WALTHAM, Mass. – Sophomore WR Justin Bernard (Cambridge, Mass.) caught six passes for 71 yards and a touchdown, but the Saint Anselm College football team came up short against Bentley University, 43-16, on a rainy Friday night at Bentley Field.
The Hawks drop to 0-3, including 0-2 in the Northeast-10, while the Falcons improve to 3-1, 2-0.
After a scoreless opening quarter that saw Bentley's 17-quarter scoring streak halted by the Hawks, the Falcons grabbed a 7-0 lead 3:12 into the second frame when they went 66 yards in nine plays. The drive was capped by an 11-yard pass play from Bryant Johnson to Bill Kiley.
Saint Anselm answered 2:30 later when it marched 70 yards in 10 plays with junior QB Mike Pierce (Andover, Mass.) finding Bernard for a 23-yard touchdown strike that made it 7-6. When the point-after snap was errant, Aaron McFadden picked it up and returned it the other way to give Bentley the 9-6 advantage.
The Falcons then engineered a long drive of their own, going 81 yards in 10 plays with Johnson and Mike Sumrell hooking up on a 27-yard pass to make it 16-6 with 1:39 to play before the half. After forcing a three-and-out, Bentley crafted an eight-play, 65-yard drive that took 46 seconds and was capped with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Kiley with just 19 seconds on the clock.
Saint Anselm closed the gap with 10:11 to play in the third quarter when junior Shea Cerio (Canastota, N.Y.) connected on a 32-yard field goal through the raindrops that sliced the deficit to 14.
With 4:20 to play in the quarter, Jamel Marshall coughed up the football at Bentley's own 39-yard line when junior LB Brendan Timmons (Franklin, Mass.) forced the ball loose. Senior LB Shane O'Donnell (Dracut, Mass.) fell on the football and the Hawks had momentum.
Staring at a fourth-and-8 after three plays, Pierce made one of his biggest throws of the night, connecting over the middle with senior WR Marc Wilson (Farmington, Conn.) for 36 yards, bringing the Hawks down to the 2-yard line. Sophomore RB Keith Charles (Laurel, Md.) finished off the five-play drive as he bounced outside and snuck into the end zone past the left pylon to make it 23-16.
From there, however, Bentley put up 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull away for the 43-16 victory.
Johnson finished 25-for-34 with 286 yards, five touchdowns and just one interception. Wade Critides caught nine passes for 112 yards and a touchdown, while Kiley reeled in eight catches for 102 yards and a pair of scores.
Pierce threw for 184 yards and a touchdown, while Wilson caught three of those passes for 54 yards. Charles totaled 58 yards of total offense, including a pair of receptions for 22 yards.
Sophomore DB Trevor Jesse (Cumberland, Md.) recorded his fourth interception of the season and made seven tackles. Senior LB Kyle Hayes (Merritt Island, Fla.) was all over the field, making a team-high nine tackles, including two for a loss of six yards.
Bentley amassed 529 yards of total offense as it held the ball for just over 40 minutes.
The Hawks return to action Saturday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m. when they play host to Merrimack College at Grappone Stadium.