CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A pair of first quarter touchdowns proved to be all Salve Regina University would need as it held on for a 13-7 victory over MIT in a New England Football Conference (NEFC) Boyd Division contest on Saturday. The Seahawks, who have won their third straight game, improved to 4-4 on the year and 3-2 in conference action while the Engineers saw their ledger drop to 1-6 overall and 0-5 in the NEFC.
MIT started off the game with an onside kick which Salve Regina's Connor Kelly grabbed but a penalty on the Engineers resulted in the ball being placed on their own 35. Rob LaRiviere-Tougas dashed for nine yards; however a holding penalty brought the line of scrimmage back to the MIT 36. The ensuing snapped sailed over quarterback Jimmy Connelly's head but he smothered the ball at the Seahawks' 45. A personal foul on MIT was attached to the play, therefore giving Salve Regina a first down at the hosts' 40 yard line. Kelly grabbed a 10-yard toss from Connelly before running for another 10 to give the Seahawks first-and-goal at the six. LaRiviere-Tougas was pushed back five yards on his next rushing attempt which was followed by a pass break-up from Teddy Tzanetos. Connelly was successful on his next throw as he hooked up with Michael Dargan for the touchdown and then converted the extra point with 11:34 on the clock.
A quick three-and-out by MIT on its first drive set up what proved to be Salve Regina's final scoring drive. Starting at its own 20, LaRiviere-Tougas posted five out the next six rushes, generating 32 yards and moving the ball to the MIT 46. Connelly found Nick Piscitelli for a 12-yard catch as LaRiviere-Tougas added two more yards on the ground. Jake Laux stopped Kelly at the line of scrimmage but Connelly connected with LaRiviere-Tougas for a 32-yard touchdown score with 5:29 left in the quarter. Connelly's ensuing point after attempt was blocked.
The Seahawks' defense forced another three-and-out, but the Engineers regained the ball when Rhys Borchert recovered a fumble by Dargan on the punt. Despite starting at the Salve Regina 32, MIT's offense stalled and turned the ball over on downs.
After a six-yard reception by Chris Kopiske, Trey Scales fumbled the ball which was recovered by Travis Wilmer at the visitors' 30. Facing a third-and-11 to start the second quarter, Michael Yurkerwich hauled in a 19-yard toss from Wenzel who then scampered for four yards. The Engineers netted two yards on their next two plays, which resulted in a 22-yard field goal attempt by Matthew Peterson that sailed wide of the left goal post.
Salve Regina moved the ball up to its 46 yard-line and resulted in a punt by Greg Gosselin that bounced out of bounds at the MIT 16. On the Cardinal and Gray's third play of the drive, Maxwell Shubert intercepted a pass by MIT's Kyle Johnson at the Engineers' 45. The pick eventually set up a 30-yard field goal attempt by Connelly that was blocked.
Both sides exchanged punts as Gosselin's boot resulted in a touchback. Nate Forbes started the drive with a 16-yard catch while Marcel Sanchez added runs of 10 and 13 yards. A pass interference call moved MIT up to the Salve Regina 27. The Seahawks' defense kept the Engineers at bay, with William Regan and John Fall collaborating for a five-yard sack which was followed by a 14-yard sack from Gosselin and Carlos Santos on fourth down. On Salve Regina's final play of the half, MIT's Derek Vaughn responded with a nine-yard sack of his own.
A 21-yard kickoff return by Brian Doyle started the Engineers at their own 46 to begin the third quarter. After a pair of rushes by Sanchez that only gained a yard, Wenzel connected with Forbes for a 23-yard toss. During the play, Matthew Markese forced a fumble but Johnson recovered the ball at the Salve Regina 36. Following two short runs from Sanchez, Forbes grabbed a 15-yard feed from Wenzel. Sanchez rumbled for 18 yards on four consecutive carries which resulted in second-and-goal at the Seahawks' one-yard line. Nick Jentz pushed Wenzel back a yard on a quarterback keeper before Sanchez followed with a two-yard plunge for the endzone. Peterson's successful extra point trimmed the deficit to 13-7 at the 10:15 mark.
Salve Regina's next drive stalled at midfield as Doyle returned Gosselin's punt six yards to the MIT 26. A 12-yard pass interference penalty to go along with 39 rushing yards by Sanchez helped set up second-and-goal from the three yard line. The Seahawks surrendered only two yards on the next two plays, leading to a Peterson field goal attempt that was blocked with 38 seconds on the clock.
Salve Regina almost extended its lead in the fourth quarter, but a personal foul wiped out 34-yard touchdown catch by Dargan. Eventually forced to punt, Gosselin's effort was downed at the MIT two yard line. A three-and-out coupled with a 14-yard return by Daragan gave the Seahawks' their best field position of the half as they started at the MIT 16. LaRiviere-Tougas ran for three yards before Aaron Prindle and Patrick Jupe stopped him at the line of scrimmage after catching a pass from Connelly. LaRiviere-Tougas bolted for six yards to set up fourth-and-one, but he was pushed back three yards by Vaughn on his next rushing attempt.
The next two drives resulted in punts as MIT mounted its final drive of the night beginning at its own 31 with 2:45 left to play. Wenzel scampered for 12 yards and then followed with a 30-yard strike to Ben Hessels which was erased due to an illegal block. Ryan Mannion broke up a pass intended for Davey Hunt as Kenneth McKenna followed with a 10-yard sack. An incomplete pass resulted in fourth and long for the Engineers. The Seahawks swarmed Wenzel on the next snap as Bryant Ostrander forced a fumble that was recovered by Floyd Shaffer and sealed the win.
Sanchez registered a game-high 106 yards on 34 carries to go along with a touchdown. Wenzel was 7-of-19 for 71 yards while Forbes totaled four receptions for 54 yards. Jupe compiled 13 tackles followed by 12 from Laux. Kristopher Weaver added nine of his own while Vaughn had two and a half tackles for a loss of 13 yards and a nine-yard sack.
LaRiviere-Tougas recorded 53 yards on 18 carries in addition to two receptions for 32 yards. Kopiske and Piscitelli both had four receptions that generated 37 and 31 yards, respectively, while Dargan finished with two catches for 30 yards. Connelly went 11-of-18 for 137 yards, threw a pair of touchdowns, and was sacked once. Shane Lange tallied a game-high 15 tackles to go along with a five-yard sack and two and a half tackles for a loss of seven yards. Nick Jentz notched 14 tackles as A.J. Albert, C.J. Hein, and Regan each added seven.
Both squads continue divisional play on Saturday, October 30. MIT will travel to Nichols College while Salve Regina will host Plymouth State University.