Framingham’s defense propels team to third straight

(Photo by Erin Fitzmaurice.)

Framingham picked off UMass Dartmouth quarterbacks Cory Burnham and Matt Lowe four times on Saturday, too much for the Corsairs to overcome, as they fell 26-14 to the Rams.

Kenneth Bartolo, Lewis Bailey, Matt Mangano and Tyllor McDonald each came up with an interception. For Bartolo, Mangano and Bailey it was each of their second interceptions, while for McDonald, who returned from injury Saturday, it was his first.

Led by the four picks on the defensive side, Jalen Green carried the offense.

Green logged career-highs in carries, 35, and rushing yards, 186, and contributed more than half of the Rams’ total offensive output.

For the Rams, the cold afternoon brought about their worst scoring output of the year and quarterback Matt Silva’s least productive afternoon of his senior campaign.

Silva threw for just 115 yards and a lone touchdown Saturday, compared to his season averages of 4.75 touchdowns and 342 yards per game.

Mangano got the scoring started in the first quarter. He came in with the ball on the two-yard line, took the snap out of the wildcat with Silva split out wide and bulled his way across the goal line. After Sean Wlasuk’s extra point was blocked, the Rams found themselves up 6-0.

UMass Dartmouth answered late in the first with a touchdown of its own. With just over two minutes left, Burnham led a 10-play, 5:15 drive that ended when he found Alex Heffernan for a nine-yard score.

The Corsairs were successful with their PAT attempt and went into the end of the first quarter with a 7-6 lead.

Burnham led another scoring drive that ended just eight seconds into the second quarter. This time Burnham kept the ball himself, running it in from five yards out and extending the Corsairs’ lead to 14-6.

This was the last time UMass Dartmouth would score, as something sparked the Rams to rifle off 20 unanswered points the rest of the way.

The first of these points came before halftime.  After the Corsairs’ Brendan Dagle fumbled a punt at his own 22-yard line, the Rams took over with a short field.

They got down inside the five-yard line and were stuffed twice before Mangano came in once again.

With Silva split out, much like he was in the first quarter, Mangano took the snap, jumped over the pile, reached his arm across the goal line and cut the lead to 14-13 at halftime.

The touchdown marked Mangano’s fifth of the year.

Trailing by a point in the third quarter, the Rams took over at their own three-yard line. Led by six Green rushes and two Corsairs penalties, Silva finished the drive with an 18-yard touchdown run, giving the Rams a 20-14 lead, one they wouldn’t relinquish.

Silva’s lone touchdown pass came with just under two minutes left in the third. He hooked up with Tevin Jones for a seven-yard touchdown after Mangano ran his pick of Burnham down to the Corsairs’ seven.

The touchdown marked Jones’ eighth of the year and gave the Rams a 26-14 lead, the eventual final after a scoreless fourth quarter.

With 20 touchdowns on the year, Silva continues to lead the country in this category, but his sluggish offensive day dropped him to third in the nation in passing yards.

Aside from Green’s 186 yards on the ground, two other running backs, Trevon Offley and Aaron Owens, got touches. Offley carried seven times for 37 yards, while Owens carried two times for two yards.

Marcus Grant led all receivers with 61 yards. He was followed by Jared Gauthier who caught three passes for 21 yards, Jones who had two for 17 and Travis Hayes who had three for 16.

Aside from throwing four picks, Burnham was hurried all afternoon and was sacked twice. One sack came from Quentin Jones and the other from Guychard Sampson.

The defense held the Corsairs to just 188 yards, 111 on the ground and 77 through the air.

Along with nearly doubling UMass Dartmouth’s yardage total, the Rams controlled the ball for almost 12 more minutes than the Corsairs.

The Rams travel to Westfield State Saturday in their last game before hitting the bye week on Oct. 17.

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