Golden Bears finish with 503 yards of total offense (272 passing, 231 rushing)
DUDLEY, Mass. (October 1, 2016) – The Western New England University football team piled up 503 yards of total offense in a 56-27 triumph over Nichols College this afternoon in New England Football Conference (NEFC) action at Vendetti Field.
• Junior quarterback Anthony Service (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) fueled the Western New England offense, completing 9-of-14 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns, to go with an additional 53 yards and one score on the ground.
• Senior wing Mohamed Camara (New York, N.Y.) caught three balls from Service for a team-high 111 yards. Camara's three receptions went for 45, 34 and 32 yards.
• Senior running back Nick Connell (East Marion, N.Y.) rushed 16 times for 88 yards (5.5 avg.) and one touchdown. Connell led a Western New England ground game that featured 11 ball carriers and totaled 231 yards.
• Senior defensive back Isaiah Berrios Smith (Wallkill, N.Y.) finished with four tackles, three pass breakups and an interception returned for a touchdown.
• Sophomore Kurtis Jolicoeur (Windham, N.H.) led the Golden Bear defense with nine tackles, including three for loss and one sack.
• Nichols freshman quarterback Chris Mullins (Centreville, Va.) completed 23-of-43 pass attempts for 268 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.
• Sophomore Brenden Massey (Attleboro, Mass.) and freshman Tony Martignoli (Santa Rosa, Calif.) were Mullins' two favorite targets. Massey made eight receptions for a game-high 117 yards and one touchdown, while Martignoli added five catches for 81 yards and three scores.
• Western New England punted on its opening possession, but the Golden Bears pinned the Bison deep in their own territory as sophomore Vinny Lalumia's (Maywood, N.J.) kick was downed at the Nichols three-yard line. After the Western New England defense pushed the Bison back two yards and forced a three-and-out, the Golden Bear offense got the ball back at the Nichols 28-yard line. Service took advantage of the short field, finding junior wide receiver Mark Dietrich (Cheshire, Conn.) for a 28-yard score on the second play of the drive to give the Golden Bears a 7-0 lead.
• Western New England made it 13-0 with 5:30 left in the opening quarter, as junior wing Justin Townsend (Stratford, Conn.) took a screen pass from Service 19 yards to the end zone, capping a six-play, 92-yard drive.
• The Golden Bears tacked on two more points early in the second quarter, when sophomore defensive lineman Sean Stergas (Cambridge, Vt.) sacked Mullins at the goal line and the quarterback was penalized for intentional grounding, resulting in a safety.
• After getting the ball back, Western New England put together an eight-play, 72-yard drive, which culminated in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Service to senior tight end Trent Vasey (Cumberland, R.I.).
• Nichols got on the board with just under three minutes left in the first half, when Mullins connected with Mastignoli for a 12-yard score to cut the Bison's deficit to 22-7.
• After a 33-yard return by junior running back Dante Aiken (Brooklyn, N.Y.) on the ensuing kickoff, Service engineered a seven-play, 52-yard touchdown drive to give the Golden Bears a 29-7 lead heading into the half. Camara did the majority of the damage with a 34-yard reception on third and five, while Service capped the drive with a one-yard plunge at the goal line.
• Nichols received the opening kickoff of the second half and made it a two-possession game (29-14) as Massey hauled in a 20-yard touchdown reception from Mullins at the conclusion of the 11-play, 63-yard drive.
• The Bison had an opportunity to cut further into their 15-point deficit midway through the third quarter, but Berrios Smith intercepted Mullins at the Nichols 43-yard line and brought it back for a touchdown.
• Western New England got the ball back less than two minutes later and extended its lead to 28 (42-14) with a three-play, 62-yard drive. Service found Camara for a 45-yard gain on the first play of the possession, and two plays later Connell scored on a six-yard touchdown run.
• Both teams tacked on a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter, as senior wing Terrence N'Dabian (Stratford, Conn.) and freshman tight end Josh Henry (Wilbraham, Mass.) scored for the Golden Bears and Martignoli found the end zone twice for Nichols.
• Western New England improves to 18-14 in 32 all-time meetings with Nichols. The Golden Bears have won ten consecutive games in the series, with their last loss to the Bison coming on November 4, 2006.
• Western New England's balanced offense finished with 272 yards through the air and 231 on the ground for a total of 503. The Golden Bears have topped the 500-yard mark twice this season.
• The Western New England defense limited Nichols to just 28 rushing yards on 23 carries (1.2 avg.).
• Through five games this fall, Service has completed 79-of-116 passes (68.1%) for 1194 yards with 16 touchdowns and just two interceptions.
Both teams will be off next weekend before returning to action on Saturday, October 15. Western New England (5-0, 2-0 NEFC) hosts MIT at Golden Bear Stadium, while Nichols (2-3, 0-2 NEFC) heads to Middletown, R.I. for a matchup with Salve Regina.