Cooper, Aborishade lead Corsairs past Panthers in MASCAC affair
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Preston Cooper (Wareham, Mass.) and senior Abiola Aborishade (Attleboro, Mass.) combined for 300 yards of offense Saturday afternoon to lead the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to a 20-5 victory over Plymouth State University in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) football contest at Currier Field.
Cooper rushed 24 times for 155 yards and two scores, while also catching two passes for 13 yards. Aborishade caught 13 passes for 132 yards from sophomore quarterback Cory Burnham (Essex, Mass.), who completed 26-of-41 passes for 268 yards.
The Corsairs evened their record at 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the MASCAC while the Panthers drop to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in conference play.
UMD scored a touchdown on the first possession of the game, going 86 yards on 14 plays. Cooper converted a fourth-and-two play with a 23-yard burst into the end zone, and after two-point conversation failed, the Corsairs were up 6-0.
PSU recorded a safety on UMD's next possession. Holding the Corsairs to fourth down in their own territory, the UMD punt bounced off the back of an offensive lineman and caromed out of the end zone for the safety.
The Panthers pulled to within a point, by the odd score of 6-5, on a 34-yard field goal by senior Rob Giles (Derry, N.H.) midway through the second quarter. UMD had nine-play and 10-play drives stalled when PSU stopped the Corsairs on fourth down, so the visitors held a 6-5 lead at halftime.
Both teams had multiple possessions in the third quarter, with UMD putting up the only points on a 10-yard scoring run by Burham. The TD came two plays after freshman Diego Hebra (Concord, N.H.) recovered a Panther fumble at the PSU five-yard line. Burnham connected with senior Jake Scott (Somerset, Mass.) on a two-point conversion to give UMD a 14-5 lead.
UMD rounded out the scoring in the fourth quarter on Cooper's one-yard run with 6:33 to play, culminating a nine-play, 66-yard drive. Cooper's extra point rushing attempt failed.
Both teams nearly scored on the final play of the game. PSU had a second-and-goal at the UMD five-yard line, but Hebra intercepted the pass and returned it 94 yards before being tackled at the PSU three to end the game.
The Corsairs had a 459-210 advantage in total yards in the game. Junior Derek Tarpey (Tewksbury, Mass.) made 10 tackles to anchor the UMD defense, including four for lost yardage and two saves for minus 19 yards.
Senior Zack Wilkins (West Simsbury, Conn.) led the PSU defense with nine tackles (seven solo). Sophomore Joe Walsh (Taunton, Mass.) forced a fumble and finished with eight stops, including two for lost yardage and one sack.
Both teams play MASCAC games again next Saturday, PSU visiting Westfield State University at 1:00 p.m. and UMD returning home to host defending champion Framingham State University at Cressy Field (12 noon).
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