Grad student Matthew Goggans scored four touchdowns as the Bowie State Bulldogs pulled away for a season-opening 35-32 victory over Merrimack College on Sept. 5 at Martone-Mejail Field in North Andover, Mass.
Despite what the final score would suggest, both Bowie State and Merrimack started the game slowly. The teams combined for just 10 points in the first half as the Bulldogs led 7-3 at halftime.
But the second half was a different story; both squads lit up the scoreboard before Bowie State pulled away with the victory.
Merrimack took the lead twice in the second half after touchdown passes from freshman quarterback Joe Capobianco. But the Bulldogs responded quickly with touchdown drives each time and created a comfortable 11-point lead after Goggans’ fourth touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter. Merrimack fought back to cut Bowie’s lead to three points, but ran out of time in their comeback attempt.
Three of Goggans’ touchdowns came by air, including a 58-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Gary Cropper. Goggan’s fourth score was a three-yard touchdown run set up after Bowie State senior defensive back Brian Hall intercepted a pass from Capobianco and ran it back deep into Merrimack’s red zone.
Goggans completed 23 of 42 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns, to go with 31 rushing yards and one touchdown run.
Junior receiver Nyme Manns led Bowie State with eight catches for 91 receiving yards and two touchdowns, including a 36-yard score to end the third quarter. Cropper caught six passes for 123 receiving yards and a 58-yard touchdown pass.
Senior defensive back Curtis Pumphrey led the Bulldogs defense with nine tackles.
Up next: Bowie State (1-0) will continue non-conference play with a trip to Brevard, N.C. on Sept. 12 to take on Brevard College.