Football Falls at Western New England, 36-14

Junior Jake Laux

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – MIT generated over 400 yards of offense, but could only come up with a pair of touchdowns as the Engineers fell at Western New England by a 36-14 score. The Golden Bears out gained MIT by just 28 yards, but its defense came up with four interceptions and stopped four other drives on fourth down plays as they came away with the win. Sophomore quarterback Peter Williams (Portland, Ore.) ran for 107 yards and threw for 217 more for the Engineers, who had their two-game win streak snapped.

MIT surprised Western New England with the first score of the game. Facing fourth and one on its own 23, Williams tucked it away and went for the first down. He picked up the first down and much more as he kept going all the way to the WNE end zone for the 77-yard score. The Golden Bears responded on their next drive, however, driving 39 yards in eight plays to get on the board with a 29-yard field goal by Nick Fox-Edele with 7:07 left in the first.

Both teams had their next drives falter, with MIT (3-3, 2-3 NEFC) getting stopped on fourth and one and Western New England (4-3, 2-2 NEFC) missing on a 38-yard field goal attempt. Williams then threw interceptions on each of the next two MIT possessions, and the second proved costly. After tossing a 25-yard strike to sophomore Brad Goldsberry (Elizabeth, Colo.) that took the ball deep into WNE territory, Williams was intercepted on the next play by Philip Tsopanides who returned it to the WNE 25. From there the Golden Bears drove for the go-ahead score, driving the 75 yards in 12 plays to grab the lead on a two-yard run by Kevin Cook.

MIT could only come up with 22 yards of offense the rest of the half, while Western New England picked up a key 31-yard completion from John Krafick to Dan LaNoir that led to a three-yard TD run by Tucker Schmuitz with 1:02 left to make it 16-7 at the half.

In the third quarter MIT drove into Western New England territory three times only to see each drive halted with no points. The first was stopped on another interception, with the other two getting stopped on fourth down plays, including a fourth and four on the WNE 17. On the ensuing Golden Bear drive Krafick hit Rob Cannata with a 50-yard pass that set up a one-yard plunge by Krafick on the next play to make it 22-7 with 2:20 left in the third.  

Western New England added a five-yard TD toss from Krafick to Mike Uszakiewicz on its first drive of the fourth quarter as the Golden Bears extended their lead to 29-7 with 10:13 left. With five and a half minutes left in the game Western New England's Kevin Degnan snared another Williams pass for the fourth pick of the day for the Golden Bears. WNE turned the miscue into points as Krafick tossed his second TD pass of the day, this one six yards to Andrew Walz with 1:56 left to seal the win for WNE.

A 26-yard return by Goldsberry on the ensuing kickoff set up the final Engineer score of the day.  Williams hit back-to-back tosses of 36 and 32 yards to freshman Samuel Inman (Stillwell, Okla.), with the second resulting in the score with 1:17 left for the final points of the day.

Goldsberry wound up with 51 yards rushing, 88 receiving and 99 in returns for 238 all-purpose yards, the second time this season he has gone over the 200-yard mark. Inman caught six passes for a team-high 107 yards and one score. Cook finished with 116 yards on the ground for Western New England, with Krafick completing 20 of his 24 attempts for 186 yards and two scores. On defense junior Jake Laux (Dousman, Wis.) had an outstanding game for the Engineers, finishing with 19 stops, 2.5 of which were for a loss. Junior Matt Merlino (Vancouver, Wash.) had 17 tackles and pair of passes broken up, with sophomore Cameron Wagar (West Richland, Wash.) adding 14 tackles for MIT.

MIT will return home for its final home game of the season with its second Friday night game of the season next week, hosting the top team in the NEFC, Salve Regina, at 7:00 p.m. on October 19. Western New England will play at Plymouth State on October 20 at 1:00 p.m.