Golden Bear defense limits Pride to 189 yards of total offense in dominant effort
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (September 2, 2016) – The Western New England University football team opened its 2016 campaign with a convincing 26-10 victory over crosstown rival Springfield College this evening in the fourth edition of the Pynchon SAW Game at Stagg Field.
• Junior quarterback Anthony Service (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) accounted for all three of Western New England's touchdowns, completing 12-of-23 pass attempts for 144 yards and two scores to go with 90 yards (5.6 per carry) and one touchdown on the ground.
• Senior running back Nick Connell (East Marion, N.Y.) carried the ball 18 times for a game-high 96 yards in his 2016 debut after topping the 1000-yard mark last fall.
• Junior Kevin McLaughlin (Colorado Springs, Colo.) led the dominant Western New England defense with a game-best 11 tackles, 1.5 of which resulted in a loss of five yards.
• Sophomore Joshua Thomas (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) paced Springfield's rushing attack with a team-high 61 yards on seven carries (8.7 avg.).
• Western New England was forced to punt on its opening possession, but the Golden Bears benefited from an early Springfield miscue as sophomore Vinny Lalumia's (Maywood, N.J.) kick deflected off Pride sophomore Andrew Papirio (Walpole, Mass.) and junior Joe Neidert (Rochester, N.Y.) recovered the ball at the 24-yard line. Western New England capitalized on the short field as Service found junior wide receiver Mark Dietrich (Cheshire, Conn.) in the back corner of the end zone with a perfectly lofted pass on third and goal from the five yard line.
• After a punt on Springfield's subsequent possession, Lalumia gave the Golden Bears a 10-0 lead with a 27-yard field goal at the 5:17 mark of the opening quarter.
• The Pride got on the board early in the second quarter when junior quarterback Jake Eglintine (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) capped a seven play, 56 yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown run.
• Western New England regained its two-score cushion (16-7) with 7:10 remaining before halftime as Service found senior tight end Trent Vasey (Cumberland, R.I.) wide open in the middle of the field for a 29-yard touchdown.
• Springfield sophomore kicker Blake Heller (North Bellmore, N.Y.) connected on a 25-yard field goal with just under four minutes left in the half and Lalumia nailed a 43-yard attempt with five seconds on the clock as the Golden Bears took a 19-10 lead into the locker room.
• Each team punted twice in the third quarter, and a Springfield fumble on the first play of the fourth brought an end to the Pride's 12-play, 48-yard drive.
• Junior Dante Aiken (Brooklyn, N.Y.) broke free for a 47-yard run down the sideline on the first play of Western New England's subsequent possession, and Service followed with a 14-yard run before punching it in from a yard out to cap the scoring at 26-10.
• Western New England's victory tonight marks its third straight in the Pynchon SAW rivalry series against Springfield. The Golden Bears claimed a 34-14 win last fall after posting a thrilling 38-34 triumph in the 2014 contest.
• The dominant Western New England defense limited Springfield to just 189 yards, including just 81 in the second half as the Golden Bears shut out the Pride over the final 30 minutes.
• Western New England's offense eclipsed the 400-yard mark (410) with 144 passing yards and 266 rushing yards.
• Springfield completed just one of its five pass attempts and averaged 3.3 yards per play.
Western New England (1-0) returns home next Saturday for another rivalry game against Westfield State in the annual President's Cup. Opening kickoff is slated for 1 p.m at Golden Bear Stadium. Springfield (0-1) continues its four-game homestand next Saturday against St. John Fisher.
Junior quarterback Anthony Service accounted for all three of Western New England's touchdowns, throwing two and rushing for another.