MILTON, Mass. – Sophomore Zach Grasis (East Brookfield, Mass.) rushed for a game-high 111 yards and two touchdowns, leading visiting WPI to a 17-7 season-opening win at Curry in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
WPI's first touchdown came early in the first quarter after forcing Curry (0-1) to punt on its first possession. The Engineers (1-0) drove the ball 73 yards downfield on nine plays, capped off with a one- yard touchdown push by Grasis. With the extra point, WPI held a 7-0 lead with 7:19 remaining in the first quarter.
After another Colonels punt, sophomore Jacob Grills (East Lyme, Conn.) led the Engineers 36 yards on eight plays to the Curry 11. On the next play, senior Rashad Sims (Beverly, Mass.) stopped the drive with an interception on the Colonels' own two-yard line. After a three-and-out deep in their own territory, the Colonels were forced to punt again, this time to their own 38. The Curry defense stopped WPI in the red zone, limiting the Engineers to a 35-yard field goal to cap off the first half scoring, and give Engineers a 10-0 lead heading into intermission.
In a scoreless third period, the Colonels recorded a pair of interceptions to halt two WPI drives. The first interception came with the Engineers on the Curry 5 with 5:27 remaining in the quarter when junior Jeff Janoski (Warren, N.J.) snagged the ball in the end zone, falling out of bounds for a touchback. After another Curry three-and-out, Sims recorded his second interception of the game with 3:43 left in the third period on the Curry 35.
Early in the fourth, WPI senior Hussein Yatim (Shrewsbury, Mass.) returned a fumble 40 yards to set up the Engineers offense on the Curry 9 with 9:15 remaining in regulation. WPI's offense capitalized on the field position, using all four downs to push into the end zone and take a 17-0 lead. Grasis carried the ball three times on the drive, capped off with a four-yard rushing touchdown.
The Colonels scored on their next possession with a nine-play, 66-yard drive capped off with an eight-yard touchdown pass from junior Kevin Fruwirth (Agawam, Mass.) to classmate Skubie Mageza (Revere, Mass.) with 5:49 left on the clock. Curry junior Rob Deeb (Winthrop, Mass.) would recover a fumble with just over two minutes remaining in regulation, but the Colonels were unable to mount a scoring drive, turning the ball over on downs.
Curry held slight edges in total offense (322-274) and first downs (16-15), while the Engineers led in possession time (32:58-27:02).
Grills was 6-for-10 for 42 yards and two interceptions, while junior John Antonopoulos (Cambridge, Mass.) completed 6-of-17 for 104 yards and one interception. Grasis led all rushers with 111 yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns. Fruwirth was 30-for-51 for a game-high 225 yards and one touchdown. Mageza reeled in 12 receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown. Fruwirth also led the Colonels on the ground with 42 rushing yards on six attempts.
On defense, senior Shaine Grogan (Dalton, Mass.) led WPI with eight solo tackles, including one tackle for loss (-1 yard). The Curry defense was led by senior Jason Genece (Waltham, Mass.), who amassed a game-high 11 total tackles (8 solo), including 2.5 tackles for loss (-14 yards) and one sack (-9 yards).
Both teams return to action on September 8, with the Engineers hosting cross-town rival Worcester State at 1:00 p.m., and the Colonels traveling to New England Football Conference (NEFC) foe Fitchburg State for a 1:30 p.m. contest.