Harris shines as football stays undefeated with win at Fitchburg

(Kicker Ryan Clifford punts the ball for the undefeated Rams. By Corey McFeeley)

Framingham State traveled to Fitchburg State to take on the Falcons in a MASCAC game on Oct. 6.

The Rams received the kickoff to begin the game. After a return of 23 yards from Nasir Thomas, the Framingham offense took the field.

After solid chunks on the ground from Sebastian Robert and Stephen Beahn, Framingham picked up a couple of first downs, but ultimately turned the ball over on downs to start the game.

After the turnover, Fitchburg came out with good starting field position. On third down, Falcons’ quarterback James Antonelli threw a pass intended for receiver Devin Summiel, but Rams’ safety Jaquan Harris jumped the route for an interception.

Set up by the pick, Framingham marched down the field on just four plays to score the games’ opening touchdown. Quron Wright capped off a four play, 46-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown run. After a missed extra point, the Rams went up 6-0.

Framingham’s defense forced a three and out on the next possession, setting the offense up again with a good field position. Wright again capped off the scoring drive, this time with a 16-yard rush for a touchdown. Kicker Ryan Clifford converted the extra point to cap a five play, 37-yard drive, putting the Rams up 13-0.

The Falcons responded on their next drive. Fitchburg quickly drove down the field in just three plays. The 62-yard drive was finished off with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Antonelli to Summiel. The Falcons cut the deficit to 13-7, after a made extra point.

Framingham was forced to punt on their next drive, but the punt pinned the Falcons inside their own 10-yard line. On the next play, Framingham got pressure on Antonelli, who just threw the ball away. However Antonelli was called for intentional grounding while he was in the end zone, resulting in a safety for the Rams, making it a 15-7 game.

After a good return on the free kick, the Rams found themselves with good field positon. Zak Walker finished off the five play, 36-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown rush to make the score 22-7.

Framingham would strike one more time before half. After a 25-yard punt from the Falcons, the Rams again had good field position. On the second play of the drive, Walker connected with Thomas for a 38-yard touchdown pass, making the score 29-7 going into halftime.

After two straight three-and-outs from the Fitchburg offense to start the half, the Falcons drove down the field for a touchdown to cut into the lead. Antonelli found Summiel in the end zone to cap off the 11 – play, 71-yard drive for Fitchburg, making it 29-14.

After another Harris interception, the Rams were forced to start their drive on their own one-yard line. Fitchburg brought pressure on the first play and got to Walker in the end zone for the safety, making it 29-16.

With a little momentum, the Falcons looked to cut into the Rams’ lead even more. On the next possession, the Falcons came out aggressively, but after just three plays, Harris came away with another interception.

Framingham then killed six minutes of the clock on their next possession. Picking up three first downs, Framingham ran 11 plays before finally kicking a field goal on fourth down. Clifford converted the 36-yard field goal to extend the lead to 32-16, the final score.

The Rams finished the game with 405 yards of total offense, passing for 142 and rushing for 263. The defense limited the Falcons to just 195 yards, giving up 167 through the air and only 28 on the ground. The defense also forced five turnovers.

Harris was responsible for all five turnovers, as he had five interceptions. This tied an NCAA record for most in a game by a single player. He had a total of 19 yards on interception returns. Harris now has a total of eight interceptions on the season through just five games.

Walker completed seven passes on 15 attempts for 142 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He added eight yards on the ground with a touchdown.

Wright rushed 24 times, tallying 145 yards and two touchdowns. He now has 721 yards on the season along with five touchdowns.

Five different Rams players had a reception in the win. Thomas led the way with two catches for 41 yards and a touchdown.

With the win, the Rams stay undefeated on the season at 5-0. They also stay on top in the MASCAC with  a 3-0 conference record.

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