Rookie Arm Lifts WNEC Past MIT, 42-25
Oct. 14, 2006
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Sophomore Jordan Capitanio rushed for four touchdowns and freshman Justin Walz threw for two more scores and 284 yards in his first collegiate start as the Golden Bears of Western New England College avenged last season's loss at Steinbrenner Stadium with a 42-25 victory over MIT.
MIT (1-5, 0-4 NEFC Boyd) enjoyed one of its best drives of the season to open Saturday's tilt as the Engineers marched 77 yards on 11 plays en route to a 6-0 lead. Sophomore Rick Mancuso delivered a perfect 12-yard strike to classmate tight end Thomas Franklin to cap the drive, although the Cardinal and Gray missed the extra point.
Western New England (3-3, 1-3) answered right back with an impressive drive of its own. Going 63 yards in 12 plays, Matt O'Brien hauled in a 16-yard pass from Walz to even the score before the PAT gave the Golden Bears the lead. The first two drives of the game were impressive for both offenses, and by the time the Engineers received the kickoff for their second possession, less than four minutes remained in the opening quarter.
After forcing a quick three-and-out, WNEC needed only two minutes to add its second touchdown. Kevin Miculcy had the biggest play of the six-play drive with a 20-yard reception, although Capitanio finished the scoring effort with a six-yard scamper up the middle to give the Golden Bears a 14-6 lead at the end of one.
MIT climbed back into the game on its first possession of the second quarter. Chris Ruggiero's three-yard catch from Mancuso put the six on the board, although Franklin powered the drive with back-to-back catches that covered 27 yards.
Capitanio capped a lengthy 17-play, 86-yard drive for the Golden Bears with a five-yard run that pushed the advantage back to eight. Walz used his legs to gain an advantage during the drive by rushing effectively four times. His longest run moved the ball 21 yards for the WNEC attack. Capitanio added his third score of the day just before halftime. Completing a 37-yard drive that began after an MIT fumble with less than a minute to play in the half, Capitanio punched it in from two yards out and Western New England took a 28-13 lead into the locker room.
Starting with possession to open the second half, it didn't take long for Western New England to stretch the lead. Walz threw for his second touchdown with a beautiful, 54-yard pass to Miculcy who sprinted ahead of the Tech defense and silenced a standing-room only crowd during MIT's Parent's Weekend. With only 2:30 off the clock in the third frame, the Golden Bears looked poised for a big second-half run and build on their 35-13 advantage.
Despite giving up the early score, the MIT attack didn't waiver and answered back with two straight touchdowns. T.C. Scotton electrified the crowd with a 25-yard touchdown run for the first score, while Mancuso connected with Ruggiero on a 52-yard pass to bring the Engineers within 10 (35-25). The big pass play was set up after Tyler Leichty recovered a fumble at the MIT 48 that was forced by defensive back David Kalk.
Although the Engineers closed the third quarter with lots of momentum, an efficient attack by the Golden Bears thwarted any thoughts of an MIT comeback. The Golden Bears answered MIT's final score with an 11-play, 70-yard drive that Capitanio capped with his fourth touchdown of the game.
Capitanio finished with just 64 yards on 23 carries despite the four scores, while Mike Bishop led the ground corps with 84 yards on 19 carries. Walz was incredible in his first collegiate start, going 28-for-39 with only one pick. Miculcy was Walz's top target with seven grabs and 112 yards.
Mancuso enjoyed his best game yet this season, throwing for 194 yards and three touchdowns. He did throw three interceptions, although two of the picks happened late in the game as the Engineers looked to rally. MIT's tight ends combined for nine catches and all three touchdown receptions. Ruggiero had five catches for 90 yards, while Franklin closed with four catches and 48 yards. MIT's thin defensive unit posted some solid numbers led by David Kalk and Phil Zakielarz, who each finished with a game-best 13 tackles. Samuel Jasinski added 12 tackles, while Corey Garvey made 10 solo stops in his first extended action on the defensive side of the ball. MIT set a single-game program record with 69 solo tackles.