Springfield, Mass. - September 7, 2013 - The Springfield College football team scored 19 points in the fourth quarter to rally for a 49-40 victory at Western New England on Saturday afternoon. In the first-ever meeting between the two schools, the Pride racked up 469 yards on the ground.
The Pride, which trailed 33-23 with 12:56 left in the third quarter, outscored the hosts 26-7 the rest of the way and used a Matt Berni (Scarsdale, N.Y.) 70-yard interception return for a touchdown with 21 ticks on the clock to seal the win.
Played in front of nearly 3,500 fans at Golden Bear Stadium, there was no shortage of offense, as the teams combined for 1,015 yards, including 523 for Springfield.
Springfield, which had the second-best rushing attack in the nation last year, had a pair of 100-plus yard rushers in Jonathan Marrero (Boston, Mass.) and Louis Fenaroli (Newtown, Conn.), who rushed for 149 and 120 yards, respectively.
Defensively, Berni and Sam Weiss (Glasser, N.J.) each recorded 12 tackles, while Max Nacewicz (Sandy Hook, Conn.) had three tackles-for-loss, including a sack.
The Pride held a 15-6 lead after the opening quarter thanks to touchdown runs by Marrero and Keith Rodman (Northvale, N.J.). However, the Golden Bears surged ahead with 21 points in the third quarter, highlighted by a blocked punt returned for a touchdown at the 12:12 mark to take a 27-23 lead at the half. Fenaroli provided the Pride's only score in the second quarter with an 86 yard jaunt with 9:45 on the clock.
WNE opened the third with another score to gain their largest lead of the afternoon, 33-23, with 12:56 to play. Springfield answered with three-straight scores, beginning with touchdown runs by Joel Altavesta (Tewksbury, Mass.) and Franco Bianchi (Poughquag, N.Y.). Springfield then went into their bag of tricks, using a deep throw by wide receiver James Poggio (East Granby, Conn.) to a wide open Jason Woods (Middletown, Conn.) for its 20th unanswered point to regain a 43-33 advantage.
After WNE added another score to make it a three-point game, the Golden Bears recovered an onside kick. However, Berni came up huge with a pick with just 21 seconds remaining and raced 70 yards for the game-sealing score.
Springfield will play its home opener next Saturday against Husson at 1:00 pm.