Courtesy of Andrew Pezzelli, Salve Regina University Sports Information
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. - After just four plays from scrimmage, Framingham State University football (8-3) had a 14-0 lead over Salve Regina University (8-2) in the first-ever New England Bowl, hosted by the Seahawks at Gaudet Field. The Seahawks trailed 37-20 with under nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, rallied for two scores to close within three, 37-34, and had 1st-and-goal from the seven-yard line with 2:07 to go, but the Rams denied senior running back Sam Pascale (Cheshire, Conn.) on consecutive tries from the one to turn the ball over on downs and hold on for victory.
Four Division III conferences in New England presented the inaugural New England Bowl - the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) absorbing five members from the New England Football Conference (NEFC), the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC), the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), and the New England Men's and Women's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC).
Framingham State freshman quarterback Adam Wojenski (Stratford, Conn.) completed 13 of 20 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 21 net yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, and was named the game's Most Valuable Player.
Series and Streaks
The Rams have won the last two meetings (both title games) and now leads the all-time series, 3-1. Salve Regina, looking for its third straight bowl championship, falls to 4-4 all-time in postseason play.
Three Stars of the Game
- Framingham State freshman quarterback Adam Wojenski (Stratford, Conn.) - completed 13 of 20 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 21 net yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, and was named the game's Most Valuable Player.
- Salve Regina senior running back Sam Pascale (Cheshire, Conn.) - averaged 5.2 yards per carry while rushing for a game-high 140 yards and one touchdown.
- Salve Regina sophomore defensive lineman John Salute (Mahwah, N.J.) - had six tackles including 1.5 for negative yardage, highlighted by a strip sack of Wojenski and carrying the ball 12 yards into the endzone for the touchdown that brought the Seahawks within three and the final score, 37-34.
Key Stat of the Game
Third-down and fourth-down conversions for the Rams (seven of 14 for the former, and two of three for the latter) kept the Seahawk defense on the field and led to pivotal scores in the second and fourth quarters, respectively. Framingham State had close to a nine-minute advantage in time of possession (34:28 to 25:32).
FRA, 1st, 14:41, Quron Wright 79 yd run (Shawn St. Marie kick), 1-79, 0:19, 7-0
FRA, 1st, 09:24, M. Calicchio 75 yd pass from Adam Wojenski (Shawn St. Marie kick), 3-80, 1:22, 14-0
SRU, 1st, 06:18, Sam Pascale 26 yd run (Andrew Verre kick), 7-67, 3:01, 14-7
FRA, 1st, 00:53, Shawn St. Marie 38 yd field goal, 11-43, 5:19, 17-7
FRA, 2nd, 00:30, Trevon Offley 6 yd run (Shawn St. Marie kick failed), 9-62, 4:32, 23-7
SRU, 3rd, 11:54, Brandan Basil 4 yd run (Brandan Basil pass failed), 7-44, 2:56, 23-13
FRA, 3rd, 05:00, Napoleon Miller 21 yd pass from Adam Wojenski (Shawn St. Marie kick), 9-59, 4:23, 30-13
SRU, 3rd, 01:47, Chris Caron 44 yd pass from Brandan Basil (Andrew Verre kick), 7-65, 3:06, 30-20
FRA, 4th, 09:49, Adam Wojenski 18 yd run (Shawn St. Marie kick, 13-71), 6:50, 37-20
SRU, 4th, 08:45, James Dawson 25 yd run (Andrew Verre kick), 4-52, 0:58, 37-27
SRU, 4th, 07:32, John Salute 12 yd fumble recovery (Andrew Verre kick), 37-34
On a 3rd-and-18 play from his own 34-yard line at the start of the fourth quarter, Wojenski wiggled out of a sack near the Seahawk bench and ran cross field towards his own bench while picking up the 1st down after a 20-yard gain. Wojenski ended the 13-play drive with another rush, 18 yards to the endzone, to match the largest lead for the Rams, 37-20. Earlier, the Seahawks appeared to have a takeaway and a clear path to a defensive touchdown, but Trevon Offley (Brockton, Mass.) was ruled down after a two-yard loss - tackle by Ethan Gambale (Mays Landing, N.J.) - and the very next play Wojenski connected with Napoleon Miller (Boston, Mass.) over the middle for a 21-yard scoring strike.
- Today's game was the only one in 2016 for the Seahawks with a scoring margin less than 13 points.
- Quron Wright (Worcester, Mass.) took the first play from scrimmage 79 yards on the ground for a touchdown.
- Wojenski connected with Michael Calicchio (Chelmsford, Mass.) for the longest pass play of the day, a 75-yard touchdown, that gave Framingham State an early 14-0 lead.
- Edwin Faulkner (Saugus, Mass.) completed his only pass of the day, 23 yards to Derek Gilreath (Foxboro, Mass.), on a Framingham State fake punt in the final minute of the second quarter. It led to the Rams' third touchdown of the first half.
- Chris Caron took a 3rd-and-13 screen pass from Brandan Basil 44 yards to the endzone in the third quarter, the longest reception for the Seahawks in the game.
- Andrew Verre went 4-for-4 in PAT kicks.
- Aaron Owens (Springfield, Mass.), Thomas Burns (Attleboro, Mass.), and Svenn Jacobson (Cumberland, Maine) led Framingham State with eight tackles apiece.
- Salve Regina was led defensively by Gambale and Brandon O'Neill (Madison, Conn.), both with 10 tackles. Gambale had four tackles for loss totalling 23 yards, including 1.5 sacks.
- Brandan Basil's final game as Seahawk signal caller produced seven completions on 16 passes (one pick to end the first half) and 119 yards. He threw for one touchdown and ran for another.
- James Dawson (Oradell, N.J.) carried the ball 16 times for 119 yards including a 25-yard touchdown.
"I was very confident Andrew Verre was going to knock it through, and then we could send it to overtime. I thought we definitely had the momentum so we might have been able to dominate them in overtime, but the ball is on the five-inch line ... (and) our constant is 'We'll put our hearts out there.'" - Salve Regina head coach Kevin Gilmartin, on going for the go-ahead touchdown on 4th-and-1 in the final minute.
"Sometimes you come out and get smacked in the face, and the question is 'How do you come back from it?' I'm proud to say our guys keep coming back." - Gilmartin, on trailing 14-0 in the first six minutes.