Nichols Slips Past MIT, 31-28

Sept. 22, 2007

Box Score

Courtesy Nichols Sports Information

DUDLEY, Mass. - Junior running back Robert Morris ran for 193 yards, including a 90-yard run and two touchdowns to lead the Nichols football team past MIT, 31-28, on Saturday at Vendetti Field. The Bison improve to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the NEFC Boyd Division while the Engineers slip to 0-3 overall and 0-1 in divisional play.

Sophomore Anthony Pillari ran in what proved to be the winning touchdown from 20 yards out with 12:41 left to play. MIT capitalized on its very first drive of the game, marching down the field 66 yards on 10 plays. Freshman Brian Doyle connected with senior Ulzie Rea from five yards out to cap the drive and give the Engineers the early lead. Doyle paced MIT to a two touchdown lead late in the opening quarter with his run from six yards out.

Nichols quickly responded, however, finding the end zone on a seven play, 54-yard drive. Morris ran in his first touchdown of the day from six yards out. The Bison tied the score at 14 just 3:36 after their first score thanks to Morris' 90-yard rush. After Morris was finally tracked down at the MIT two yard line, freshman Chris Stewart punched it into the end zone on the next play. Freshmen Justin Nelson and Joshua Padilla connected on the two-point conversion to make it a 14-14 game with 12:12 left in the second quarter.

MIT broke a 16-minute scoring drought for both teams when sophomore DeRon Brown scampered into the end zone with a 78-yard dash and 11:30 still left in the third quarter.

Freshman Mark Capitanio got Nichols to within four, 21-17, with a 35 yard field goal midway through the quarter, before Morris capped off a 13-play, 65-yard drive for Nichols early in the fourth to make it a 24-21 game. Morris pounded his way into the end zone from one-yard out while totaling 13 yards on the drive.

Starting from their own 25-yard line off the ensuing kick-off, Bill Hassett recovered an MIT fumble on just the second play of the drive to give the ball back to the Bisons. Nelson completed a six-yard pass to Pillari to get down to the MIT 20. Pillari then broke a few tackles on the next play and marched into the end zone to give Nichols a key 31-21 lead with 12:41 left.

The Bison would end up needing Pillari's touchdown as MIT's Tyler Liechty made an 88 yard interception return just three minutes later to get the Engineers to within three, 31-28. MIT had a chance to tie the game with 1:38 left to play but sophomore Corey Garvey had his 34-yard field goal attempt blocked by freshman Jonathan Merjuste.

Pillari and Padilla led all receivers with five catches each while Nelson finished the day 13-of-22 for 135 yards. Pillari added 47 yards on the ground while Nelson contributed 42.

Doyle finished 8-of-21 for 106 yards with one touchdown pass. Junior Ben Grannan ran for 105 yards for MIT while Brown rushed for 98. Doyle also had 33 yards rushing and a score.

Defensively, Nichols was led by senior Matthew Parkinson who had 14 tackled, two sacks and an interception. Hassett added nine tackles as did senior Brendan Bonn. Liechty led MIT with 13 tackles, including two for losses, one forced fumble and one interception. Junior Kevin Foley posted ten tackles for the Engineers as well.