The Central Connecticut football team dropped its final non-conference game of the season, on the road at UMass on Saturday night. The Blue Devils climbed to within two points in the fourth quarter, but UMass answered with kickoff and interception returns for a pair of touchdowns to lead the Minutemen to the 42-26 victory.
With the loss the Blue Devils drop to 2-4 overall, and have lost three straight for the first time since the beginning of the 2003 season. UMass improves to 3-2 and snaps a two-game losing streak.
Senior quarterback Gunnar Jespersen rushed for a pair of touchdowns in the loss, and had a game-high 93 rushing yards. The total was the second-highest output of his career. He also threw for a touchdown in the game.
Following a UMass field goal to open the scoring, he Blue Devils answered on their first drive, using the legs of Jespersen. He rushed from one-yard out to give the Blue Devils a 7-3 lead with 6:02 left in the first quarter. He rushed four times for 40 yards on the drive, including a season-long 33-yard rush. The drive went eight plays and 69 yards.
UMass would answer, scoring 19 unanswered points to take a 22-7 lead. They scored on a two yard run by Jonathan Hernandez on a drive that took just six plays to move 85 yards.
The lead reached 12-7 after a safety, following a bad snap on a punt attempt on the first play of the second quarter for Central. On the next possession, a 58-yard scoring pass to Emil Igwenagu pushed the lead to 19-7. Following a Jespersen interception, another field goal made it 22-7.
Just before halftime sophomore Chris Tolbert rushed in from 12-yards out to cut the lead to 22-13. Tolbert's rush capped a seven-play, 72-yard drive and took only 2:13 off the clock. The extra point was missed. UMass committed a pair of 15-yard penalties on the drive to help Central cut the lead to nine.
Central had just 109 yards of offense in the first half and the game's only turnover. The Minutemen had 230 yards, including 164 through the air.
In the second half, Hernandez ran in from 22-yards out to push the UMass lead to 28-13 with 8:27 to play in the third quarter. The extra-point was blocked by the Blue Devils.
Jespersen and the Blue Devils answered again, this time on a long drive that resulted in Jespersen's second rushing touchdown of the game, again from one-yard out. The drive was eight plays long and went for 74-yards, cutting the Massachusetts lead to 28-20.
After forcing a UMass punt, the Blue Devils Jespersen hit Raul Debenendittis from four-yards out to cap another long scoring drive, cutting the lead to 28-26. Central went for two, but the rushing attempt by Tolbert was no good, with 8:46 left to play in the fourth. Central went 19 plays on the drive, moving 68-yards and taking 7:51 off the clock, cutting the lead to two.
UMass answered by running the kickoff back 90-yards for a touchdown, making it 35-26 with 8:32 on the clock.
Central continues its road swing and returns to league action next Saturday at Duquesne. The game will air live on ESPN Radio 1410 and online at CCSUBlueDevils.com.
May 17, 2012 Ranglin Signs With KC Chiefs
April 27, 2012 Blue Tops White in Annual Spring Game
April 10, 2012 Flag Football Fundraiser to Honor Royster and Mariani
March 26, 2012 Blue Devils Set to Begin Spring Ball
March 13, 2012 Open Mac - Previewing the Spring Game
February 16, 2012 Football Wine Tasting Fundraiser, March 9
January 31, 2012 Blue Devils Complete Recruiting Class, Announce 2012 Schedule
January 31, 2012 Tommy Buzzo Joins CCSU Football Staff
January 27, 2012 Central Wins EPA 2011 Game Day Challenge
January 19, 2012 Hall of Famer Kevorkian Passes Away
January 10, 2012 McInerney Receives Extension as Head Football Coach
December 14, 2011 Football Honors Seniors at Annual Banquet
November 29, 2011 Williams Named All-New England
November 23, 2011 Four Blue Devils Named All-Conference
November 21, 2011 Football Pair Honored on Monday
November 19, 2011 Football Posts 42-21 Win at Bryant
November 5, 2011 CCSU and RMU on NEC TV on Saturday
November 5, 2011 Football Wins on Senior Day
October 29, 2011 Football Falls in Snowy Loretto to SFPA
October 22, 2011 Football Hosts Albany - Watch Live
October 22, 2011 Albany Hands CCSU NEC Loss
October 15, 2011 Duquesne Stops Football, 28-21
October 8, 2011 Football Falls Short at UMass
October 1, 2011 Football Falls on Homecoming
September 24, 2011 Football Home Streak Stopped at 15
September 22, 2011 Watch as Blue Devils Look for 16 Straight
September 17, 2011 Blue Devils Win 28-24 at Wagner
September 17, 2011 Listen to Football for Free at 1 p.m. Today
September 12, 2011 Linares Earns NEC Weekly Honor
September 10, 2011 Listen Live for Free to Football at JMU Tonight
September 10, 2011 Central Nearly Stuns JMU, 14-9
September 5, 2011 Holmes Earns NEC Honor
September 3, 2011 Football Wins 15th Straight at Home
August 30, 2011 Tuesday Football Practice Photo Gallery
August 26, 2011 Pair of Blue Devils Throw Out Pitches for New Britain Rockcats
August 3, 2011 Football Picked to Win NEC Title in Preseason Coaches Poll
July 13, 2011 2011 Season Tickets are Now Available