MIDDLETOWN, R.I. – MIT scored first, but Salve Regina University came back with 29 straight points as it downed the Engineers 36-13 in New England Football Conference action this afternoon. MIT (1-6, 0-5) could not capitalize on its opening score as Salve Regina (5-3, 3-2) held the Engineers to just 187 yards of offense. Sophomore quarterback John Wenzel (Mandeville, La.) threw for one score and ran for another for MIT.
Things got off to a good start for MIT after the Engineers stared the first drive of the game on its own 20 after the opening kickoff went into the end zone for a touchback. Wenzel got things started with a 15-yard run, and four plays later picked up another first down and moved the ball into Salve Regina territory with a key 26-yard scamper on a fourth and 12. Freshman Justin Wallace (Palatine, Ill.), who led all rushers with 80 yards, then too over on the drive, carrying the ball on eight straight plays for a total of 25 yards to place the ball on the SRU 16. On a third and 10 play Wenzel dropped back and found freshman Brad Goldsberry (Elizabeth, Colo.) open for the 16-yard score. The extra point was blocked, leaving the Engineers with the early 6-0 advantage.
Salve Regina wasted little time on its first possession. Getting a 26-yard return on the kickoff, the Seahawks six straight plays for 37 yards down to the MIT 17. The drive stalled there, with freshman Anthony Souffrant (North Grafton, Mass.) breaking up a pass on a third and five play. The Seahawks did get points on the board, getting a 34-yard field goal from Mark Moore that made it 6-3.
It stayed that way until three minutes into the second quarter when Moore hit again, this time from 31 yards away to tie the game. After stopping MIT on its next possession, Salve Regina found the end zone on its next possession, getting a 23-yard TD pass from Bradley Skeffington to Dan Buonocore with 6:50 left in the half.
With 5:02 left in the half, freshman Cameron Wagar (West Richland, Wash.) intercepted Skeffington on the Seahawks first play of a drive. But the MIT offense could not take advantage, turning the ball back over to Salve Regina when the Engineers failed to pick up the first down on a fourth and one play. Salve Regina then took the ball 63 yards in seven plays, with Skeffington taking it in from seven yards out with 1:02 left in the half to make it 20-6.
Salve Regina scored the first possessions of the third and fourth quarters to put the game out of MIT's reach. Skeffington tossed a 20-yard scoring pass to Alexander Lord in the third and Moore booted his third field goal of the day in the fourth to put the Seahawks up 29-6.
MIT got back into the end zone a little more than eight minutes into the final quarter when the Engineers stopped the Seahawks on fourth down near midfield and then drove the ball 48 yards in eight plays. Wenzel capped off the drive with a four-yard run with 6:47 left that made it 29-13
Salve Regina iced the game on its next possession, getting a one-yard run from Alex Mendez with 3:53 left for the final points of the contest.
MIT and Salve Regina were evenly matched in time of possession (29:35-30:25) and total plays (65-67), but the Seahawks held a 285-111 advantage in rushing and 126-76 edge in passing yards. Salve Regina had three backs who ran for at least 67 yards, led by Rob LaRiviere-Tougas' 78 yards. Wagar and sophomore Jake Laux (Dousman, Wis.) led the MIT defense with 12 tackles each.
MIT will return home for its next game, hosting Nichols College at 5:00 p.m. at Steinbrenner Stadium on Oct. 29.