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Bulldogs defeat Howard in 2018 finale

Bulldogs defeat Howard in 2018 finale

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Bryant University football team closed out the 2018 season with a thrilling 56-55 victory over Howard on Saturday afternoon at Greene Stadium. With the win, the Bulldogs finish with a winning record for the second-straight season.

Senior Vincent Nisivoccia (Nutley, N.J.) opened the game with an 86-yard kick return score and redshirt-junior Jean Constant (Delray Beach, Fla.) broke a 49-49 tie with an 88-yard kick return score with 4:36 left in the game to propel the Black and Gold.

Trailing by seven, Howard was able to drive down the field and score with 35 seconds to go to make it a one-point game. The Bison then tried to go for two and take the lead but senior Thomas Costigan (Stamford, Conn.) made the tackle at the Bryant 1 to keep the Black and Gold ahead. Costigan then recovered the ensuing onside kick to secure the Bryant victory.

Redshirt-senior Price Wilson (Marietta, Ga.) returned after missing the last two games to throw for 298 yards and two touchdowns, improving to 10-2 in the last 12 games he's played the full game. He spearheaded an offense that produced 564 yards of total offense and a DI program-record 56 points.

Defensively, Costigan and junior Tomas Wright (St. Augustine, Fla.) both set single-season program records in the victory. Costigan posted 11 tackles, giving him a program-record 109 tackles, while Wright posted a 1.5 sacks to set the single-season record with 12.5. Sophomore David Onyemem (Dracut, Mass.) and senior Danny Hughes (Shoreham, N.Y.) both posted interceptions.

Game Information
Bryant 56, Howard 55
Records: Bryant (6-5), Howard (4-6)
Attendance: 3,974

Coach Perry's Comments

"Today was incredible. The kids have fought hard and practiced hard all season long. We came out today and had a great effort in all three phases. Having Price back gave us a little boost and then to play so hard is just a testament to this group. We're always getting better. We've been getting better all year. This program keeps getting better and I couldn't be more pleased about where we are at. I knew we would have a great game today."

How it Happened

  • Nisivoccia opened the game with some fireworks as he scooted down the Bryant sideline for an 86-yard kick return score. It was his first-career return score.
  • Onyemem then intercepted a Caylin Newton pass at the Bryant 2 and the Bulldogs proceeded to drive 98 yards to take a 14-0 lead. Constant picked up 22 yards on a shovel pass and Wilson threw a perfect 27-yard pass to redshirt freshman Shelton McNeal (Lakeland, Fla.) to put the ball inside the Howard 5. Redshirt sophomore Alfred Dorbor punched it in to make it 14-0.
  • Howard would then score the next 21 points to take a 21-14 lead in the second quarter. Khalid Dorsey rushed for a 46-yard score and Jequez Ezzard's 61-yard TD reception tied the game. Newton's 13-yard TD pass to Kyle Anthony with 13:53 left in the second quarter gave the Bison the lead.
  • Bryant was able to respond with a quick five-play, 65-yard drive. Freshman David Zorrilla (Everett, Mass.) made a 34-yard reception and classmate Daniel Adeboboye (Toronto, Ont.) capped the drive with an eight-yard TD run.
  • Howard punched right back with an 11-play, 80-yard drive. Newton threw to Ezzard to complete the drive.
  • Bryant answered again with a 10-play, 72-yard drive. Senior Brenden Femiano (Northport, N.Y.) capped the drive with a three-yard TD run.
  • The Bulldog defense would get a stop and Bryant drove down to take the lead with 1:46 left in the half. Wilson found junior Andrew Schultz (Eastchester, N.Y.) for a 12-yard touchdown to give the Bulldogs the lead.
  • Howard, however, had an answer. A 36-yard completion opened the Bison drive and Newton connected with Jordan Aley for an 11-yard TD to tie the game with 18 seconds left.
  • The Black and Gold defense started the second half with a bang as Hughes intercepted Newton on the first play of the half. Bryant would then convert twice on fourth down, with Femiano punching it on 4th-and-2 for the only score of the quarter.
  • Bryant extended its lead to 14 at the start of the fourth quarter. It was set up by a 66-yard run by Nisivoccia and capped on a Wilson to Constant shovel pass.
  • The Bison responded by scoring twice over the next six minutes. Dedrick Parson scored both TDs, posting a one-yard run and a 46-yard run. The two scores made it 49-49 with 4:50 left.
  • Howard then squibbed the ensuing kickoff but it made its way to Constant at the Bryant 12. He picked it up the ball, raced up the middle, cut to the sideline and then down the sideline for the score.
  • The Bison then converted on a 4th-and-15 to keep its next drive alive and tied the game on a five-yard run by Parson.
  • Howard then tried to convert on a two-point conversion and Costigan made the stop at the 1.

Stats

  • Bryant set a DI program record with 56 points.
  • The Bulldogs also set a DI program record with two kick return scores.
  • Wilson threw for 298 yards and two scores, completing 27 passes.
  • Femiano posted his third 100-yard game of the season, finishing with 101 yards and two scores. Nisivoccia and Adeboboye added 75 and 70, respectively.  
  • Senior Tom Kennedy (Farmingdale, N.Y.) led Bryant with 10 catches for 98 yards. 
  • Constant posted 191 return yards and 246 all-purpose yards.
  • Nisivoccia finished with 200 all-purpose yards. 
  • Costigan posted a team-high 11 tackles. 
  • Jesse Nemerowicz (Hudson, Mass.) posted eight tackles and two TFLs, while Kodi Ojukwu (Dix Hills, N.Y.) had six tackles, a sack and three TFLs.
  • Wright posted 1.5 sacks.

Notes and Notables

  • The Bulldogs are now 10-1 in their last 11 games decided by 10 points or less.
  • Wright set the single-season program record with 12.5 sacks.
  • Costigan wrapped up his career with a program record 285 tackles. 
  • His 109 tackles in 2018 are a Bryant single-season record. 
  • Nemerowicz moved into a tie for eighth with 224 career tackles.
  • Constant now holds the program record with three kick return scores this season. He's the program record-holder with five career kick return scores.
  • Constant also leads the country in kick return TDs and kick return average.
  • Constant also moved into fifth place in program history with 23 career touchdowns. 
  • Kennedy became just the second player (Jordan Harris) with as many as three games of 10+ receptions.
  • Nisivoccia finished the season with 1,353 all-purpose yards, the 10th-most in a single season in program history.