Football Drops 35-29 Double-Overtime Final at Merchant Marine

Football Drops 35-29 Double-Overtime Final at Merchant Marine

THE BASICS:

- Score: Merchant Marine 35, MIT 29 (2OT)

- Records: MIT (2-2, 1-1 NEWMAC); Merchant Marine (3-1, 2-0 NEWMAC) 

- Location: Kings Point, N.Y. (Brooks Stadium)

- The Lead: On Saturday afternoon, the MIT football team had its two-game winning streak snapped as the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy defeated the Engineers by a 35-29 final in double overtime at Brooks Stadium.

THE WAY IT HAPPENED:

- MIT got on the board first as senior Chris Mauck (Wellington, Fla.) found junior Keithen Shepard (Vancouver, Wash.) for a diving touchdown in the back corner of the end zone for the 7-0 lead. The play was set up earlier in the drive as Mauck took advantage of an offsides penalty on third down by USMMA and connected with sophomore Jack Montinaro (Riverside, Conn.) across the middle to the 11-yard line.

- The Mariners answered with 6:40 left in the first as USMMA turned an MIT fumble into a touchdown. After Sam Kovaleski recovered the fumble, Krystian Abbott scored on a four-yard quarterback keeper to even the score at 7-7. The Engineers turned the ball over on the ensuing possession as well, but the MIT defense stepped up and forced a quick punt by the Mariners.

- Early in the second, MIT forced USMMA fumbles on back-to-back plays as the Mariners eventually had to punt. On the ensuing possession, Mauck connected with Shepard for a 48-yard touchdown strike on a third-and-15 play to put the Engineers back in front at 14-7.

- The Mariners ended the half with 10 unanswered points for the 17-14 lead at the break, started by a 39-yard field goal from Gavin Gartner with 3:42 left in the second quarter. Backup quarterback Ian Blankenship came into the game on the final drive of the half for USMMA and found Joe Vitelli up the far sideline for his first career touchdown pass, which was a 21-yard strike that gave the hosts the 17-14 halftime lead.

- Early in the third quarter, Shepard got the Engineers into the red zone with a 32-yard reception that gave MIT a first-and-goal situation at the five-yard line. Mauck eventually scored on a keeper up the middle on fourth down as the Engineers regained the 21-17 lead. In the closing minutes of the third, USMMA inched within 21-20 as Gartner nailed a 22-yard field goal.

- The Mariners continued the back-and-forth battle as Eric Davidson picked off Mauck and returned the ball to the nine-yard line. On second-and-goal, Tyler Reihs scored from four yards out to put USMMA in front at 26-21. The two-point conversion for the Mariners was unsuccessful on a rushing attempt by Alec Kiernan.

- MIT sophomore Dennis Gastel (Lincoln, R.I.) pulled down a great touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone, followed by a Shepard reception on the two-point conversion attempt as the Engineers again went in front at 29-26.

- The game headed to overtime on a Gartner field goal from 25 yards out with 49 seconds left as the game was knotted up at 29-29.

- In the first overtime, an MIT field goal from 35 yards out went wide to the left, followed by a blocked USMMA field goal attempt as senior Ben Bennington (Harrisonburg, Va.) blocked Gartner's 20-yard kick. 

- In the second overtime, Matt Strong took the pitch to the right and went up and over for the go-ahead score. The extra point was no good though, giving the hosts a 35-29 edge. MIT was unsuccessful on its next possession though as the Mariners came away with the NEWMAC victory.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Robertson led MIT on the ground with 94 yards on 29 rushes, while Shepard had seven receptions for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Mauck completed 15-of-33 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns.

- For the Mariners, eight different players combined for a total of 242 rushing yards as James Early led the way with 61 yards.

- Defensively, junior Sam Gantman (Mendota Heights, Minn.) led MIT with 13 tackles, including two tackles for loss. Senior Sam Cantrell (Seattle, Wash.) and sophomore Will Exson (Charlotte, N.C.) also both posted 10-tackle efforts. For the Mariners, Colton Ray finished with a team-leading 10 tackles that included three sacks for a loss of 22 yards and one quarterback hurry.

UP NEXT:

- MIT returns home on Saturday, October 12th as the Engineers host Maine Maritime Academy for a Noon start at Steinbrenner Stadium.

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