Shea sets new career high with ten solo tackles in loss
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Junior defensive back Matt Shea (Windham, N.H.) set a new career high with ten solo tackles and matched a career best with 12 total stops, but Plymouth State University fell to Bridgewater State University, 19-13, in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) football game at Swenson Field on Friday night.
The Panthers took a 7-0 first quarter lead when senior Zack Edwards (Brookfield, Mass.) connected with junior Jacob Szulc (Concord, N.H.) for a 27 yard score. Bridgewater found the end zone early in the second, but a missed PAT left PSU in front. Plymouth State added to its lead with a field goal from sophomore Jeremy Martin (Charlton, Mass.), but the Bears pulled in front with a TD in the final two minutes of the first half to take a 12-10 lead into the intermission.
The hosts extended the lead to 19-10 with a third quarter touchdown, but Martin connected from 30 yards out to make it 19-13 with more than ten minutes remaining. PSU was unable to put together another scoring drive, however, as BSU held on for the win.
Plymouth State drops to 2-3 overall and 1-3 in MASCAC play. All three of the Panthers' losses have been by six points or less. Bridgewater State improves to 4-2 and 3-1 in league action.
Plymouth State 13, Bridgewater State 19
Plymouth State 2-3 (1-3 MASCAC)
Bridgewater State 4-2 (3-1 MASCAC)
How it Happened:
* Plymouth State got on the board first late in the opening frame. Facing a third and ten from the Bears' 27-yard line, Edwards lofted a pass over a pair of BSU defenders to Szulc in the front left corner of the end zone and Martin's kick was true.
* The Bears responded on their next drive. After converting on three separate third downs, junior Nick Santavicca broke free for an 18 yard rush and one play later he dove in from one yard out. The point after was no good, though, giving PSU a 7-6 edge.
* Martin extended the Panthers' lead late in the second quarter, capping a nine-play, 40-yard drive with a 44-yard field goal to make it 10-6 with 3:45 left in the half.
* BSU answered with an efficient drive to pull ahead. Junior Stefano D'Emilia (Bridgewater, Mass.) hit senior Travis Bassett (Littleton, Mass.) over the middle for a 20-yard touchdown, but Shea made a nice play to break up the two-point conversion attempt.
* Bridgewater State caught a break as Plymouth's first possession of the third quarter ended with an unlucky interception. Edwards dropped back but had his pass tipped by a BSU lineman and sophomore Matt Willis (Raynham, Mass.) made a diving grab. The Bears cashed in on the turnover on a D'Emilia keeper eight plays later as the Bears extended the lead to 19-10.
* PSU moved the ball to the Bridgewater 37 yard line on its next possession, but the Bears forced a fumble and drove the ball 67 yards to the PSU 6 yard line. The Panthers' defense held, however, and the Bears were unable to convert a fourth and goal from the 1 yard line, turning the ball over on downs.
* The Panthers opened the fourth quarter with a strong drive. Edwards completed passes to Szulc for 17 yards and Osgood for 11 more, before finding Szulc for another 14 yards on a third and ten to get to the BSU 8-yard line. The Bridgewater defense came up with a key third down sack, though, and PSU had to settle for a Martin 30-yard field goal to pull within 19-13.
* Bridgewater looked to answer on the following drive, but senior Mitch Banuskevich (Milford, N.H.) out jumped a BSU receiver to come away with a key interception in the end zone.
* After both teams exchanged punts, the Panthers had one last chance for the go-ahead score. Facing a fourth and ten at midfield, Edwards launched a pass down the left sideline but the PSU receiver was unable to make the grab and BSU ran out the clock.
Inside the Numbers:
* Shea's 12 total tackles matched a career high, but his ten solo stops set a new personal best.
* Banuskevich picked up his first career interception with his leaping grab in the fourth quarter.
* Edwards finished 14-of-35 for 158 yards, while D'Emilia was 21-of-33 for 220 yards. Each quarterback had one touchdown toss.
* Junior David Hamilton (West Deptford, N.J.) led PSU on the ground with 64 yards on 14 carries. Santavicca posted a game-high 73 yards on the ground for the Bears.
* Senior Jack Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass.) had 12 catches for 128 yards, becoming Bridgewater's all-time leader in receptions (178), while also moving into third place on BSU's all-time receiving yardage list with 2,326 yards.
* Szulc led the Panthers with five catches for 79 yards, including his fourth touchdown reception of the season.
* Senior Brady LaFrance (West Paris, Maine) finished with eight tackles (seven solo) and a pair of pass breakups for the Panthers.
* Despite the setback, Plymouth State owns an 18-14-1 mark in the all-time series.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"Unfortunately we came up short in another one score game," said head coach Paul Castonia. "I give credit to Bridgewater. We have to learn to execute better on each possession and to eliminate our turnovers."
* PSU is back on the road again next Saturday (Oct. 13). The Panthers visit MASCAC rival Framingham State for a 12:00 p.m. game.
* Bridgewater State stays home for a Homecoming game against UMass Dartmouth on Saturday (Oct. 13) at 4:00 p.m.
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