EASTON, Mass. – Senior Grant Buchanan (Holliston/Holliston HS) kicked his third field goal of the fourth quarter as time expired to give Bentley University a 30-27 win over Stonehill College in Northeast-10 Conference football Saturday afternoon at W.B. Mason Stadium.
The loss was the first in conference action this season for Stonehill, which dropped to 3-1 NE10 and 4-2 overall. Bentley, with its first win at Stonehill since 2011, evened its conference record at 2-2 and improved to 2-4 overall.
The game-winning drive, which covered 11 plays and 59 yards, came after Stonehill had used a couple trick plays to tie the game with 3:14 left. The possessionI didn't start well as a bad snap resulted in a loss of eight on the first play.
After a third-down pass from junior QB Stephen Sturm (Collegeville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley HS to freshman Tajon Vassar (Worcester/ Doherty Memorial HS) resulted in a fourth and three at the Bentley 33, Falcon coach Bill Kavanaugh went with the fake. Freshman punter Charlie Ogletree (Needham/Needham HS), a high school QB, threw a short pass to junior linebacker Marc Doran (Ramsey, N.J./Saint Joseph Reg.) for a gain of seven and a first down. A late hit was tacked on and Bentley had the ball at the Stonehill 45.
Senior running back Jordan Artope (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y./Hendrick Hudson HS) broke a 25-yard run to the Skyhawk 14 with 51 seconds left, and three plays later, Kavanaugh took a timeout with two seconds left. He sent Buchanan out and the senior delivered with his 28th career field goal.
Bentley started fast with Sturm accounting for two touchdowns in the first 16-plus minutes for a 14-0 lead. He scored on a seven-yard keeper with 9:26 left in the opening quarter and threw the first of his two TD passes with 13:58 remaining in the second, a 14-yarder to junior wide receiver Austin Ryan (Foxborough/ Foxborough HS).
After Stonehill cut the lead to four at 14-10, Sturm threw his second scoring strike, this one a 24-yarder to senior Ryan McCarthy (Holden/Wachusett Reg.) with 1:19 left in the second. That three-play drive followed a fumble recovery by six-five senior Nnamdi Okaka (Shrewsbury/Shrewsbury HS) at the Skyhawk 35.
Stonehill drew within two, 21-19, on the strength of three field goals by senior Matt Haite (Pembroke) in a span of 11:17. He made it a 21-13 game at the half with a 34-yarder on the final play and booted his third and fourth of the afternoon in the third quarter.
Buchanan restored the differential to eight with field goals of 19 and 32 yards. The first capped a 16-play drive that took 8:36 and the second, with 6:33 to play, followed an interception from senior Derek Perkins (Milton/Milton HS).
Stonehill countered with an 80-yard drive that was capped by a 17-yard scoring pass by senior wide receiver Andrew Jamiel (Yarmouth) to classmate Zac Pungitore (Norwood) with 3:14 left. The Skyhawks also went to Jamiel for the two-point conversion and after looking to pass, he eluded defenders and ran it in to tie the game.
Sturm finished with 274 yards of offense as he completed 20 of 36 for 225 yards and also picked up 49 yards on the ground. Artope ran for 83 yards on 15 carries and senior Drew Mahoney (West Suffield, Conn./Suffield Academy) caught ten balls for 114 yards.
The Stonehill offense featured Jamiel and junior QB Anton Stoneking (Clayton, N.C.). Jamiel caught 14 passes for 187 yards and one TD and Stoneking threw for 337 yards on 25-of-36 passing.
Both teams topped 400 yards total offense with Stonehill having a slight edge, 423-401, but Bentley came up with the game's three takeaways. The Falcons had the ball for nearly 36 minutes and converted eight of 16 third downs against a Skyhawk team that entered the game ranked number one in Division II in that category.
Bentley will also be on the road next week for a 1:00 contest at Pace University.