Worcester, MA --- WPI forced five turnovers, returning back two interceptions for touchdowns and held Becker to 100 yards of total offense as the Engineers blanked the visiting Hawks 55-0 in non-conference football action on Saturday evening.
For the Crimson and Gray, Pat McAuley (Hingham, MA) amassed 203 yards of offense and accounted for a trio of touchdowns. The three-headed attack of Mitch McClune (Pembroke, MA), Ernie Mello (Wilmington, MA) and Matt Cyr (Dracut, MA) also rushed 18 times for 128 yards. Mello would finish with a pair of scores while Cyr added one of his own.
The WPI defense was sparked by a pair of 44-yard interception returns by John Perron (Worcester, MA) and Kevin White (Worcester, MA). Christopher O'Connor (Bellerose, NY) recorded a team-best seven tackles (six solo) as he and fellow teammate Nick Chambers (Braintree, MA) also recovered fumbles.
Mello shined on special teams as he blocked a punt and came up with a fumble recovery. Cody Beckel (Jupiter, FL) booted two field goals and added five extra points.
Paul Casimir (Miami, FL) was an offensive standout for the Hawks (0-3) as he rushed for 47 yards on 15 carries. Defensively, Jake Bateman (New Bedford, MA) and Andrew Reid (E. Orange, NJ) made eight stops apiece for Becker.
The Engineers offense was efficient as the unit finished the evening with 407 yards with 283 on the ground. WPI did not the ball over on the night.
The Crimson and Gray (2-1) went up 17-0 in the first quarter as they were highlighted by Trevor Dunne's (Cedar Knolls, NJ) eight-yard touchdown reception and Mello's six-yard plunge.
WPI built up the lead with a pair of scores and Beckel's second field goal for the 33-0 edge at the intermission. McAuley helped the Engineers score twice in the second quarter as he scampered for a 20-yard touchdown and flicked a 56-yard pass to Mello.
It was the Engineer defense that took control of the contest in the second half as Perron and White scored their interception returns in the third and fourth quarters, respectively. WPI scored nine straight points midway through the fourth and 51 seconds apart when the defense notched a team safety and Cyr tacked on his touchdown on a 41-yard breakaway.
Both squads begin conference play next Saturday. WPI ventures to Rensselaer to play for the Transit Trophy. Kickoff is at 2pm in the 104th meeting between the Liberty League rivals. Becker entertains Anna Maria at 5pm in its NECC opener. The contest will be the first ever between the Hawks and the AMCATS.