By Brendan Coughlin
Bridgewater State football impressed once again as they improve their record back to an even 4-4 on the season. The victory over rival Westfield State University in their annual Sodexo Cup did not come easy. The Bears came out on top 27-23 to spoil Westfield’s homecoming game.
Quarterback Danny Higgins and his number one option, receiver Matt Green, made some magic on Saturday. Green would account for 216 of Higgin’s 286 passing yards. The two would connect three different times for BSU touchdowns.
“No doubt about it. He is really good. He battles hard every time he is on the field,” said Head Coach Chuck Denune, who has coached Green for his entire BSU career.
After a scoreless first quarter, BSU and Westfield would trade off touchdowns in the second. Freshman Alex McLaughlin scampered in from two yards out to strike first. Westfield’s quarterback Steve Guercio matched with his own 9-yard touchdown run to tie the game 7-7 at halftime.
With 4:20 on the clock in the third quarter, Higgins slung a pass from his own five-yard line to Green, who would come down with it and take off for the endzone. The 95-yard touchdown reception was good to tie the BSU school record for longest play, currently held by 2000 BSU quarterback Pat Callahan and receiver Chris Carr.
Denune commended his star receiver. “He’s basically rewriting the record book at this time, but he doesn’t care much about such things. He is a tremendous player.”
The high praise from Denune speaks volumes on Green’s character.
Westfield took a 15-14 advantage after Guercio linked with tight end Peter Knowles on a four-yard touchdown. A botched field goal attempt turned into a two-point conversion. Place holder Scott Nye connected with Knowles for the first Owl lead.
Two plays later, none other than Green hauled in another strike from Higgins and broke away for a 90-yard touchdown. The Bear’s two point attempt failed, leaving them with a 20-15 edge.
Westfield answered the call with another long possession. In 9 plays, Westfield went 67 yards down the field. Guercio found Colby Bostek this time for the score. The 33-yard touchdown was followed by a successful two point conversion attempt. Sam Laurin was on the receiving end on the of the conversion, making the score 23-20 for Westfield.
2:57 remained on the clock when BSU would get the ball at its own 14. Higgins looked to dig himself out of the hole he was in. He hooked up with three different receivers to get near midfield.
A fourth down conversion from running back Blaise Branch gave the Bears hope.
On the next play, Higgins tossed up what would be an unbelievable 38-yard snag by receiver Anthony Bullough.
With the game on the line, Higgins would connect with Green. The four-yard score came with only 41 seconds remaining on the clock. Bears fans were feeling confident as the scoreboard read 27-23.
Westfield had other things in mind on their home turf. The offense had played well all day, as Guercio ended the day with 324 passing yards. He once again led the Owls downfield. This time Guercio broke down the defense with four straight completions to bring his team all the way down to the four-yard line.
Dave Console made the hit to force a fumble by Laurin. AJ Pascuzzo recovered the fumble with 6 seconds remaining in the game, and BSU escaped with a victory.
“It’s what we have been waiting for. We have lost a couple games in the second half,” said Denune. “It was good to see them fight so hard and make it happen. It was a great team win.”
BSU Football will have a bye week before it plays its last two games of the season. The Bears (4-4, 3-3 MASCAC) will wait until their next matchup Saturday, Nov. 8 at Framingham State.
Brendan Coughlin is a Comment staff writer.