Chuck Denune is heading back to postseason football this year for the sixth time as head coach of the Bridgewater State University (BSU) football team.
First, in 2005 and 2006, BSU took back to back ECAC bowl game victories before losing in their third consecutive year in 2007.
Denune’s most recent trip to an ECAC game was in 2011, a loss to Alfred University (Alfred, N.Y.), coming a year before the Bears made their most recent NCAA Tournament appearance, another loss at the hands of Widener University (Chester, Pa.).
After trailing 21-10 in the second quarter, and still behind at the halftime break, BSU’s offense exploded for 47 second half points and took home the “Cranberry Scoop” with its 64-42 Cranberry Bowl victory against Massachusetts Maritime, finishing the season with a 7-3 record.
“Both teams played really hard. They came out very inspired and we had to get into our guys at halftime,” said Coach Denune. “The offense turned on fire and the defense tightened up enough.”
The 64 points in the game tied a single-game score record. BSU had missed three point after attempts that could have sealed the record.
BSU will travel to Central Connecticut State University for a matchup with Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Penn.) in their bowl game, 12 p.m. on Sunday Nov. 22.
“We want to go down there and win, but either way it’s a good thing for this group of guys,” said coach Denune on the possible carryover effect this game can have to next year’s team.
The Bears will be taking on a fairly unknown opponent out of the Presidents Athletic Conference in Carnegie Mellon (CMU).
The two schools exchanged three game films apiece from this season in an agreement to become more familiar with their opponents.
What was discovered in the first 24 hours of breaking down the game films is that CMU running back Sam Benger is a problem. He has racked up 1,897 yards on 18 TDs on the ground this season.
“They want to dictate the game with their running game and he (Benger) has busted off 85, 90 yard runs left and right this season,” said Denune. “If you give him a seam, he’s going to make you pay for it.”
CMU runs a nearly balanced offense with their quarterback Andrew Hearon tossing 24 TDs on 1,912 yards on the year.
On the defensive side, the Tartans of CMU run a 3-4 defense, similar to what BSU saw most of this season.
“These championship games are a little bit different,” said Denune. “You go in there against a good competitor, a good team but I like our chances.”
The Bears will travel to New Britain, Conn. Sunday morning looking to bring back another piece of hardware for the trophy case.
Brendan Coughlin is the Sports Editor for The Comment.