WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior RB Keith Charles (Laurel, Md.) ran for two touchdowns and senior LB Matt Gordon (Methuen, Mass.) returned a fumble for a go-ahead score with less than six minutes remaining, but the Saint Anselm College football team was downed by Bentley University, 32-27, on Saturday afternoon at Bentley Field.
The Hawks fall to 0-5 on the season, including 0-4 in Northeast-10 play, while the Falcons improve to 3-2, 2-2 NE-10.
Charles rushed 11 times for 42 yards, caught three passes for 29 yards and returned four kicks for 104 yards as he was narrowly held under 200 all-purpose yards for the second straight week. Sophomore QB Andrew Murphy (Franklin, Mass.) completed 23 of 38 passes for 197 yards to go along with a touchdown and an interception. Junior WR Justin Bernard (Cambridge, Mass.) reeled in seven passes for 55 yards and a score.
Trailing 26-14 with fewer than eight minutes on the clock, the Hawks marched 56 yards in six plays and used just 1:00 of clock in doing so. Charles finished off the drive with a 10-yard scamper that sliced the deficit to 26-21 after the extra point by sophomore K/P Shane Grayson (Ormond Beach, Fla.) with 6:44 to go.
On just the second play of the ensuing Bentley drive, junior DL Josh Cheever (Lynn, Mass.) forced a fumble that was picked up by Gordon, who ran it back 22 yards to give the Hawks their first lead since late in the opening half at 27-26 with 5:52 left. The offense stayed out on the field to attempt the two-point conversion, but came up empty.
Bentley responded with a six-play, 66-yard drive that was capped by a Dan Guadagnoli 13-yard run that put the Falcons back on top, 32-27, with 2:42 on the clock. Bentley also went for the two points, but fell short.
The Hawks started out the ensuing drive from their own 29-yard line with 2:36 remaining and pushed ahead 20 yards after three straight completions and a pair of runs. Facing a third-and-6 from their own 49, however, the Hawks turned the ball over as Murphy was picked by Nick McCarthy at the Bentley 35-yard line with 1:26 left to seal the victory.
After falling behind early, 3-0, on a Michael Baron 24-yard field goal, Saint Anselm punted on its first possession, but Bernard was able to fall on the ball after it was fumbled at the Bentley 27-yard line. The Hawks took advantage of the short field as Charles eventually ran it in from four yards out to make it 7-3 with 7:20 left following Grayson's kick.
Baron's second field goal of the quarter – a 27 yarder – with 32 ticks on the clock brought the hosts within one, but Saint Anselm raced 58 yards in just four plays in under a minute, with Murphy finding Bernard from 19 yards out to put the hosts on top 14-6 after Grayson's PAT just 29 seconds into the second quarter.
The Falcons responded with a 10-play, 60-yard drive that ate up nearly six minutes of clock and cut the gap to 14-13 when Guadagnoli hooked up with Chris Malonis for a 23-yard touchdown pass with 8:45 to go before the break. Baron tacked on the extra point and then added his third field goal of the afternoon to send Bentley into the locker room with a 16-14 edge. The Falcons put together another nearly-six-minute series with a 14-play, 71-yard drive that resulted in the 31-yard field goal.
Saint Anselm started on offense in the second half, but was forced to punt, which lead to disastrous results. The snap sailed over the head of Grayson and was scooped up at the 8-yard line by Bryan Hardy, who ran it into the end zone for a touchdown that stretched the Bentley lead to 23-14 with 13:37 left after Baron's PAT.
After Baron missed a 25-yard field goal in the third quarter, he hit an 18-yard chip shot with 7:51 left in the fourth to put Bentley on top, 26-14, and set up the dramatics down the stretch.
Junior LB Isaac Jorgensen (Eldersburg, Md.) made a game-high 12 tackles, to pace a defense that forced four turnovers, including three fumbles and an interception by sophomore DB Joel Jorgensen (Eldersburg, Md.).
Bentley outgained Saint Anselm in total offense, 400-213.
The Hawks return to action Friday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. when they play host to Assumption College at Grappone Stadium. Stay up-to-date with the latest news, including game previews and recaps, directly from the Saint Anselm College athletic department by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter @STAHawks.