) completed 16 of 22 pass attempts for 145 yards and three touchdowns including the 40th TD pass of his career, while junior wide receiver T.J. Hairston (Watertown, Mass.) hauled in six receptions for 65 yards and two scores.
Westfield actually opened the scoring on senior kicker Corey Pooler's (Middleboro, Mass.) 31-yard field goal midway through the opening quarter. The field goal was set up by a 49-yard pass from senior quarterback Jake Cassidy (Salem, Mass.) to senior wideout Evan Garvey (Dalton, Mass.).
It was all Bridgewater State after that as the Bears scored on four of their next five possession in the first half to take a commanding 27-3 lead into the break.
D'Emilia connected with Hairston on a five-yard touchdown pass to cap off a seven-play, 62-yard drive, and then hooked up with Hairston on a 16-yard scoring strike to put the finishing touches on a six-play, 47-yard drive.
On their opening possession of the second quarter, the Bears moved the ball 64 yards on seven plays with sophomore wideout Maurice Ashley (Brockton, Mass.) finding the end zone on a 23-yard run to make it a 20-7 game.
A three-yard touchdown run by Soule Jr. capped off a seven-play, 53-yard drive (as well as the scoring in the first half) as the Bears took the 24-point lead (27-3) into the intermission.
An eight-yard TD run by junior running back David Coakley (Bourne, Mass.) with 6:58 remaining in the third quarter extended the BSU advantage to 34-3.
Westfield State capitalized on an interception later in the third quarter. One play later, Cassidy connected with junior receiver Cam Gallaghar (Uxbridge, Mass.) on a 31-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 34-10.
Soule Jr. broke off a 68-yard touchdown run with 7:50 left to play in the final period to make it a 41-10 game.
The Owls put together their best drive of the game late in the fourth quarter to account for the final score. Westfield moved the ball 75 yards on 14 plays with senior quarterback Andrew Peltier (Holyoke, Mass.) finding sophomore Todd Holloway Jr. (Ludlow, Mass.) in the end zone from ten yards out.
Cassidy completed 10 of 31 pass attempts for 135 yards and one touchdown to lead the Owl offense.
Junior linebacker John MacDermott (Bridgewater, Mass.), sophomore defensive end Dimitri Dorinvil (Brockton, Mass.) and senior defensive tackle Chris Gemayel (Dedham, Mass.) each finished with five tackles and one tackle for loss to pace the BSU defense. Gemayel's tackle for loss was a sack.
The Bears' defense finished with ten pass breakups and six tackles for loss on the afternoon, and stopped the Owls on 12 of 18 third down conversion attempts . Sophomore cornerback Jaren Alves (East Bridgewater, Mass.) notched two pass breakups to go along with three solo tackles including one for loss.
Senior linebacker George Cole (Chelmsford, Mass.) registered a game-high 14 tackles (seven solo) to lead the Owls' defensive effort, while classmate Joseph Mazzotta (Norwood, Mass.) notched 12 tackles (eight solo) and senior cornerback Jack Buckley (Tyngsborough, Mass.) recorded nine solo stops.
The MASCAC schedule continues for both teams next week. The Bears travel to Worcester State University on Friday night for a seven o'clock game with the Lancers, while the Owls host the Panthers of Plymouth State University on Saturday at noon.
Notes: D'Emilia moved into third place on the Bears' all-time passing yardage list as he has now thrown for 4,670 yards in his career . He leapfrogged a pair of BSU Hall of Famers, Vince Hickey (4530 yds.) and Dan Maurer (4628 yds.), on the Bears' all-time list….D'Emilia also became the fifth quarterback in program history to record 40 touchdown passes joining Maurer (57), Adam Camobreco (50), Danny Higgins (47) and 2019 Hall of Fame inductee Mike McCarthy (41).