WALTHAM, Mass. – After the defense denied the University of New Haven to start overtime, Bentley University sophomore Grant Buchanan (Holliston/Holliston HS) put a career-long 39-yard field goal through the uprights to give the Falcons a 27-24 Senior Day win over the Chargers in Northeast-10 Conference football action at Bentley Saturday afternoon.
Buchanan's second field goal of the day gave Bentley its first win over the Chargers since 2010 and boosted coach Bill Kavanaugh's team to 5-3 conference and 5-4 overall. Meanwhile, New Haven fell even with the Falcons in the NE10 standings and to 6-3 overall.
New Haven had the ball to start overtime after Bentley won the coin toss and elected to play defense. Despite a holding call, the Chargers advanced the ball to the Bentley 2 where they faced a fourth-and-one. Rather than attempting to run to keep the drive alive, a pass to the corner of the end zone by senior Ajee Patterson (Neptune, N.J.) was off the mark, giving the Falcons their turn.
Bentley moved the ball only three yards before sending in the field goal team. The snap from center was not handled cleanly, but despite that, Buchanan was able to deliver the game-winner.
After New Haven took a 24-17 lead with 10:14 left in the fourth, Bentley came back to tie the game on a season-best 27-yard scamper by senior Martin Bannerman Jr. (Pawtucket, R.I./La Salle Academy) and ensuing point-after attempt by Buchanan.
The game was tied at 17 apiece at halftime after the two teams combined for 27 second-quarter points, including field goals from both team's placekickers in the final 60 seconds.
The opening play of the second was a 35-yard laser thrown into the end zone by Falcon freshman Stephen Sturm (Collegeville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley HS) to classmate Austin Ryan (Foxborough/ Foxborough HS) that evened the game at 7-7.
Less than a minute later, Bentley senior Aaron Chretien (Commerce Township/Walled Lake Northern HS) recovered a mishandled snap at the Charger one and took it in for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead.
New Haven, which had a 43-23 advantage in first-half plays, came back to tie the game at 14 with 5:37 on the second-half clock when grad student Greg Orekoya (Billerica) ran the ball in from the three.
Buchanan put the Falcons back on top with a 30-yard field goal with exactly 60 seconds until intermission, but enough time was left for New Haven to counter. After a 27-yard Patterson completion to the Falcon 22, senior Danny Stock (North Massapequa, N.Y.) ended the half with a 39-yard field goal that was attempted with one second on the clock.
The third quarter was scoreless despite Bentley junior safety Nick Athy (Holliston/Holliston HS) forcing and recovering a fumble on the New Haven 14. The Chargers got the ball right back with an interception in the end zone. Later in the third, Buchanan came up short on a potential go-ahead 42-yard field goal attempt.
Sturm completed better than 75 percent of his passes for the third time in as many career starts, finishing 28 of 36 for 267 yards, but did throw his first two interceptions as a collegiate. Ryan led the Falcons with eight catches for 89 yards, sophomore Ryan McCarthy (Holden/Wachusett Reg. HS) pulled in eight for 53, and junior Jordan Zlogar (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa HS) caught four balls for 48 yards.
Patterson finished 25 of 34 for 329 through the air and also ran for a team-best 68 yards while leading the Chargers to 501 yards total offense.
Athy, in addition to the fumble force and recovery, had a game-high 11 tackles and a sack.
New Haven had the statistical edge, including 501-316 in total offense, 24-21 in first downs, 83-65 plays and a plus-7:36 in time of possession. However, the Chargers were hampered by penalties with 10 for 105.
Bentley will close out the season next Saturday at nationally-ranked and unbeaten Assumption College.