By Chris Medeiros
The Bridgewater State varsity football team suffered a tough loss at home against rival University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on Saturday, falling 37-10. The loss brought the Bears to a disappointing 2-4 on the season, with 1-3 record in the MASCAC conference.
It was the third straight loss of the season for the Bears, who have slipped up a bit after a strong start. The team will look to band together and overcome the current funk they seem to be in.
“We are frustrated,” said Head Coach Chuck Denune of his team’s recent performance. “ A lot of work and preparation goes into these games and you expect results. We must press forward.”
The main reason for the Bears lack of production against the Corsairs can be attributed to mental mistakes and errors. Umass did not so much beat the Bears as much as the Bears hurt themselves with mistakes.
The score may seem a bit more lopsided than the actual story of the game, mainly due to the amount of turnovers and big plays by the Umass defense and special teams.
Umass accounted for five interceptions, two blocked punts, a blocked field goal and a forced fumble that led to a touchdown. The Bears never had a chance to get their offense going or establish momentum because the blatant amount of turnovers and big special team plays.
The Bears allowed for too many big plays and quick scores from the Corsairs to ever recover and make the game close. It was simple mistakes that did in the Bears in this one.
“We just did not play well. The game is still about blocking and tackling. We didn’t do either well enough,” said Denune.
After the large amount fundamental errors in the game against Umass, Denune feels it is time for the team to get back to the basics.
“Again it comes down to blocking and tackling. I know that is a vanilla answer, but that has to be fixed first,” he said.
The Bears surrendered 23 points on the board in the first half before grabbing their lone touchdown score of the game with just 28 seconds left in the half. The Bears put together an eight play 73-yard drive to answer the bell.
Freshman running back Alex McLaughlin capped off the drive with a four yard touchdown run that would prove to be BSU’s only touchdown score of the game.
As the second half ensued, the Bears were simply not able to keep up with the Corsairs, who pulled away for the easy win.
The Bears played without two of their three top receivers, resulting in BSU quarterbacks only completing 12 out of 39 pass attempts. The Bears were, however, able to find room for 182 rushing yards in the game.
BSU senior tailback Blaise Branch led the team with 83 yards on 13 carries. Sophomore quarterback Danny Higgins also rushed for 61 yards on ten attempts.
The Bears will look to regain their confidence and get back to the basics as they prepare for this week’s homecoming game against Plymouth State on Saturday.
In terms of the outlook for their next contest, the urgency to succeed is clear, as Dunune put it simply, “We need to win a football game, period.”