Football Runs Over Bentley, 41-35 (OT)

Kearns Jr., rushed for a career-high 243 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Skyhawks tonight. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)

Kearns, Jr., leads Skyhawks 327-yard rushing attack with career-high 243 yards and two TDs

EASTON, Mass. (October 21, 2017) – Senior running back Malachi Baugh (Stoughton, Massachusetts/Stoughton) flew into the end zone from four yards out in overtime to lift Stonehill College to a 41-35 triumph over rival Bentley University in Northeast-10 Conference football action before a standing-room only Family Weekend crowd of 2,400-plus at Timothy J. Coughlin, '80 Memorial Field at W.B. Mason Stadium tonight.

Sophomore running back Brian Kearns, Jr. (North Arlington, New Jersey/Saint Joseph Regional) led a Stonehill rushing attack that piled up 327 yards, finishing with a career-high 243 yards on a career-best 34 carries (7.1 yards/att) and two touchdowns. He also caught three passes for another 24 yards to finish the night with a career-high 267 all-purpose yards.

Kearns, Jr.'s first career 200-yard performance is the highest ever total for a Skyhawks running back at W.B. Mason Stadium (since 2005), surpassing a 214 yard effort by Jermetrius Troy, '13 against Pace University in 2011, and the second-highest single-game total in program history overall, falling just seven yards shy of Mike McLucas, '95's 250-yard record total against Nichols College in 1994. It marks Stonehill's first 200-yard game since Colin Markus, '16 ran for 203 yards against LIU Post in 2013, and Kearns, Jr.'s 34 carries are tied for the third-highest single-game total in program and W.B. Mason Stadium history.

Baugh complimented Kearns, Jr., with 65 yards on 15 rushing attempts and the deciding overtime touchdown, while adding 53 yards on three kickoff returns and a reception for 13 yards to give him 131 all-purpose for his fourth-straight 100-yard all-purpose effort. Senior quarterback Matt Foltz (Mount Joy, Pennsylvania/The Hill School) was an efficient 21-for-28 passing for 218 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. Classmate Kevin Dick (Tewksbury, Massachusetts/Tewksbury Memorial) caught five of those passes for 61 yards, while sophomore Zac Pungitore (Norwood, Massachusetts/Norwood) made the most of his three receptions for 38 yards with a pair of touchdown catches.

Strickland led the defense with a career-high eight tackles and recovered a fumble in the end zone to close out Bentley's overtime possession. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)

Sophomore linebacker Miles Strickland (Teaneck, New Jersey/Saint Peter's Prep) led a Stonehill defense which held Bentley largely in check in the second half with a career-high eight tackles, including three solo, and a fumble recovery in the end zone that ended the Falcons' overtime possession. Senior Nick Bona (Peabody, Massachusetts/Bishop Fenwick) also totaled eight stops (three solo), while freshman Nate Bresson (Torrington, Connecticut/Torrington) added five tackles (two solo), including a sack.

Freshman quarterback Stephen Sturm (Collegeville, Pennsylvania/Perkiomen Valley) led the Bentley offense in his first career start by completing 22-of-28 passes for 238 yards and four touchdowns, without an interception, while adding another 23 yards on seven carries. Classmate Austin Ryan (Foxborough, Massachusetts/Foxborough) caught five of those passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns, while junior Jordan Zlogar (Clifton Park, New York/Shenendehowa) added six catches for 76 yards and a score.

Senior Brandon Brown (Oxon Hill, Maryland/Suitland) led the Bentley defense with a game-high 12 tackles (eight solo), including 2.0 for a loss of two yards. Senior Rogers Boylan (Dover, Massachusetts/Dover-Sherborn) added seven stops (four solo), including 2.0 for a loss of four.

Stonehill rallied from an 18-point deficit (28-10) early in the third quarter with 25 straight points to take the lead, and then came up big on both ends of the field in overtime after Bentley rallied to force extra time with a late touchdown of its own in the final minute of the fourth. The Falcons held a 28-10 lead 3:14 into the second half after Sturm connected with Ryan for a 32-yard touchdown pass to cap an eight play, 82-yard drive on the opening drive of the half.

Stonehill responded on its first possession of the half as Kearns, Jr. reeled off a 44-yard touchdown run with 9:17 left in the third. The Skyhawks defense forced three consecutive three and outs by Bentley and continued to rally under the legs of Kearns, Jr. He added a two-yard touchdown plunge at the end of a seven play, 54-yard drive with 5:09 remaining in the third, and then after Foltz pushed across the two-point conversion to pull the hosts within a field goal, sophomore Matthew Haite (Kingston, Massachusetts/Silver Lake Regional) leveled the score with a 37-yard field goal with 24-seconds left in the quarter. Kearns, Jr. finished with 99 yards on 13 carries in the third quarter alone and the two scores.

Baugh celebrates his winning touchdown in OT. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)

Foltz gave Stonehill its first lead since a 10-7 edge early in the second quarter when he connected with Pungitore for a 21-yard touchdown pass with 7:35 left in the game. After forcing a Bentley punt on its next possession, Stonehill was unable to get any first downs and went three and out with 2:49 to play. The Falcons made the most of the opportunity and drove 73-yards on nine plays to knot the score on a ten-yard Sturm pass to Zlogar with 49-seconds left.

Stonehill moved the ball to the Bentley 32-yard line in seven plays, but a 49-yard field goal by Haite as time expired fell short to send the game to overtime. In the extra frame, Stonehill won the coin toss and opted to defend first and the Falcons marched inside the Skyhawks five yard line in three quick plays. Bentley opted to run the ball three times after first and goal from the two, with the Skyhawks defense popping the ball loose on the third try and Strickland recovered to give the hosts a huge advantage with any score able to win the game from there.

Baugh carried the ball five times on the Stonehill possession for 19 yards, while Foltz added a four-yard rush of his own and a six-yard toss to junior Mike Cordova (Oceanport, New Jersey/Red Bank Catholic), including his four-yard touchdown plunge to clinch the Skyhawks third win over the last four games. Stonehill has also now won five of the last six encounters with Bentley and seven of 11 dating back to 2008.

Stonehill (4-3, 3-3 NE10) returns to action next Saturday, when it visits nationally-ranked Assumption College for an NE10 battle in Worcester, Massachusetts, at 1 p.m. The Skyhawks return to W.B. Mason Stadium the following Saturday, November 3, to host Pace University at 1 p.m. Bentley (4-3, 4-2 NE10) hosts Southern Connecticut State University next Saturday at 1 p.m.

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