The Central Connecticut football team scored 35 unanswered points to erase a 21-7 deficit. The 42-21 victory on the road gives the Blue Devils a final record of 4-7 and 3-5 in Northeast Conference play, Bryant falls to 7-4 and 5-3. The Blue Devils were led by a pair of 100 yard rushers, sophomore Chris Tolbert and senior Brian Fowler.
After falling behind 7-0, the Blue Devils got on the board with 6:38 left in the first quarter. Fowler carried the load on the drive rushing three times for 47 yards including a 41 yard scamper down the right sideline that set the Blue Devils up with first and goal at the one. Two plays later Fowler went up the middle to punch in Central's first score and tie the game at 7-7.
Bryant added their second touchdown late in the first quarter, and was driving for a third early in the second quarter, but senior linebacker Isaiah Boddie forced a Bulldog fumble at his own one yard line. Central sophomore Antwione Reese jumped on the loose ball ending the Bryant drive.
The Blue Devils marched down the field and cut the lead to 21-14 with 3:15 left in the first half. Senior Gunnar Jespersen hit Tolbert in the flat for a six yard touchdown pass. Jespersen had kept the drive moving four plays earlier when he rushed for 14 yards to convert a fourth and nine from the Bryant 35 yard line.
The Central defense forced a three-and-out for Bryant, giving the Blue Devil offense a chance to tie the game before the half.
After being stopped on a pair of plays the Blue Devils ran a reverse to sophomore receiver Nick Bacarella who pulled up short of the line and lofted a 33 yard pass to sophomore Denzell Jones that moved Central to the Bryant 36 yard line with 1:40 left in the half.
Central's drive stalled again after three plays. Facing fourth and long for a second straight drive, Jespersen rushed eight yards to pick up the first down. Five plays later Jespersen pitched to Tolbert who went around the right end for six yards and the touchdown. Junior Juan Duque tacked on the extra point, tying the game at 21-21.
Fowler finished the half with 69 yards on 11 carries. Jespersen rushed for 55 yards and converted fourth and long on both of the Blue Devils scoring drives in the second quarter.
Senior London Lomax ended the opening drive of the second half with an interception of Bryant's Mike Croce at the Central three yard line. Jespersen led Central on an eight minute, 18-play, 97 yard drive that was capped by a two yard touchdown run by Fowler. The score and point-after gave Central a 28-21 lead.
The Central defense forced another Bryant three-and-out. This time the Blue Devils scored much more quickly as Tolbert took the first play 55 yards up the left sideline to the Bryant 26. Two plays later Jespersen threw his second touchdown of the afternoon, hitting junior Deven Baker down the middle for a 25 yard touchdown.
For the Blue Devils it was their fourth straight drive that resulted in a touchdown. The 28 unanswered points gave the Blue Devils the 35-21 lead.
Fowler capped the victory with a 19 yard touchdown run, his third score of the day. It also put Fowler over 100 yards rushing for the game, Tolbert led the team in rushing with 142 yards and a touchdown. Tolbert also caught a touchdown pass in the game.
Jespersen finished 10-of-17 for 100 yards and two touchdowns through the air. He also ran 16 times for 82 yards. Deven Baker caught five of those passes, for a total of 59 yards.
Lorenzo Baker led the defense recording 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks in the game. The Blue Devils also had three interceptions, one each by Lomax, Cirinna and freshman Chris Abner.
The Blue Devils remain undefeated against the Bulldogs after churning out 492 yards of total offense including 359 yards on the ground. After allowing touchdowns on three of four drives to start the game the Blue Devil defense tightened up and held Bryant to 265 yards of offense in the game.