Framingham, Mass. – Senior linebacker Nathan Fleming (Windham, Conn.) recorded eight tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown as the Framingham State University football team defeated Westfield State University 29-14 in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) action on Homecoming & Family Weekend at Framingham's Bowditch Field.
With the win, the Rams improve to 6-1 on the year and are now 4-1 in the league, while the Owls fall to 2-6 overall and 2-5 in the MASCAC.
Fleming was awarded the 2017 Calder Award after the game which is presented annually to the Homecoming Game MVP in honor of former Ram captain John Calder. Fleming tallied eight solo stops in the contest and returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown in the second half.
The Rams defense was key in the victory recording five turnovers including four interceptions and a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Senior Campbell Marchant (Longmeadow, Mass.) recorded eight tackles and a sack-forced fumble that led to a 48-yard fumble return touchdown for sophomore Jack Sullivan (Dartmouth, Mass.). Senior Tom Burns (Attleboro, Mass.) picked up seven tackles, six solo, and an interception that he returned for 32 yards, while Cody Wlasuk (Peabody, Mass.) and Kenneth Bartolo (Malden, Mass.) also recorded picks in the game.
The Owls got on the board first in the opening quarter. Sophomore Jake Cassidy (Lynn, Mass.) escaped a sack and converted on 4th and nine from the Rams 39 yard line for a 22 yard gain keeping the drive alive. Three plays later, Cassidy connected with senior Tyler Bevin (Ansonia, Conn.) for a 13-yard touchdown. After the extra point, the Owls led 7-0 with 3:44 remaining in the first.
The Owls Tyler Robbins (Southwick, Mass.) halted the Rams next drive with an interception on the Owls 30 yard line. After no gain on first down, Burns intercepted Cassidy and returned the ball 32 yards to the eight yard line setting up the Rams first score of the day, a one-yard touchdown run from junior Sebastien Robert (Cambridge, Mass.) as time expired in the first quarter.
The Rams defense came through with a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter. Marchant sacked Cassidy and forced a fumble near midfield. Sullivan scooped the loose ball and raced 48 yards to the end zone for a 13-7 lead with 11:20 left in the quarter. On the Owls next possession, Fleming intercepted Phil Cohen (Old Lyme, Conn.) at midfield and found the end zone for the 19-7 lead.
The Owls cut the deficit to five on a 16-yard interception return for a touchdown by senior William Tejeda (Chelmsford, Mass.) with just over five minutes remaining in the first half.
The Rams added a 40 yard field goal from freshman Ryan Clifford (Brockton, Mass.) and a 10-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Adam Wojenski (Stratford, Conn.) to senior Khaneil Bruce (Cambridge, Mass.) in the third quarter to reach the final score.
Junior Quron Wright (Worcester, Mass.) rushed for 91 yards in the game on 24 carries, while Robert finished with 49 yards on eight carries. Wojenski completed 7-of-14 passes for 78 yards with a touchdown, while Bruce made four catches for 23 yards.
Offensively, the Owls received 91 yards rushing on 25 attempts from junior Travon Holder (Hartford, Conn.), while Cassidy completed 8-of-18 passes for 103 yards with a touchdown and was sacked four times.
The Owls defense received 12 tackles from Zach Howard (Spencer, Mass.), while Alijah Ellis (Derby, Conn.) added 10.
The Rams are back on the road next Saturday when they travel to UMass Dartmouth for a 12 p.m. MASCAC contest, while the Owls travel to Plymouth State next Saturday for a 1 p.m. game.