special thanks to Curtis Fraser - Worcester State SID
WORCESTER, MA - The Western Connecticut State University football team defeated host Worcester State University, 44-25 Saturday in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference action at Coughlin Field.
With the win, the Colonials improve to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the MASCAC. The Lancers drop to 2-4 and 1-3 in the league.
The 5-0 start marks the first times since 2001 that the Colonials opened the season unbeaten this far into the campaign. That season, WestConn started 6-0 and finished the season with an 8-2 mark.
WestConn opened the scoring with an 18-yard rush from Kyle McKinnon (New London, Conn.). McKinnon found a hole and evaded the Lancer defenders to find his way into the endzone 3:34 into the game.
McKinnon paced the Colonials on the ground with 23 carries for 136 yards and a touchdown, averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Andrews led the Lancers with seven carries for 31 yards and a touchdown.
The Lancers moved down the field into scoring range on their next possession, but ended up settling for a 35-yard field goal from kicker Noah Hwang (Brooklyn, N.Y.) to make the score, 7-3.
The Colonials responded on their next drive with another touchdown, this one coming from a one-yard rush by senior Khalil Patterson (Hartford, Conn.). Patterson rushed on four consecutive plays, accumulating 23 yards on the seven-play, 46-yard drive.
WestConn capitalized on a Worcester State fumble and added another touchdown to their total. Sophomore linebacker Vinnie Scancarello (Monroe, N.Y.) recovered the Lancer fumble. Three plays later, freshmen receiver Will Daniels (Bethel, Conn.) caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback David James (Stamford, Conn.) to make the score 21-3 with 3:08 still remaining in the first quarter.
Worcester State led a long drive down the field, running 12 plays for 67 yards. The drive stalled out in the red zone, but Hwang booted a 22-yard field goal to bring the score to, 21-6.
Patterson tacked on another touchdown on the next Colonials' drive, catching a 17-yard pass from James to make the score, 28-6.
That score would remain the same going into halftime. The Colonials out-gained the Lancers 256 yard to 172. Noah Brum (Honolulu, Hawaii) led the Lancers with 161 passing yards at the half. McKinnon had 18 carries for 106 yards through the first two quarters.
The Lancers held Western Connecticut to a field goal on their first possession of the second half. Junior Jordan D'Onofrio (Orange, Conn.) kicked a 19-yard field goal making the game, 31-6.
Worcester State led a 10-play, 77-yard drive at the end of the third quarter, ending with a six-yard touchdown run from senior running back Dex Andrews (Dorchester, Mass.).
WestConn responded immediately with a touchdown of their own, a 20-yard reception for senior receiver Austin Calamita (North Branford, Conn.). James placed the pass perfectly to allow Calamita to make the touchdown grab.
Lancer sophomore Anthony Dobronte broke through the line on the extra point and blocked the kick to keep the score at, 37-12.
Brum led the Lancer on a 63-yard drive on the ensuing drive, ending with a touchdown pass to junior tight end Jacob Maher (Marshfield, Mass.), bringing the Lancers back within 18 points, 37-19.
With a comfortable lead, Colonial backup quarterback Tom Balacki (Huntington, N.Y.) entered the game and threw a 34-yard touchdown to sophomore receiver Nick Kimball (New Milford, Conn.). This put WestConn up, 44-19 with only 7:39 left in the game.
The Lancers would manage one last touchdown drive, which was capped off by Brum's eight-yard pass to Colin Robinson (Wrentham, Mass.). This cut the lead to 44-25 with 3:25 minutes left.
Brum led the game with 349 passing yards, completing 28-of-47 passes and added two touchdowns for the Lancers.
James recorded 137 passing yards and three touchdowns. He completed 13-of-21 pass attempts on the afternoon.
Maher was the game's leading receiver, grabbing six passes for 91 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Choquette (Warren, Mass.) added six receptions for 71 yards for Worcester State. Western Connecticut's receivers were led by Kimball's four catches for 66 yards and a touchdown.
The Lancers defense was led by senior linebacker Mike Koss' (Tolland, Conn.) 18 total tackles, including 0.5 tackles for loss.
Scancarello led the team with nine total tackles and recovered a fumble.
"The key to today's game, was our fast start and developing a lead early," stated WestConn head coach Joe Loth. "Winning football games is never easy, especially on the road in our conference."
Worcester State will play next on October 20, with a road game against UMass Dartmouth, kicking off at 2:30 p.m. The Colonials will play next Saturday, October 13, at UMass Maritime. Kickoff will be at 1 p.m.