BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. -- Sophomore quarterback Mike Stanton (Quincy, Mass.) threw for 192 yards and connected with junior wide receiver Jonathan Emond (Green Harbor, Mass.) for three touchdowns to lead Massachusetts Maritime to a 51-13 non-league college football victory over MIT Saturday afternoon at Clean Harbors Stadium.
Sophomore Stefan Gustafson (Plymouth, Mass.) started the host Buccaneers' (2-0) Homecoming contest with a flourish, as he returned the opening kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown just 11 seconds into the game for a 7-0 Massachusetts Maritime lead. Senior Jake Bickley's (Wilbraham, Mass.) 29-yard field goal midway through the opening stanza extended that margin to 10-0, and following a 74-yard interception return by junior Eddy Ramos (Sunny Isles, Fla.), sophomore Keith Caruso's (Hingham, Mass.) eight-yard scamper out of a wildcat formation gave the Buccaneers a 17-0 edge after 15 minutes of action.
Following a punt early in the second stanza, Stanton and Emond connected for their first score of the day, a 49-yard strike with 10:15 to play in the half for a 24-0 Massachusetts Maritime lead, but the visiting Engineers (1-1) answered back with just over a minute remaining in the half with a seven-play, 67-yard drive that was capped off by sophomore Ben Hessels' (Laytonsville, Md.) three-yard touchdown run for a 24-6 Buccaneer edge. A short kickoff gave the hosts the ball on their own 48-yard line, and three plays later Stanton and Emond hooked up on a 38-yard scoring strike with 13 seconds remaining before intermission to extend the Massachusetts Maritime advantage to 30-6 at the break. Another short punt in the opening minutes of the third quarter gave the hosts the ball at the MIT 33 yard line, and four plays later Stanton and Emond connected for their final touchdown of the afternoon, an eight-yard pass, for a 37-6 Buccaneer lead.
The hosts struck for their last two scores in the final 3:14 of the third stanza, as following an interception by junior Evan Sheridan (Chelmsford, Mass.), Stanton led Massachusetts Maritime on an 11-play, 71-yard drive that was capped by junior Barry Reopell's (South Dennis, Mass.) six-yard touchdown run, and on the ensuing possession senior Mike Bois (Lakeville, Mass.) returned an interception 59 yards for the final points of the day for the hosts with 1:34 remaining in the third quarter and a 51-6 Buccaneer lead. The Engineers closed out their scoring 1:24 into the final stanza when freshman Justin Wallace (Palatine, Ill.) capped a nine-play, 72-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown run.
Stanton completed 12-of-18 pass attempts in the triumph for Massachusetts Maritime, which recorded the third highest scoring game in school history and is off to its first 2-0 start since the 2000 season. Emond hauled in six receptions for 127 yards to go with his three touchdowns for the Buccaneers, who received 96 rushing yards from senior Matt White (Westwood, Mass.) as part of 388 yards of total offense for the day. Sophomore quarterback John Wenzel (Mandeville, La.) completed 14-of-31 passes for 159 yards in the setback for MIT but was intercepted four times on the day, while Wallace and freshman Benjamin Greenberg (Pleasantville, N.Y.) combined for 130 rushing yards for the Engineers.
Senior James Hutchinson (Pembroke, Mass.) and sophomore Michael Sylvia (Lincoln, Mass.) joined Ramos, Sheridan and Bois with interceptions in the victory for Massachusetts Maritime, which is one shy of the school record, but the Buccaneers amassed 155 yards in interception returns to shatter that school record, which previously stood at 85 against Framingham State on October 28, 2000. Bois recorded eight total tackles (six solo) to go with his interception return for the Buccaneers, who also received seven tackles (three for losses of seven yards) by junior Sean Carver (Summerfield, Fla.) as well as five tackles, four quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a blocked kick from senior Walter Butler (Bourne, Mass.).
Junior Aaron Fittery (Orange, Calif.) collected 10 total tackles, including nine solo stops, in the setback for MIT, which also received eight tackles from senior Peter Gilliland (Grand Ledge, Mich.) as well as five solo stops and an interception from freshman Erik Johnson (Grand Haven, Mich.).
Massachusetts Maritime heads to New London, Conn. next Saturday afternoon to take on Coast Guard in its New England Football Conference Bogan Division opener that kicks off at 1:30 p.m., while MIT hosts Curry in its New England Football Conference Boyd Division lid-lifter next Saturday afternoon in Cambridge, Mass. that kicks off at 1:00 p.m.
BUC BLOG: Gustafson's kickoff return was his second straight special teams touchdown in as many games for Massachusetts Maritime, as he returned a punt 54 yards for the winning score in last Saturday's 19-14 triumph over Western New England…Massachusetts Maritime's record for points in a game was set during the 2009 season with a 57-point outburst at Fitchburg State…Dating back to the Cranberry Bowl win over Bridgewater State to end the 2010 season, the Buccaneers have won three straight for the first time since the opening of the 2000 campaign.