SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Western New England hits the road to meet pesky MIT starting at 2:00 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 15) in a New England Football Conference (NEFC) Boyd Division game at Steinbrenner Stadium in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The Golden Bears have a 5-1 record and are unbeaten in the division with a 3-0 mark following a 37-20 victory over Curry on October 8. The Engineers fell to 1-4 and 0-3 in Boyd action after dropping a tough 30-27 decision at Plymouth State. That followed a close 31-29 defeat at UMass Dartmouth on October 1.
Western New England received strong efforts on both sides of the ball against Curry in moving its winning streak to four games.
"It was our most complete game of the season," said WNE coach Keith Emery. "We didn't have to hold our breath at the end of the game."
The Golden Bears defense has contributed to the win streak by making big plays at critical times in several games. "The difference is the versatility of a lot of our guys. We've put people in different positions and they have adapted well," Emery noted.
Emery also knows his team will be facing a MIT squad that is a lot better than its record indicates.
"We actually run similar offensive and defensive schemes," he stated. "They are a tough group who has lost some very tight games in the last couple of weeks. We have not seen a spread offense since early in the season and they are very good up front on defense. This game will be a challenge for us."
WNE senior quarterback Bryce Brown (Guilford, CT) ranks high in several conference statistics. He is second in total offense (198.0 avg.), fifth in pass efficiency (125.4 rating), eighth in passing (117.6), and 10th in rushing (80.4). He also is tied for fifth in scoring (42 points) with his seven touchdown tied for third best in the league.
Freshman running back Kevin Cook (Hamburg, NJ) is second on the team with 245 yards after gaining a season high 91 yards with his first two college touchdowns (seven and four yards) against Curry.
Sophomore linebacker Brandon Ormsby (Windsor, CT) leads the Golden Bears with 43 tackles with senior linebacker Todd Krolikowski (Bristol, CT) next at 39 stops. Krolikowski and junior defensive end James Georges (Stamford, CT) lead the league with six sacks.
Junior free safety Nicholas Silvester (Weatogue, CT) has had an interception in four straight games and is tied for second in the NEFC in that category.
Freshman Nick Fox-Edele (Springfield, MA) is third in kick scoring (35 points).
Western New England is fifth in the conference in both total defense (260.0) and pass defense (240.7). The Golden Bears also are third in rushing defense (119.3), sixth in scoring defense (17.5), and seventh in scoring offense (24.8).
MIT is seventh in the NEFC in total offense (336.6 avg.) and fifth in rushing (183.2) thanks to the strong one-two combination of sophomore quarterback John Wenzel (Mandeville, LA) and freshman back Justin Wallace (Palatine, IL).
Wenzel is fourth in both total offense (183.4 avg.) and passing (142.2), and eighth in pass efficiency (98.6 rating). Wallace is seventh in rushing with 548 yards (109.6).
The Engineers have a versatile player in freshman wide receiver Brad Goldsberry (Elizabeth, CO) who is fourth with 25 receptions (5.0 per game) and al-purpose yards (117.6). He also is fourth in punt returns (9.0) and nine in kickoff returns (18.8).
Two defensive players to watch are sophomore linebacker Jake Laux (Dousman, WI) and senior linebacker Kristopher Weaver (Sheldon, IA) who are fourth and fifth with 46 and 43 tackles, respectively.
MIT is the less penalized team in the NEFC (17 for 138 yards) and the top squad in red zone offense converting 17-of-19 opportunities (89.5%).
This will be the 23rd meeting between the team with MIT leading the series (which started in 1989) by a 13-9 margin. Western New England has won the last two meetings (27-10 last year and 59-21 in 2009) after the Engineers took the previous two contests 948-15 in 2008 and 26-21 in 2007).