MIDDLETOWN, R.I. - Freshman quarterback Bradley Skeffington (Salem, Mass.) accounted for three touchdowns to lead the Salve Regina University football team to a 36-13 victory over the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during Senior Day at Gaudet Field on Saturday afternoon. The win was the third straight for the Seahawks who improve to 5-3 overall and 3-2 during Boyd Division play. The loss drops the Engineers to 1-6 on the season and 0-5 in the division.
Before the start of the game, the Seahawks honored 17 student athletes and two student assistants for all of their contributions to the Salve Regina football program as part of the Senior Day festivities.
Skeffington completed 7-of-14 attempts through the air for 126 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 72 yards and a score on 13 carries. Running back Rob LaRiviere-Tougas (Easthampton, Mass.) added a team-high 78 yards rushing on 13 carries, while junior full back Connor Kelly (milford, Conn.) racked-up 67 yards on just 10 rush attempts. Senior Michael Dargan (Meriden, Conn.) led the Seahawks with 57 yards receiving on a pair of catches, while freshman Dan Buonocore (Mahwah, N.J.) had two grabs for 24 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown reception. Freshman Mark Moore (Hattiesburg, Miss.) also contributed to the offense, nailing all three of his field goals from distances of 31, 34, and 35 yards.
Defensively, the Seahawks received outstanding performances from seniors A.J. Albert (Franklin Park, N.J.), Carlos Santos (Trumbull, Conn.), and Shane Lange (Branford, Conn.). Albert led all players with 13 tackles (3.5 TFL), adding 1.5 sacks, while Santos and Lange recorded 11 and eight tackles, respectively, with 1.5 sacks each.
The Engineers were led offensively by quarterback John Wenzel (Mandeville, La.) who completed 8-of-15 passing attempts for 76 yards, while also rushing for 31 yards and a score. Freshman running back Justin Wallace (Palatine, Ill.) compiled a game-high 27 carries and 80 yards rushing on the day, while fellow freshman Brad Goldsberry (Elizabeth, Colo.) led all players with four receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown.
The MIT defense was paced by freshman Cameron Wagar (West Richland, Wash.) who had 12 tackles (nine solo), a pass break-up, and an interception. Sophomore Jake Laux (Dousman, Wisc.) also played well, tying Wagar for the team-high in tackles with 12.
The Engineers received the opening kickoff and proceeded to march 80 yards on 15 plays, capped by a 16 yards connection from Wenzel to Goldsberry for the game's first score. The extra point was then blocked by freshman Phil Terio (Trumbull, Conn.) to keep the Engineer lead at 6-0.
The Seahawks responded on their next possession with a 34-yard field goal by Moore to cut the MIT lead in half at 6-3.
The Salve Regina defense held the Engineers to two quick three-and-outs on their next two possession, beginning a string of eight consecutive defensive stops by the Seahawks.
After a short 20-yard punt by the Engineers, the SRU offense took over with great field position at the MIT 47 yard-line. Following an incomplete pass to begin the drive, the Seahawks ran the ball eight straight times, moving down to the MIT 14 yard-line before settling for a 31 –yard game-tying field goal by Moore.
After another stop by their defense, Salve Regina took over possession at their own 18 yard line and drove 82 yards on just five plays for their first touchdown of the game. After a pair of runs to begin the drive, Skeffington connected on three consecutive pass attempts, including a five-yard completion to Kelly, a 40-yard hook-up with Dargan, and a 23-yard touchdown pass to Buonocore to give the Seahawks their first lead of the game, 13-6.
The Salve Regina defense continued to keep the MIT offense quiet, while Skeffington added a seven-yard touchdown scamper before the end of the opening half to put the Seahawks ahead by a score of 20-6 at the break.
The Seahawks carried their momentum over into the second half, going 67 yards on 10 plays for a touchdown in the opening drive of the period. After nearly connecting with Alexander Lord ( Sherman, Conn.) in the end zone on the previous play, Skeffington went right back to him for a 20-yard score in the right corner to give SRU a 26-6 advantage.
Salve Regina added a 35-yard field goal by Moore, on their very next possession to push the lead to 29-6 with one quarter to play.
After holding MIT to a three-and-out on their ensuing possession, the Seahawks turned the ball over on downs when a bad snap forced punter Benjamin Barrett (West Greenwich, R.I.) to unsuccessfully attempt to rush for the first down.
MIT made the most of their good field position, driving 48-yards on eight plays for their first score since the opening drive of the game. Wenzel completed the march with a four-yard touchdown run to cut the SRU lead to 29-13.
However, the Seahawks responded with a 6-play, 54-yard touchdown drive to essentially seal the win. Alex Mendez (Cranston, R.I.) capped the drive with a one-yard TD plunge to complete the scoring for the day, as the Seahawks held on for the 36-13 victory.
Both teams will return to Boyd Division action next Saturday when the Engineers host Nichols at 5 p.m., and the Seahawks hit the road to face Plymouth State at noon.