DUDLEY, Mass. – Freshman Chris Mullins (Centreville, Va.) completed a school-record 43 passes for 432 yards and three scores in Nichols College's 43-35 win over Curry College Saturday afternoon in New England Football Conference (NEFC) action at Vendetti Field.
Mullins shattered the previous record of 31 early in the third quarter and connected with nine different receivers, including classmate Tony Martignoli (Santa Rosa, Calif.), who caught a school-record 17 passes for 198 yards and one touchdown, his sixth of the season. Mullins fell 12 yards shy of the program's single-game passing mark, held by junior Michael McCourt (New Fairfield, Conn.), but he also established a new record for attempts with 63. On the ground, he rushed for 22 yards and two touchdowns to help Nichols win its fourth game of the season – the highest total for the program since the 2009 campaign.
Sophomore Brenden Massey (Attleboro, Mass.) caught six passes for 104 yards and one touchdown while junior Mike Abbruzzese (Natick, Mass.) hauled in seven passes for 48 yards and one score. The Bison entered the fourth quarter with just 45 rushing yards – all by freshman Joshua Pierre-Charles (Millis, Mass.) – before racking up 73 in the final stanza, 20 of which came on the game's final touchdown, which was scored by senior Grant Klimek (Toms River, N.J.) with 3:35 to go.
Defensively, the Bison intercepted Curry junior signal caller Alex Corvese (Cranston, R.I.) three times before he was forced out of the game due to injury; he finished the afternoon 28-of-52 for 313 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. Abbruzzese picked up his first career interception while senior Brett McEvoy (Wrentham, Mass.) got his second in as many weeks. Freshman Michael Spraulding (Lithonia, Ga.) also notched his first collegiate pick while McEvoy and classmate Matthew McEvilly (Clinton, Mass.) tied for the team lead with 10 stops.
Curry senior wide receiver Jake Cawlina (Danvers, Mass.) gave the Bison secondary fits all afternoon and finished with 11 catches for 134 yards and three scores. Classmate Anthony Nastasi (Rivers Edge, N.J.) finished with eight catches for 62 yards while Corvese rushed for a team-high 55 yards and one score.
Following a scoreless first quarter, a nine-yard pass to Cawlina and a one-yard run by Corvese put the Colonels up 14-0. The Bison responded with a 12-play, 95-yard drive that Martignoli capped with a 10-yard TD reception from Mullins with 2:12 remaining in the half. The Colonels answered right back with a seven-play, 60-yard drive that took just 1:17 and ended with Cawlina catching his second touchdown of the afternoon, this one from 11 yards out. Not to be outdone, Mullins drove the Bison 54 yards in four plays on the ensuing possession and hit Massey on a post pastern from 25 yards out with 11 seconds left to send the home team to the locker room down one score at 21-14.
Mullins opened the second-half scoring with a five-yard TD run that put Nichols ahead 22-21 after sophomore Dylan Abercrombie (Palmetto Bay, Fla.) caught a two-point conversion pass from classmate Colton Hudson (Concord, Vt.). Senior Dean Anderson (Melrose, Mass.) took the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a score to put Curry back in front, 28-22, and Cawlina's third touchdown pass of the afternoon at 9:58 put the Colonels ahead two scores at 35-22.
The Nichols defense shut down Curry from there while, on offense, Mullins went to work. His one-yard touchdown run with 1:01 to go in the third made it a one score game at 35-29, and then he hooked up with Abbruzzese on fourth-and-goal from the five-yard line at 9:45 to give Nichols a 36-35 lead. That play capped a five-play, 58-yard drive and ate up 1:06.
Curry sophomore Aidan Cawley (Abington, Mass.) led all student-athletes with 14 tackles (nine solo).
Today's game marked the 58th all-time meeting between Curry College and Nichols College. The Bison's win snapped a 14-game losing streak to the Colonels and extended their lead in the series to 31-27.
Nichols (4-4, 2-3 NEFC) – Saturday, November 5 @ Maine Maritime, 12:00 p.m.
Curry (3-4, 1-4 NEFC) – Saturday, November 5 @ MIT, 12:00 p.m.
(Game Recap Courtesy of Nichols College Sports Information)