BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- The Bridgewater State University football team dropped a tough 15-14 decision to visiting Kean University on Saturday afternoon at Swenson Field.
The game marked the home opener for the host Bears who fall to 0-2 on the young season. The visiting Cougars, who forced four turnovers in the contest, improve to 1-1 with the hard-fought victory.
Kean took advantage of the Bears' first turnover of the game midway through the first quarter as they recovered a fumble at the BSU 26 yard-line. The Cougars moved the ball inside the ten, but had to settle for a 28-yard field goal by Aryeh Mosalvi.
On the ensuing Bridgewater drive, Austin Davis picked off a Danny Higgins' pass at the Kean 14-yard line.The Cougars then marched 86 yards on 11 plays capped off by a nine-yard touchdown pass fromCharles App to Ben Guarino to increase the advantage to 10-0.
The Bears responded with a ten-play, 65-yard drive resulting in a Malik Garrett five-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 10-7 with 12:33 remaining in the second quarter.
That would be all scoring in the opening stanza, however, as the two teams punted five times in the second quarter. The Cougars also forced their third turnover of the half on a Robert Meade interception.
The teams punted three times to open the second half. Following a Kean punt which resulted in a touchback, Bridgewater took over at its' own 20-yard line. Twelve plays later, Garrett punched it in from four yards out to give the Bears a 14-10 lead with 2:40 remaining in the third quarter. Bridgewater converted twice on third down during the drive including a clutch 18-yard pass from Higgins to Travis Bassett on third-and-seven from midfield.
The Bears got a stop on the ensuing Kean drive, but Steve Ferlisi was able to drop the punt inside the five yard line where it was downed. The very next play, a Higgins' pass attempt was deflected at the line. Higgins caught the ball but was tackled by Darin Hungerford in the end zone for a safety.
Now trailing by just two (14-12), the Cougars took over at their own 47 following the free kick. The 13-play drive stalled at the BSU seven, and Moslavi booted a 24-yard field goal to put the Cougars back on top, 15-14, with 10:24 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Bridgewater moved the ball down to the Kean 22 on the ensuing drive, but on fourth-and four, David Coleman intercepted a Higgins' pass to end the threat. The Bears had one last chance late in the quarter starting at their own 21, but were unable to move the ball.
Hungerford finished with eight tackles including three for loss and forced a fumble to pace the Kean defense. Meade added six solo stops to go along with his interception. The Cougars limited the Bears to 258 yards of total offense forced four turnovers.
Ferlisi averaged 42.1 yards on eight punts and place three inside the 20.
App completed 8 of 15 passes for 69 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 58 yards. Brian Matthews led all players with 105 yards on the ground on 30 carries.
Kean finished with 213 yards rushing and 282 yards of total offense. The Cougars also had the advantage in time of possession as they controlled the ball for over 35 minutes.
Emmanuel Omere paced a solid defensive effort for Bridgewater State as he recorded ten tackles (eight solo) with a sack and three tackles for loss. Olubiyi Ojo also finished with ten stops (seven solo) with two for loss, while Nicholas Lopes checked in with nine solo tackles. A.J. Pascuzzo added nine tackles (six solo) and a forced fumble, and Elvis Romerofinished with eight tackles (six solo) with three for loss.
Higgins completed 14 of 32 passes for 130 yards. He also added 46 yards on the ground. Garrett was the Bears' leading rusher as he carried the ball 12 times for 61 yards and the two scores. Dukens Leon caught five passes for 49 yards and Bassett finished with four receptions for 46 yards.
Next Saturday, the Bears travel to Worcester State University for a one o'clock game with the Lancers. The game marks the MASCAC opener for both teams. The Cougars entertain The College of New Jersey next Friday night at seven in a New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) matchup.
Notes: With his four catches, Bassett increased his career total to 88 as he moved into fifth place on the Bears' all-time receptions list. He moved past both Ben Bascon (87 rec.) and BSU Hall of Famer Ron McCarthy (85 rec.) on the list.