WEST HAVEN, Conn. – Despite the first two career touchdowns for junior Jordan Artope (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y./Hendrick Hudson HS), two TD passes from sophomore QB Stephen Sturm (Collegeville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley HS) and a pair of takeaways, the Bentley University Falcons came up short at the University of New Haven, falling 31-27 in Northeast-10 Conference football Saturday afternoon at DellaCamera Stadium.
After prevailing In a game that saw six lead changes, New Haven, 4-1 overall, stayed perfect in conference play with its fourth straight win. Bentley dropped its third straight to slip to 1-4 overall and 1-3 NE10.
Following a three-and-out by New Haven to start the game, Bentley struck first, moving the ball 51 yards on seven plays on its first possession. A Sturm pass to senior Jordan Zlogar (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa HS) put the ball on the Charger two and Artope finished the drive with a two-yard run.
New Haven answered on its next two possessions and carried a 10-7 lead into the second quarter. Junior Ryan McCarthy (Montclair, N.J.) scored on an 11-yard run and sophomore Michael Stalenyj (Piscataway, N.J.) knocked a 36-yard field goal through the uprights.
Bentley regained the lead on the opening play of the second stanza, a 25-yard pass from Sturm to senior wide receiver Michael Correia (Fall River, Mass./Durfee HS). The point after attempt was blocked, keeping it a three-point differential at 13-10.
Following the ninth career interception by junior corner Pete Thorbahn (Norwell, Mass./ Xaverian Bros. HS), Bentley drove the New Haven 21 before turning the ball over on downs. The Falcons were without their usual placekicker and consequently bypassed what would have been a 38-yard field goal attempt.
Three of the lead changes came in the third quarter with a two-yard run by Artope sandwiched in between two New Haven TDs, a 32-yard run by McCarthy and a one-yard keeper by senior Ajee Patterson (Neptune, N.J.). Artope's TD came on a fourth-and-goal, five plays after a fumble recovery by junior linebacker Eddie O'Hara Norwalk, Conn./Norwalk HS) and was followed by a two-point conversion pass to freshman Noah Neville (Boston, Mass./Newton North HS) an
The Chargers made it a ten-point game, 31-21, with 12:15 left in the fourth as Patterson finished a 71-yard drive on another one-yard keeper.
Bentley started the ensuing possession on the New Haven 32, due to an unsportsmanlike conduct flag and a 46-yard kickoff return by freshman Isaiah Collins (Dorchester Center, Mass./Belmont Hill School). Two 13-yard runs by junior Ryan McCarthy (Holden, Mass./Wachusett Reg. HS) moved the ball to the Charger six, but a holding penalty negated the second, putting the ball back to the 30. Again, the lack of a kicker forced coach Bill Kavanaugh to go for it on fourth down, but the 12-yard completion to Artope came up three yards short.
Bentley got the ball right back following a three-and-out, and drove 60 yards in 13 plays to draw within four, 31-27. Zlogar scored the TD on a ten-yard pass with 4:22 to play, but the two-point conversion try was overthrown.
The Falcons got the ball back on their own 15 with 1:52 to play. Sturm and Neville teamed up on a 23-yard completion on the first play but turned the ball over on downs for the third time, his time with only 48 seconds remaining.
Sturm completed passes to eight different players and finished 19 of 36 for 264 yards. Zlogar (6 for 59) and McCarthy (5 for 79) led the Falcons in receiving, and Artope gained a career-best 62 rushing yards on ten carries.
For New Haven, Patterson completed 19 of 25 for 202 yards and both McCarthy and senior Chris Liggio (Mount Laurel, N.J.) recorded 100-yard rushing games. Liggio gained 109 yards on 18 carries and McCarthy 105 on 16.
The Chargers, who rushed for 277 total yards, outgained the Falcons 479-402 aynd finished with a 25-21 advantage in first downs. Bentley was only 4 of 15 on third down conversions but turned five of eight fourth downs into first downs.
Bentley, following a bye next week, will be back on action Oct. 13 with a home game against Pace University.