WESTFIELD, Mass. – UMass-Dartmouth quarterback Jacob Francis rushed for 118 yards, rushed for one TD and threw another to lead the Corsairs to a hard-fought, 19-13, Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference win over Westfield State University at Alumni Field on Saturday afternoon.
UMass Dartmouth improves to 7-3 overall, and 5-3 in the MASCAC. Westfield's season draws to end with a 2-8 overall record and a 2-6 mark in the MASCAC.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Corsairs grabbed a 13-0 lead in the second quarter, getting a 55 yard TD run from Luis Gonzalez, and then added a 13-yard scoring strike from Francis to Abby Bamgbose with 45 seconds left in the half.
On a 35-degree day with 15 MPH winds that made offense hard to come by, Westfield finally responded after the half, getting a 24-yard 'scoop and score' touchdown from safety Alijah Ellis, after Rashawn Settles forced a fumble on a UMD pitchout play. Ellis' TD was capped by a 2-point conversion run from holder Peyton Capizzi after a bad snap on the extra point try .
Westfield trimmed the lead to 13-11 with a 35-yard field goal from senior place kicker Corey Pooler with 6:41 left in the 3rd quarter.
UMass Dartmouth appeared to put the dagger in with a 24-yard TD scramble from Francis with 1:39 to play, but the Owls gave themselves life when senior DB Jack Buckley flew in from the wing to block the point after try, and Ellis picked up the courtesy-hop on the block and rambled 85-yards for a defensive 2-point conversion that cut the Corsairs' lead to 19-13.
Westfield took over after the kickoff at their own 35, and moved the ball into scoring position with a15-yard scramble from Capizzi, who had entered at QB, and then Capizzi connected with Kevin Faughnan on a deflected pass on a 4th and seven play with less than a minute left to keep the drive alive.
On 4th and 10 from the UMD 33-yard line with six seconds left in regulation, Capizzi scrambled to buy time before lofting a pass into the end zone for a potential game-tying score, but Dartmouth's Jacob Burkhead knocked the ball down at the goal line to end the game.
Tony Slaughter led the UMD defense with 11 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a pair of pass breakups.
Pedro DelToro finished with 8 catches for 57 yards, while Bamgbose finished with seven grabs for 33 yards.
The Corsairs limited Westfield to just 160 yards of total offense on the day. Senior Evan Garvey caught five passes for 37 yards.
Westfield senior linebacker Joe Mazzotta finished with 15 tackles, a forced fumble and recovered a fumble.
Westfield State recognized its 18 seniors in a pregame ceremony as part of its traditional senior day activities.