The Bridgewater State University Bears have shown their potential early and often in the first two games of the season. After trampling through Curry College at home under the Swenson Field lights 42-21, the Bears fell to a Division III powerhouse, Kean University (Union, NJ) on Saturday.
“It helps you learn who you are a little bit,” explained head coach Chuck Denune. “Nobody wants to lose a game, but if we can take anything out of it, it was a tremendous teaching tool to make any changes or fix any mistakes before we get into conference play this week.”
Thus far, BSU has been using a dual quarterback threat including last year’s starter Danny Higgins along with sophomore standout Alex McLaughlin, who rushed for 324 yards and six touchdowns as a running back last season.
The two quarterbacks proved the system was going to work week one against Curry College. McLaughlin rushed for two scores on 71 yards and threw for another touchdown on 105 passing yards. Higgins rushed for a touchdown on his way to producing 120 all-purpose yards.
Traveling to Union, N.J., the quarterbacks faced a tougher challenge, leaving Higgins shaken up on the way back after a 47-21 defeat. “It’s too early in the week to tell”, clarified Denune about the injury. “If he’s ready to play, I’m sure him and Alex will see series at different times in the game.”
The Bears can only look forward to their Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) schedule now. After experiencing both a big win, and a tough loss in their non-conference schedule, now is the time to buckle down and the team knows it.
“From the defensive side of things, I want to see them get more comfortable lining up against multiple formations,” Denune acknowledged. “Kean was a very fast tempo team, similar to an Oregon and Worcester is trying to move in that same direction.”
Outside of the quarterback situation, the Bears have a slew of weapons that they look to unleash on the MASCAC this season. Carlton Williamson is the lead running back and has accumulated 145 yards on 30 attempts through two weeks. Sophomore Travis Bassett, last year’s MASCAC Rookie of the Year, and junior Dukens Leon have caught a touchdown apiece and will head the receiving core going forward.
McLaughlin and Higgins also have a pair of larger targets to their disposal. Senior wide receiver Mike Viola and 6-foot-4 junior tight end James Keating have been and look to continue being big commodities in the Bear’s passing attack.
In a vote held by the MASCAC coaches, BSU is slated to tie for fourth place in the MASCAC. The team that they are voted to tie: this week’s opponent Worcester St.
Coach Denune realizes, “Week three, you start to settle into who you are and who you’re going to be for the season.”
The Bear’s attempt to settle in and attempt to define themselves as a team this Friday night at 7 P.M. on their home turf, Swenson Field in Bridgewater, Mass.