NEW LONDON, Conn. – Junior quarterback Ryan Jones threw a pair of touchdowns and ran for another leading Coast Guard to a 24-10 win over WPI in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game, the final home game of the season for the Bears.
Coast Guard improves to 6-3 overall and 4-2 in the NEWMAC while WPI drops to 5-4 overall and 3-3 in the conference. The six wins for the Bears are the most since the team finished 8-2 and won the NEFC Bogan Division in 2007. The win ensures first winning season since the Bears were 5-4 in 2012.
Coast Guard had 374 yards of total offense and held WPI to just 200 total yards in the win. The Bears held a 23-12 advantage in first down and won time of possession 37:07 to 22:53.
The first quarter was dominated by a lengthy drive by Coast Guard. WPI picked up a pair of first downs and held the ball for four minutes on the first possession before the Bears took over following a punt at their own 13 yard line. Quarterback Ryan Jones connected on his first 10 passes, and 11-of-12 overall, that headlined a 19-play, 83-yard drive that chewed up 9:53 off the clock and resulted in a 20-yard field goal by Cole Austin, his school record-tying 12th of the season.
After forcing a three-and-out, the hosts embarked on another long drive, one that covered 12 plays and 70 yards over 6:24, and was capped by a six-yard scoring pass from Jones to sophomore Justin Moffatt, but the PAT was blocked by WPI's Lou Duh. Jones continued his strong start on the drive, completing all six of his pass attempts.
WPI used its defense to get back into the game. Following a punt, Sam Casey picked off a pass on the next CGA drive and returned it 32 yards to the Bears 17. The Engineers were only able to move the ball two yards and settled for a 32-yard field goal by Spencer Herrington to cut the deficit to 9-3 prior to halftime.
The Bears had 191 yards in the first half holding WPI to 61 yards while holding a 19:49 to 10:11 time of possession in the opening half.
Coast Guard had yet another prolonged drive to start the second half, venturing in 78 yards in 17 plays over 7:36, culminating in a Jones two-yard quarterback keeper for the touchdown. Austin's PAT put the Bears ahead 16-3. WPI looked poised to score on an impressive drive of its own on its next possession but senior Luke Wilson forced a fumble that was recovered by junior R.J. Robiskie.
WPI used a long drive of their own to find the end zone when quarterback Julian Nyland connected with Nic Rossi on an 11-yard scoring strike in the front left corner of the end zone. The scored finished a 17-play, 78-yard drive that ate up 7:59. Harrington added on the PAT to bring WPI within 16-10 with 9:34 remaining.
It had appeared the ensuing Coast Guard drive had stalled at the WPI 37 yard line but senior Jake Behne took an inside handoff on a fake punt on a 4th-and-17 and rumbled 31 yards for the first down and Jones then found freshman Damaso Jaime with a touchdown on the very next play. It was the first career touchdown for Jaime, who made his first career start this afternoon.
Jones and Moffatt hooked up on the two-point conversation to give the Bears a 24-10 advantage with 5:29 remaining.
Trailing by two scores, the Engineers were forced to go for it on fourth down deep in their own territory and did not make it. Coast Guard took over on a short field but saw its 23-yard field goal attempt blocked by Brian Mahan.
WPI's last drive was ended by fourth down sack by senior Titus Creamer and sophomore Eugene Bizer.
Jones was outstanding for the Bears. The junior signal caller completed a career-high 30 passes and was 30-for-37 for 251 yards and the two touchdowns. Moffatt finished with eight catches for 82 yards, Jaime hauled in seven balls for 66 yards and Jon Wagner and Miguel Moroles both caught six passes, combining for 77 receiving yards. Wagner led the rushing attack for CGA with 63 yards in 16 carries.
Nyland finished 16-for-28 for 123 yards for WPI. He added 21 yards on the ground. Brandon Winn paced the running attack 36 yards as Sean McAllen was limited to just five carries and 20 yards. Eric Fyrer absorbed six targets for 54 yards and Clark Ewen caught five balls for 28 yards.
Behne led the way with 12 tackles for Bears while sophomore Colby Coco added three pass breakups to go along with six stops and junior Michael Goldsworthy chipped in with a pair of tackles-for-loss.
The Bears close out the 2018 season next week at Merchant Marine in the battle for the Secretaries' Cup. The game will live on ESPN 3 at noon.