- Score: Bentley 35, Assumption 31
- Records: Bentley (6-4, 6-3 NE10), Assumption (9-1, 8-1 NE10)
- Location: Worcester, Mass. (Multi-Sport Stadium)
- The Lead: No. 8 Assumption saw its lead slip away twice in the final eight minutes of action as Bentley completed the upset with a final touchdown in the last two minutes to deal the Hounds their first loss of the season, with a 35-31 victory on Saturday afternoon in the regular season finale for both teams. Assumption was officially awarded the NE10 Championship for its 8-1 conference finish following the contest.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Assumption took the opening drive and mixed the run and pass to get to the Bentley 6-yard line. However, the team was unable to convert on third and short, and Cole Tracy (Camarillo, Calif. / Newbury Park) came on to make the 25-yard field goal.
- Bentley answered on its first possession. The Falcons caught Assumption off guard with a fake punt for a 27-yard pass down to the Hound 8-yard line. They eventually scored on a two-yard pass from Stephen Sturm to Austin Ryan for a 7-3 advantage with 8:15 left.
- The Hounds took the ball back on its own 34-yard line and used seven plays to move the ball down to the 6-yard line. Brendan Tobey (Lynn, Mass. / Malden Catholic) hit Ashton Grant (Manchester, Conn. / Manchester / East Coast Prep) on quick slant for the touchdown and a 10-7 lead at 4:01.
- Bentley took back the lead midway through the second. The Falcons used a 36-yard pass from Sturm to Ryan to get the ball down to the Assumption 30-yard line. The two connected three plays later for a 9-yard touchdown for a 14-10, which they held going into the half.
- Just four plays into the third, Sturm found Ryan and he beat the defense for a 60-yard touchdown and 21-10 lead with just 2:02 elapsed in the period.
- Assumption finally got it offense going late in the third while taking advantage of a short field. On the fourth play of the drive, Tobey connected with Sam Blake (Springfield, Mass. / East Longmeadow / Williston Northhampton) up the middle for a 32-yard touchdown reception to make it 21-17.
- Another short punt gave the Hounds great field position and they drove the ball to the 17-yard line to conclude on the third. On the first play of the fourth, Deonte Harris (Baltimore, Md. / Archbishop Curley) took a sweep around the edge for 17 yards and 24-21 lead.
- Bentley grabbed back the lead midway through the fourth as Sturm found Ryan for a 63-yard touchdown on third and seven and a 28-24 advantage.
- The Hounds countered with a 10-play 63-yard drive. The final play was a fourth and goal from the 1-yard line, and Doug Santos (Peabody, Mass. / Peabody Veterans Memorial) plowed through the line for the touchdown and 31-28 lead with 4:12 remaining.
- The Falcons started their next drive at the 20 and moved to the 50-yard line, before Sturm threw a pass to Ryan near the sideline and he eluded a tackler before going 50 yards for the 35-31 lead with just 1:34 remaining in regulation. Assumption was unable to mount a final comeback, throwing an interception on fourth down at the 50-yard line, securing the Bentley win.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Assumption was outgained on the day 510-394, as the Falcons threw for 407 yards and the Hounds were limited to 179 in the air. They did run for 215 yards on the day but Bentley held the ball for 34 minutes and did not commit a penalty on the afternoon.
- Tobey threw for 169 yards and two touchdowns with a pick, and his primary target was Grant who had nine receptions for a touchdown and one score. Blake added two catches for 48 yards.
- Dylan Oxsen (Plymouth, Mass. / Plymouth South) paced the ground attack with 107 yards on 19 carries, while Khaleed Exum-Strong (Norwichtown, Conn. / Norwich Free Academy / Trinity Pawling) had 59 yards on nine attempts. Santos, meanwhile rushed for 30 yards on seven attempts.
- Defensively, Levi Fancher (Beacon Falls, Conn. / Woodland Regional) led the team with ten tackles and 1.0 sack, while Ray Sarkodieh (Worcester, Mass. / St. Peter Marian) added nine stops and a sack. Joe Bruno (Old Forge, Pa. / Old Forge) was solid with seven stops and 1.5 sacks, as the team had five overall.
- Sturm threw for 380 yards and four touchdowns while completing 67 percent of this passes. His primary receiver was Ryan, who finished with 284 yards and four touchdowns on just eight receptions.
- Assumption will await the NCAA Tournament selection show on Sunday at 5 pm, to see if they will make the field of 28.