MIT Football Opens with 35-13 Win at Becker

Leicester, Mass. – MIT kicked off its 2011 football season the same way it started the 2010 campaign, with a win over Becker College. The Engineers used a balanced attack that came up with 28 first-half points as they went on to take a 35-13 victory. It was the most points scored by MIT since taking a 48-15 win against Western New England in 2008. Freshman Justin Wallace (Palatine, Ill.) rushed for 170 yards and one score for MIT (1-0) in his first collegiate game. Quarterback Robert Baker led Becker (0-2) with 273 yards passing.

Both defenses had the upper hand at the start of the game, with neither team able to pick up a first down on their first two drives. MIT's defense set up the first score of the game when it held Becker on a fourth-down attempt, giving the Engineers the ball in great field position at the Becker 49-yard line. After the Engineers picked up the initial first down of the game, sophomore John Wenzel (Mandeville, La) found freshman Ben Hessels (Laytonsville, Md.) streaking down the middle of the field, connecting with him on the 37-yard scoring pass for MIT's first points of the season.

It was special teams that came up with the next big play of the game for MIT. After the Engineer defense had stopped another Becker drive, senior Peter Gilliland (Grand Ledge, Mich.) broke through the line on the ensuing punt, blocking Eric Glynn's attempt. The ball eventually rolled out of bounds at the Becker 19, giving MIT excellent field position. The Engineers took advantage four plays later when Wallace broke up the middle on fourth down for 10 yards and the score.

Midway through the second quarter Wenzel rolled left on a punt attempt and kept going, picking up 21 yards and a first down at the Hawk 38-yard line. Senior Justin Kresz (Tarpon Springs, Fla.) made an acrobatic catch over a defender for 21 more yards that set up the next MIT score, a 12-yard toss from Wenzel to freshman Alexander Chumbley (Atlanta, Ga). The Engineers struck again late in the half when they connected on a 38-yard pass play from Wenzel to Kresz to set up the final score of the half. The Wenzel-Kresz combo struck again, this time from 19 yards out to put MIT up 28-0 at the half.

MIT's defense kept the Becker offense contained in its own end of the field until late in the third quarter when a Robert Baker to Josh Jones 22-yard pass put the ball in MIT territory at the 44. The Engineer defense held when sophomore Joel Santisteban (Lawrence, N.Y.) dropped Ezequiel Torres for a two-yard loss on a fourth and two play.

With time running down in the third a 41-yard Wallace run set up the next MIT score, a four-yard sneak by Wenzel on the first play of the fourth quarter that made it 35-0.  Becker answered with its best drive of the game that was sparked by the passing of Baker. A key play came when a tipped ball was hauled in by Luis Sanchez for 25 yards to the MIT 39. The Hawks eventually had a first and goal from the five, but the MIT defense held, with senior Teddy Tzanetos (Plainview, N.Y.) stopping Kyle Gregg at the one.

Becker finally broke through on its next possession, needing just one play to reach the end zone. From his own five-yard line Baker found Corinthian Bostic open over the middle. Bostic pulled in the pass, eluded a couple of MIT defenders, and out-raced the rest of the Engineers to the end zone to complete the 95-yard play with 5:56 left in the contest.

Gregg provided Becker with some more razzle-dazzle just a couple of minutes later when he pulled in an MIT punt at his own 20, picked up a couple of key blocks and raced down the right sideline for the score.

MIT finished with 488 yards of offense, producing a balanced attack of 264 yards on the ground and 224 more through the air. Wallace finished his first collegiate game with 170 yards on 33  carries, while Wenzel completed 17 of 27 for 224 yards and the three scores. Becker totaled 355 yards of offense, with 281 of it coming through the air. Baker had 273 of the passing yards on 19-of-34 passing, with Bostic taking in four passes for 127 yards. MIT's defense held the Hawks to 74 yards on the ground, with senior Kristopher Weaver leading the Engineers with seven tackles.