1-1 , 1-1
0-1 , 0-1
Game Recap: Football |
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Merrimack College football program began its spring campaign on Sunday afternoon, hosting Bryant University in Northeast Conference (NEC) action at Duane Stadium. In a game that featured a myriad of weather conditions including sun, snow and high winds, the Bulldogs escaped with a 14-7 victory. Merrimack fell to 0-1 on the year while Bryant improved to 1-1.
The Warriors saw a couple players enjoy standout performances, including junior Rodney Samson and sophomore Nicholas Lenon. Samson posted a career-best 11 tackles from his linebacker position while Lenon registered a sack, two tackles for loss, a pass break-up and a fumble recovery from his defensive end position.
On the other side of the ball, junior Anthony Norcia caught Merrimack’s first-half touchdown from freshman quarterback Malakai Anthony. Junior Jamari Venter led the rushing attack on the day, including a 44-yard scamper in the second quarter.
Score: Bryant 14, Merrimack 7
Records: Merrimack (0-1, 0-1 NEC) | Bryant (1-1, 1-1 NEC)
Location: North Andover, Mass. | Duane Stadium
How It Happened
- In the first quarter, Bryant scored on its first possession of the game. The Bulldogs used an eight-play drive to punch the ball into the end zone, taking a 7-0 lead with 9:59 remaining in the opening quarter. Three punts occurred over the remainder of the quarter until Bryant got the ball with 2:03 on the clock. With one second on the clock, Bryant took a timeout to attempt a field goal, which Merrimack blocked to keep the score at 7-0
- Seven drives ended with punts in the second quarter until Merrimack started a drive at its own 27-yard line with 58 seconds on the clock. On a third-and-one play, Venter took a hand-off 44 yards to the Bryant 20-yard line to put the Warriors in the danger area. With 12 seconds left in the half, Anthony sent a pass up the far sideline that was tipped by a Bryant defender, but it went directly into the arms of Norcia for the touchdown. Halftime arrived with the score tied at 7-7
- Bryant started with the ball in the third quarter, taking the ball 75 yards to score which proved to be the game-winning touchdown. The Bulldogs scored on a first-and-goal situation, netting a touchdown via a fumble recovery in the end zone. The Bulldogs led, 14-7, with under 10 minutes to play in the third frame
- Samson returned a fumble later in the third quarter that put Merrimack on the Bryant 13-yard line. The Warriors were unable to score, however, facing a seven-point deficit at the 4:48 mark of the quarter. Bryant’s lead remaining at seven entering the final frame
- The fourth quarter played out quietly until the final minutes. Merrimack’s defense forced a turnover on downs with 2:08 remaining to give its offense one more chance at a game-tying drive. The Warriors were unable to threaten the Bryant defense, however, as the Bulldogs ended Merrimack’s possession with a sack
- Anthony made his collegiate at quarterback for Merrimack. The first-year Warrior went 12-of-19 for 92 yards with a touchdown, while adding 29 rushing yards
- Venter led Merrimack’s ground game, averaging 9.4 yards per carry
- Norcia led the receiving corps with 43 yards on four receptions. He recorded his third career touchdown reception and first since September of 2018
- Samson was the lone Warrior with double-digit tackles; his fumble return went 27 yards
- Junior Cory Hagerman joined Lenon with a sack. The duo also posted two tackles for loss, tying for the team lead
- Sophomore Brett Raynor added seven tackles
- Senior captain Caleb Holden led the team with two PBU’s
Notes & Numbers
- Merrimack fell to 6-10 against the Bulldogs in 16 all-time meetings
- Sunday’s contest was the first game for the football program in 477 days
The Warriors visit Sacred Heart University next Sunday for a 1 p.m. kickoff down in Fairfield, Conn.