MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College football team held a 16-13 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but a late score by the Falcons from Bentley University handed the Hawks a 20-16 loss in wet and windy conditions at Grappone Stadium on Saturday evening.
Saint Anselm falls to 1-6 in both overall and Northeast-10 Conference play. Bentley moves to 3-5 overall on the year and to 3-4 against league opponents. Saturday's defeat was the third of Saint Anselm by four or less points in 2018 and the second-consecutive loss of that variety.
Both quarterbacks combined for only 19 completions on 54 passes as over 100 rushing attempts between each team set the tone for the contest. Freshman Christian Matthews-Byrd (Saddle Brook, N.J.) racked up 194 rushing yards for the Hawks in the game, the sixth-most by any Hawks student-athlete.
Ultimately, a two-yard run by the Falcons' Andrew Brazicki with 2:47 to go in regulation time proved to be the game-winning score. He would finish with 143 yards on 32 carries, averaging 4.5 yards per sprint. Saint Anselm held statistical edges in total offense (329-to-318), but the Falcons converted 40% of their third downs (8-for-20) and stopped the Hawks on 13 of their 17 third down opportunities.
Leading by a narrow 14-13 margin exiting halftime, the Hawks recorded a safety after Stephen Sturm saw a snap sail over his head and into the end zone. Sturm was able to race back and corral the ball, but he was downed in the end zone by freshman Chance Clency (High Point, N.C.) to increase the Hawks lead to 16-13 with 12:55 to go in the third quarter.
Bentley's game-winning score was set up by an interesting play as Hawks signal-caller Eric Fairweather (Londonderry, N.H.) fired a pass that was broken up by Cedric Dashiell. The ball hung up in the air long enough for Fairweather to catch his own pass, but the fast-charging Dashiell was able to force a fumble and set his team up for Brazicki's two-yard score with 2:47 to go in regulation time.
The falcons scored only 52 seconds into the game as a kickoff by senior Daniel Parisi (Georgetown, Mass.) was returned 82 yards by Isaiah Collins. After a rush of no gain by Sturm on his team's first play, Jordan Artope ran the ball home 16 yards for the score. In total, Bentley needed only two plays for 16 yards to create a 7-0 lead.
A punt block by sophomore Carmen Sorrentino (Wakefield, Mass.) helped lead to the Hawks' first score, a five-yard rushing touchdown by Fairweather with 8:13 to go in the first quarter. Jack O'Hanlon punted for Bentley, but Sorrentino blocked the punt for a loss of eight yards. Fairweather's score came only three plays into a 48-second drive.
Grant Buchanan gave Bentley a 10-7 lead on the next drive, capping a 14-play, 67-yard that spanned 6:01. In a back-and-forth first half, the Hawks were able to immediately answer with a Fairweather pass to freshman Andrew Duval (Goffstown, N.H.), who recorded in the 28-yard touchdown reception to build a 14-10 lead for the hosts.
Buchanan posted a last-second field goal down the stretch, cutting the Saint Anselm lead to 14-13 at halftime. It was the second made field goal for Buchanan, who matched Parisi with two missed field goals in the blustery conditions.
Defensively, the Hawks were led by sophomore Ryan Sullivan (Stoughton, Mass.) and his 14 total tackles. Junior CJ Miller (Clinton, Mass.) and senior Zack Mercer (Melrose, Mass.) each posted 11 tackles with junior Nick Diamond (Westford, Mass.) rounding out those in double-digit tackles with 10 to his credit.