WALTHAM, Mass. – After a week to regroup from a difficult overtime loss to Pace University, the Bentley University Falcons will be back at home this Saturday when they'll take on Stonehill College in a 1 pm Family Weekend game.
The Falcons are coming off a 23-20 overtime loss to the Setters, a game in which both teams put up a 20-point half. Bentley did it before intermission, Pace scored 20 in the final 18 minutes and the visiting Setters claimed the stunning win with both a 40-yard field goal and a blocked field goal in the only overtime session.
The difficult loss left the Falcons with a 1-5 record (1-4 Northeast-10) and a four-game slide. Stonehill has also dropped four in a row, a stretch in which the Skyhawks allowed 158 points, and own an identical record to the Falcons.
Bentley forced four turnovers, all in the second quarter, and two of those led to Falcon touchdowns in the Pace game. An interception by senior safety Nick Athy (Holliston/Holliston HS), his first of the season, led to the Falcons' second touchdown of the game.
This Saturday, Athy will be joined on the field by his brother Sam, a sophomore safety for Stonehill. The two have similar stats for the season with Nick having 38 tackles, third most among Bentley players, and two tackles for losses. Sam also has two TFL and has 36 tackles, fifth on the team.
Bentley's final touchdown against Pace was a 100-yard interception return by junior corner Derek Perkins (Milton/Milton HS) as he became the first Falcon to ever have two pick-sixes in a season. With the Setters only five yards away from a score, he grabbed it about five yards deep in the end zone and took it the distance for the second 100-yard return in program history, joining Scott Reiland in 1996. He has three INT for the season with his 141 return yards third most nationally in Division II.
All-Conference junior corner Pete Thorbahn (Norwell/Xaverian Bros. HS) accounted for Bentley's other two takeaways on Saturday with a fumble recovery and his tenth career interception.
As a team, Bentley has nine interceptions this season, a total that ranks second in the conference.
Sophomore Seamus Leary (Holden/St. Peter Marian HS) started at quarterback for the Falcons against Pace after classmate Stephen Sturm (Collegeville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley HS) got the nod in the previous nine, dating back to last season. Leary ran for a first-quarter TD and threw a scoring pass early in the second but finished only 6 of 18 for 68 yards before being relieved by Sturm in the fourth.
Bentley's leading receiver is senior wide receiver Jordan Zlogar (Clifton Park. N.Y./ Shenendehowa HS) with 28 receptions for 311 yards and two TDs.
Stonehill is coming off a 38-24 loss to Merrimack, a game that saw the two teams combine for nearly 50 first downs and 1,000 yards total offense. Junior running back Brian Kearns Jr. was a workhorse for the Skyhawks with 36 carries for 235 yards and two TD.
Kearns Jr., who ran for 243 yards against Bentley a year ago, is the number three rusher in the conference with 587 yards and seven TDs. He'll be facing a Falcon D that has already allowed a half-dozen 100-yard rushing performances, including 224 to Pace's Jhalen Bien-Aime last week.
James Lam (.500, 630 yards, three TD, five INT) and Kyle Smith (.484, 381 yards, 3 TD) have split time at QB for Stonehill with Smith listed as the probable starter for this week. Andrew Jamiel has caught a conference-high 42 receptions for 501 yards and three scores.
Junior free safety Ryan Shuts has been a factor in several areas for Stonehill as he leads the team in tackles (48), interceptions (2) and return yards (625). He's averaged 12.6 on punt returns and 20.7 on kickoff returns.
Last year's Bentley-Stonehill game was a shootout with the Skyhawks prevailing in overtime, 41-35. Sturm was outstanding for the Falcons, completing 22 of 27 for 243 yards and four TDs, including a game-tying score (10 yards to Zlogar) with 49 seconds left.
Bentley will be on the road next Saturday, a 6 pm contest at Saint Anselm, before hosting conference co-leader Assumption Nov. 3 in the final home game of the year.
BENTLEY BRIEFS: Not only to Bentley and Stonehill have identical records this season, both were 6-4 overall in 2017 … junior placekicker Grant Buchanan (Holliston/Holliston HS) was named to the Fred Mitchell Award watch list for September. He leads the Falcons in scoring with 23 points … Bentley and Stonehill are among the least penalized teams in Division II. The Falcons are fifth in fewest yards at 37.3 and the Skyhawks sixth at 38.0 … Stonehill has won five of the last six meetings between the two programs but Bentley leads the all-time series 22-10-1.