Embrace the Championship: Bentley Captures NE10 Football Title on Saturday

Bentley football


First NE10 Title for the Falcons Since 2009.

WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior wide receiver Drew Mahoney surpassed 1,000 receiving yards for the season with nine catches for 192 yards, senior defensive back Pete Thorbahn capped his standout career with a 40-yard pick-six and the Falcon defense posted its second straight shutout as the Bentley University Falcons rolled to a 38-0 Senior Day shutout of American International College Saturday afternoon.

Bentley's fifth consecutive win, coupled with New Haven's 27-17 win over Stonehill, gave the Falcons their first Northeast-10 championship since 2010. The Falcons, 6-4 overall and 6-2 NE10, finished even with New Haven in the standings but gained the title by virtue of a 31-14 win over the Chargers Sept. 27.

Bentley, which avenged an earlier loss to the Yellow Jackets, held the lead for all but the first 82 seconds of the game and led by double figures for the final 50:38.

On AIC's second play of the opening drive, senior defensive lineman Matt Yanes recovered a fumble, giving the Falcons the ball at the AIC 28. One play later, junior QB Stephen Sturm ran it in from the 13 on a draw play.

Bentley's next possession culminated with a bootleg by Sturm from the one extending the Falcon advantage to 14-0 with 9:22 left in the opening stanza.

The lead grew to 17-0 in the opening minute of the second when senior Grant Buchanan booted a 29-yard field goal. Buchanan also kicked five extra points, finishing the season perfect at 37 of 37, and concluded his career with 224 points, a Bentley record for a kicker and tying Jeff Hill '14 for fourth on the program's all-time list.

On the opening possession of the second half, a one-yard run by Jordan Artope finished a 12-play, 67-yard drive and made it a 24-0 game.

The TD was the ninth of the season for the season.

Over the final nine minutes of the third and the opening 30 seconds of the fourth, AIC used 20 plays to drive to the Falcon one. However, a bad snap on fourth and goal, the 21st play of the possession, resulted in a 14-yard loss and preserved the shutout.

Bentley answered with a four-yard TD catch from Sturm to Mahoney, finishing an 85-yard drive and extending the differential to 31. It featured a 60-yard catch and run by Mahoney to the AIC 4 that pushed him over 1,000 for the season, making him the tenth player in program history to achieve that milestone. The NCAA Division II leader in receptions per game, he finished the season with 88 catches for 1,032 yards.

Thorbahn's pick-six came less than a minute later. The interception was the 15th of his career and the touchdown was his third.

Bentley totaled 366 yards total offense and limited AIC (4-6, 3-5 NE10) to 247, despite the Yellow Jackets running 16 more plays, 70-54, and controlling the ball for 34:06. The Falcon offensive line didn't allow a single play for a loss all afternoon.

Sturm, who surpassed 2,000 yards for the season, finished 13 of 19 for 247 yards through the air and also gained 44 on the ground, with the two scores. Artope led Bentley in rushing with 14 carries for 54 yards.

Defensively, the Falcons came up with six sacks and a dozen tackles for losses, both season-highs. Junior linebacker Marc Doran had a career-high 15 tackles and 1.5 sacks, and sophomore Cedric Dashiell II finished with five tackles and two sacks, giving him 9.5 for the season. Bentley also received eight tackles and 2.5 TFL from sophomore defensive lineman Steven Paulino.

AIC received a strong performance from junior Samad Davila (New Brunswick, N.J.), who rushed for 121 yards on 25 carries.

The Northeast-10 championship, which Bentley won for the fifth time, is the second earned by Falcon athletics in two days. Friday night, the volleyball team clinched the regular season conference title.

-Recap provided by Bentley athletic communications-

The NE10 is an association of 14 diverse institutions serving student-athletes across 24 NCAA Division II sports. Together we build brilliant futures by embracing the journey of every student-athlete.

Each year, 4,500 of those student-athletes compete in conference championships in 24 sports, making the NE10 the largest DII conference in the country in terms of sport sponsorship. Leading the way in the classroom, on the field and within the community, the NE10 is proud of its comprehensive program and the experience it provides student-athletes.