CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – MIT started off the 2012 football season with a win this afternoon as the Engineers scored a late touchdown that negated a furious comeback attempt by Becker College in a 28-21 victory. The Hawks scored 21 fourth quarter points to erase a 21-0 deficit, but sophomore Alexander Chumbley (Atlanta, Ga.) scored from seven yards out with 1:06 left to lift MIT to the win.
After seeing Becker rally to tie the game with less than four minutes left, MIT answered with the game-winning drive. A six-yard run by sophomore Justin Wallace (Palatine, Ill.) and a 15-yard face mask penalty started the dive for the Engineers, who used its ground game to get down to the Becker 33. Sophomore quarterback Peter Williams (Portland, Ore.), who was in after MIT starter John Wenzel (Mandaville, La.) was out with an injury, then hit freshman Karson Ota (Katy, Texas) on a 17-yard pass that gave MIT a first down on the Becker 16. Williams then ran for nine before Chumbley finished off the dive with his TD run.
With 56 seconds left on the clock Becker nearly came back again. Junior Russell Spivak (Scarsdale, N.Y.) sacked Becker quarterback Robert Baker for an 18-yard loss on the Hawks first play, but Baker completed a pass for 31 yards to C.J. Bostic to the MIT 39. Baker's next pass was intercepted on the sideline by sophomore Cameron Wagar (West Richland, Wash.) to seal the win for MIT.
After holding Becker (1-1) on its first possession of the game, MIT (1-0) drove 71 yards in 10 plays on its first drive but missed out on putting the first points of the game on the board when freshman Chris McPherson's (Gaithersburg, Md.) 26-yard field goal try missed.
It looked as if a special teams play would led to the first score of the game when sophomore Jose Smith (Miami, Fla.) broke through the line on a Becker punt and blocked Eric Glynn's attempt, with the Engineers gaining possession at the Becker 14-yard line. But the Hawks defense held, with Melvin Booker and Christopher McCarthy making the stop on Wallace at the five. In all MIT had the ball in the red zone on its first three drives of the game, but the Becker defense held each time to keep the game scoreless.
MIT did make the most of its final drive of the first half, getting the ball at the Becker 49-yard line with 49 seconds left after a 15-yard punt return by sophomore Brad Goldsberry (Elizabeth, Colo.). After a delay of game penalty set the Engineers back, Wallace plowed his way for 29 yards to the Becker 25. Wenzel then ran for 14 more and a personal foul on the Hawks took the ball down to the six-yard line. From there Wallace finished it off, getting in the end zone with 24 seconds left to give MIT the 7-0 lead at the half. Junior Matt Merlino (Vancouver, Wash.) kept Becker off the scoreboard when he intercepted Robert Baker's pass attempt on the final play of the half.
Momentum continued to be on MIT's side in the third quarter. On the first play of its second drive of the half, Wenzel found Goldsberry over the middle and he eluded the Becker defense the rest of the way as the play turned into a 69-yard touchdown that put MIT up 14-0.
Becker came back on its next possession, picking up a key 31-yard pass from Baker to Shaun Llewellyn that took the ball down to the MIT 20. The drive stopped there, however, forcing Becker to attempt a 36-yard field goal. The Engineers thwarted that scoring chance when freshman Samuel Inman leaped up to get a hand on the ball. MIT then turned the block into points as the Engineers drove 73 yards for the score. Wenzel completed a pair of key passes to keep the drive alive, one for 14-yards to Wallace on a third-and-seven play, and the other for 25 yards to Ota on a 4th and 16 that put the ball on the five-yard line. Wallace took it in from there to put the Engineers up 21-0.
Baker's passing then ignited the comeback attempt by the Hawks. On their next drive he completed 5-of-8 passes for 53 yards to set up Kyle Gregg's one-yard TD run on the first play of the fourth quarter that capped off a 57-yard drive. After holding MIT to a three-and-out, Baker led the Hawks down the field again, completing 5-of-8 once more, this time for 60 yards, capping off the drive with a 15-yard strike to Llewellyn. The extra-point was blocked, making it 21-13 with 12:07 to play.
Wallace broke off a 32-yard rush on the first play of MIT's next drive, but the Becker defense held on a fourth-down play and Baker and the Hawk offense took over at its own 25. The time Baker led the Hawks on a lengthy drive, one that consumed 6:01 off the clock. His arm was the key again as he completed 8-of-10 on the dive for 80 yards, hitting C.J. Bostic for the TD on a six-yard toss and then finding Kyle Gregg for the two-point conversion to tie the game with 3:46 left.
Wallace picked up where he left off last season, going over the 1,000-yard mark for his career with 148 yards on the ground. Wenzel completed 12-of-21 for 163 yards as the Engineers came up with 405 yards of total offense. Goldsberry led the MIT receivers with seven catches for 103 yards and also rushed for 41 more. Junior Jake Laux (Dousman, Wis.) led the defense with 14 tackles.
Baker finished with a school-record 32 completions on 56 attempts for 382 yards and a pair of scores to lead Becker, which totaled 434 yards of total offense. Luis Sanchez caught nine of Baker's passes for 117 yards to lead all receivers. Christopher McCarthy led the Hawks defense with none stops.
MIT will open New England Football Conference play next week when it hosts Coast Guard at 12:00 p.m. Becker will play at Hartwick at 2:00 p.m.