MANCHESTER, N.H. – Sophomore tailback Andrew Brazicki (Franklin Park, N.J./Bishop Ahr HS) rushed for a career-high 143 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown with 2:47 left as Bentley University escaped with a 20-16 win over Saint Anselm College at windy and rainy Grappone Stadium Saturday evening.
Brazicki's game-winning TD was set up by a big play from freshman defensive lineman Cedric Dashiell II (Buena Park, Calif./Buena Park HS) and a recovery from junior Matt Yanes (Stewartsville, N.J./Phillipsburg HS) that gave the Falcons the ball at the Saint Anselm 12. A pass from Hawk senior QB Eric Fairweather (Londonderry, N.H.) was deflected by Dashiell and caught by Fairweather before Dasiell forced him to fumble. After Yanes recovered, Brazicki got the ball four straight times before finally scoring from two yards out.
After the Falcon defense forced the Hawks to turn the ball over on downs, Saint Anselm stopped the Falcons and forced a punt. The ball was mishandled by junior punter Jack O'Hanlon (South Huntington, N.Y./Chaminade HS) and the Hawks took possession at the Bentley 36.
A 21-yard pass from Fairweather to senior Kyle Hill (Upper Marlboro, Md.) moved the ball to the Bentley 15. Following a spike that reduced the time on the clock to five seconds, the home team had time for one more play. Fairweather threw the ball into the end zone but Hill caught it out of bounds as time expired.
Bentley started fast, taking a 7-0 lead before a minute had elapsed. Freshman Isaiah Collins (Dorchester Center, Mass./Belmont Hill School) returned the opening kickoff 82 yards to the Hawk 16 and on the Falcons' second play from scrimmage, junior Jordan Artope (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y./Hendrick Hudson HS) ran up the middle 16 yards for a touchdown.
Later in the first quarter, after a blocked punt by Saint Anselm, Fairweather ran the ball in from the five to even the score at 7-7. Bentley answered with a 14-play, 67-yard drive that culminated with a 22-yard field goal by junior Grant Buchanan (Holliston, Mass./Holliston HS) that put the visitors back on top, 10-7.
Both the first play and the final play of the second quarter produced scoring and resulted in Saint Anselm (1-6, 1-6 NE10) taking a 14-13 lead into the halftime break. Fairweather threw a 28-yard TD pass to freshman Andrew Duval (Goffstown, N.H./Goffstown HS) on the first play after the two clubs switched ends. The quarter ended with Buchanan knocking an 18-yard field goal through the uprights.
The only points of the third quarter came on a Saint Anselm safety when an errant snap was recovered in the end zone.
Each team's kicker missed a field goal, a 39-yarder for Bentley and a 26-yarder for Saint Anselm, in the fourth quarter and it stayed a 16-13 game until Brazicki's go-ahead TD.
Brazicki had a busy day on a wet evening in which the Falcon passing game resulted in only six completions for 106 yards. He lugged the ball 32 times with a long of 46 yards. Artope was also successful running the ball with eight carries for 46 yards before exiting with a first-half injury.
For Saint Anselm, freshman Christian Matthews-Byrd (Saddle Brook, N.J.) matched Brazicki's 32 carries and gained 194 yards. Fairweather finished 13 of 29 for 100 yards.
Sophomore linebacker Marc Doran (Ramsey, N.H./St. Joseph Reg. HS) led Bentley in tackles with eight, including two for losses. Junior corner Pete Thorbahn (Norwell, Mass./Xaverian Bros. HS) followed with seven and a pass break-up.
Saint Anselm had a slight edge in total offense (329-318) but Bentley had more first downs (21-17), total plays (90-74) and possession time (34:06). The Hawks were flagged eight times for 75 yards and Bentley, one of the least penalized squads in Division II, had only three penalties for 20 yards.
Bentley, 3-5 overall and 3-4 NE10 after winning its second straight, will return home to face Assumption in a Senior Day game next Saturday at noon.