By Jose Carrasquillo
In an intensely contested MASCAC matchup between Framingham State and Bridgewater State, the Rams squeezed out a 19-13 win.
In a defensive slugfest, neither side moved the ball until the second quarter when the Rams struck first.
Following an Adam Wojenski incompletion to Khaneil Bruce, the Bears were called for an offside penalty giving up five free yards. On third-and-three, Quron Wright gained 25 yards to move the ball to the opponent’s side of the Held. Following a Wojenski completion to Bruce, Framingham was called for a false start forcing them to a second and long situation. After an incompletion on second down and a Wright gain of seven on third, forced a fourth-and-short situation. Wojenski completed a 9-yard completion to Napoleon Miller to keep the drive alive. The Rams finished the drive with five consecutive rushes to score a touchdown. Rufus Rushins finished the drive off on third-and goal for a three-yard touchdown.
Framingham’s defense kept the momentum going by forcing a fumble from Jonathan Marrero to give the ball back to the offense.
The Rams failed to move the ball effectively with the great Held position due to a thrown interception on second down by Zakery Walker.
Bridgewater tried moving the ball using the rushing attack again, but failed to as the drive ended with another Marrero fumble.
After a Walker rush for eight yards, he found Bruce for a new set of downs. Using Wright’s rushing attack, he forced a third-and-short. The Bears were called for a roughing the passer penalty on third down moving the ball to the red zone. Framingham was unable to convert the Held position to a touchdown due to three straight rushes, forcing a Held goal. Framingham extended the lead over the Bears to 10-0.
Bridgewater tried moving the ball quickly before the end of the half, but made a mistake when Jaquan Harris put a stop to that on the fourth play of the drive. Unfortunately, Harris’ 35-yard return was called back 10 yards due to an illegal block.
Framingham and Bridgewater continuously traded Held positioning with neither side able to move the ball.
The Rams, halfway through the third quarter, began using their strength in their rushing onslaught. Sebastian Robert rushed for four consecutive plays for 30 yards moved the ball efficiently. Wright and Robert took turns dealing damage to the defense throughout the drive rushing for five consecutive plays for 35 yards moving the ball into the red zone. Walker capped the drive off with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Napoleon Miller. With the touchdown pass the lead extended to 16-0.
Bridgewater continued to struggle offensively as they went four quick plays before another turnover due to another Marrero interception to Kenneth Bartolo.
Framingham used the momentum from the interception and converted to points on a lengthy drive using their rushing attack. Robert continued his rushing attack with back-to-back carries for 12 total yards. The Rams continued the rushing attack with Wright, Walker and Robert, rushing for 20 collective yards between them. With the ball in the red zone, the Rams failed to score ending the drive with another field goal from Ryan Clifford. The Held goal extended the lead to 19-0 with 10:56 remaining in the fourth quarter.
After a quick three-and-out from the Bears, the Rams drive ended quickly after a Walker interception.
Bridgewater came back using their passing attack and forcing the Rams into some costly penalties. The Rams began the drive with a personal foul for 15 yards then allowed a 21-yard completion to Brandon Giles moving the ball to the Rams side of the field. Stefano D’Emilia connected with Jack Lavanchy for nine yards before an incompletion leading to Nick Santavicca rush for four yards. Another pass interference call would be costly as it eventually led to a Malik Garrett touchdown catch from D’Emilia. The Bears failed the two-point conversation mad the score 19-6.
The Rams went three-and-out again being forced to punt the ball away to Bridgewater.
The Bears continued spreading the ball around with a completion to Giles and Alex McLaughlin for 13 yards, before a 20-yard touchdown strike to Garrett.
Framingham failed to score once again and punted the ball away after four plays.
The Bears made one last push in the final two minutes for a comeback win. D’Emilia connected with Lavanchy with back-to-back completions for 14 yards total. D’Emilia connected with Garrett for 20 yards before a spike to stop the clock. The Bears were called for a holding penalty forcing them out of field goal range with a second-and-20. Harris sealed the game for Framingham with an interception and return for 27 yards.
Wright led the way with 144 yards on 35 carries, and Harris contributed defensively two interceptions, three pass breakups and two tackles, one for loss.