Football Falls in 24-21 Home Final to WPI on Saturday

Football Falls in 24-21 Home Final to WPI on Saturday

THE BASICS:

- Score: WPI 24, MIT 21

- Records: MIT (6-2, 4-1 NEWMAC); WPI (6-2, 4-1 NEWMAC)

- Location: Cambridge, Mass. (Steinbrenner Stadium)

- The Lead: In a game of big plays, the MIT football team saw its five-game winning streak come to an end as WPI defeated the Engineers by a 24-21 final in NEWMAC play at Steinbrenner Stadium on Saturday afternoon. 

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- On the opening drive, WPI used a 46-yard quarterback draw from Blake Rice to get the ball down to the MIT 10-yard line. The MIT defense answered however, holding the visiting Engineers to a 20-yard field goal from Spencer Herrington with 11:43 left in the first.

- WPI got on the board again late in the first quarter on a drive that was kept alive by an MIT personal foul penalty that put the ball at the 18-yard line. A pair of WPI penalties backed the ball up to the 29-yard line, where Rice completed a pass to the right side to an open Nic Rossi for the 10-0 lead with 3:20 on the clock.

- MIT answered early in the second with a defensive stand that included a fourth-and-goal stop to get possession at the one. The Engineers went 99 yards in just 1:35, led by a 60-yard touchdown reception from senior Jacob Del Priore (Center Valley, Pa.) as the wideout caught the ball near midfield and outran the WPI defense for the score.

- In the final seconds of the first half, MIT's Udgam Goyal (Frisco, Texas) was picked off near midfield by Nick Ostrowski, who returned the ball 55 yards as time expired for the 17-7 halftime score in favor of the visitors.

- MIT pulled to within three with 4:51 remaining in the third quarter as junior Eddy Garcia-Montes (Miami, Fla.) pulled down a 22-yard TD pass from Goyal and scooted just inside the pylon for his fifth touchdown reception of the season.

- After Herrington missed a 32-yard field goal early in the fourth for WPI, the Engineers forced an MIT turnover as Sam Malafronte picked off Goyal and returned it past midfield. After a block in the back penalty by WPI pushed the ball back to its own 22-yard line, Sean McAllen scored from 75 yards out with 1:48 remaining in the fourth as he rushed up the far sideline to make it 24-14.

- MIT wasn't done though as the Engineers took the ball on the ensuing drive and went 71 yards in just 1:21, capped off by a one-yard touchdown run up the middle by sophomore John Robertson (Brentwood, Tenn.). Needing to get the ball back, MIT attempted an onside kick that was recovered by WPI at the 47-yard line to seal the win.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Goyal finished the game 22-for-42 for 331 yards and two touchdowns, marking his season high for yards and his fourth multi-touchdown game of the year. Garcia-Montes led the team with six receptions, while Booker Schelhaas (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) was the yardage leader with five catches for 71 yards. Robertson ended the game with 84 yards on the ground and one touchdown, while Keithen Shepard (Vancouver, Wash.) posted 149 all-purpose yards.

- For WPI, McAllen ended the game with 185 yards and a touchdown on 27 rushing attempts, along with a 171-yard effort by Rice as he completed 12-of-23 pass attempts. Corey Coogan was the top receiver with five catches for 53 yards.

- Defensively, seniors Matt Nicolai (Northport, N.Y.) and Mitch Turley (Westfield, Ind.) each finished with 10 tackles to lead MIT, while Ostrowski was the leading tackler for WPI with an 11-tackle effort.

- This is the second straight meeting between the two teams in Cambridge that was decided by three points as WPI took a 37-34 overtime win in 2016.

- The Engineers are ranked No. 9 in this week's Grinold Chapter New England Division III Coaches Poll.

UP NEXT:

- MIT returns home on Saturday, November 4th as the Engineers host Norwich University for Senior Day. That game will now by a 5:30 p.m. start at Steinbrenner Stadium as it was pushed back due to MIT hosting the NEWMAC Women's Soccer Championship earlier in the day.

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