Fourth Quarter Score Lifts MIT Past Western New England, 17-14
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – MIT's defense held Western New England University's high scoring offense to just a pair of third quarter touchdowns and junior quarterback Peter Williams (Portland, Ore.) hit sophomore Samuel Inman (Stillwell, Okla.) with a 53-yard TD pass early in the fourth to lift the Engineers to a 17-14 win over the Golden Bears in a New England Football Conference (NEFC) clash. MIT's second straight win moved the Engineers to 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the NEFC while Western New England fell to 2-5 and 1-3 in the league.
MIT got things going early as it took the opening kickoff and turned it into a seven-play, 61-yard scoring drive. Junior Brad Goldsberry (Elizabeth, Colo.) put the Engineers in good field position to start, returning the kickoff 27 yards to the MIT 39-yard line. The key play on the drive came at midfield where MIT faced a 3rd and 10. Williams, who threw for 287 yards on the day, hit sophomore Seve Esparrago (St. Louis, Mo.) with a 41-yard strike for a first and goal at the nine. On the next play junior Justin Wallace (Palatine, Ill.) took it in for an early 7-0 lead for the Engineers.
Senior Joel Santisteban (Lawrence, N.Y.) came up big for the MIT defense on the first Western New England drive, intercepting a John Krafick pass at the MIT 20 to halt the first scoring threat by the Golden Bears. Early in the second quarter Western New England threatened again, but the Engineers' defense answered with another interception, with junior Anthony Souffrant (North Grafton, Mass.) stepping in front of the Krafick pass at the MIT 25.
MIT's pass defense was outstanding all day, picking off the two passes and holding Krafick to just 55 yards passing and sacking him twice. The MIT offense converted on the second interception as Williams hit Goldsberry with a 43-yard pass that gave the Engineers a first down at the WNE 27. The Golden Bear defense held there, but freshman Tucker Cheyne (Avon, Conn.) booted a 36-yard field goal to put MIT up 10-0.
Still trailing 10-0 at the start of the second half, Western New England, which was held to 124 yards in the first half, came up with two quick scoring drives to start the third quarter and take the lead away from MIT. On their first possession Kevin Cook got the Golden Bears going with his rushing as they went 65 yards in eight plays in just 2:30. Cook ran for 31 yards on the drive, including covering the last 15 on a fourth and two play. Krafick also hit a key 30-yard pass to Tucker Schumitz as Western New England got back to within three.
After holding MIT to a three and out on the Engineers' first possession of the half, the Golden Bears came right back with another scoring drive. Using its rushing attack exclusively, Western New England covered the 48 yards in eight plays in just 1:54, with Cook scoring his second TD on a one-yard plunge to put the Golden Bears up 14-10 at the 9:29 mark.
MIT was forced to punt again on its next possession, but the Golden Bears fumbled on the return and junior Cameron Wagar (West Richland, Wash.) recovered at the MIT 45. The Engineers drove deep into Western territory, but came up short on a 3rd and 7 play at the WNE 10. Cheyne came on for the field goal, but his attempt hit the upright as the Golden Bears clung to their four-point lead.
Western New England threatened again on its next possesion, but on 3rd and 12 from the MIT 29, Santisteban and sophomore Kamil Mafoud (Staten Island, N.Y.) sacked Krafick for a four-yard loss to halt the drive. Taking over at its own 10, MIT was hit with a penalty back to the five, but Engineers were able to move the ball, with Williams hitting Inman for 16 yards and then running for 11 more to give the Engineers some breathing room. Five plays later Williams hit Inman for what proved to be the winning score as the pair completed their 53-yard play with 9:47 left.
After holding Western New England to a three and out, MIT took over on its own 23 with 8:43 left and proceeded to run out the clock with an impressive drive. The Engineers converted on three third down and one fourth down play to keep the drive alive as they consumed the final time with a 17-play, 43-yard effort.
Williams set a school record with his fifth 200-yard passing game of the season, completing 26 of his 39 attempts for the 287 yards and one score. Wallace hit the 100-yard mark on the ground for a third straight game, totaling 103 on 28 carries. Esparrago led the receiving corps, catching nine balls for 90 yards. For Western New England it was Cook that led the offense, finishing with 164 yards and two scores on 31 carries.
Senior Jake Laux (Dousman, Wis.) led the MIT defense with 16 tackles, with Wagar also reaching double figures with 10. Nathan Fleming led all players for Western New England with 17 stops on defense.
MIT will host Endicott College, which is undefeated in NEFC play, next weekend in a 5:00 p.m. kickoff in Cambridge on Saturday. Western New England will also be at home, hosting Curry College at 1:00 p.m.