MIT shocks Salve Regina
|Rhys Borchert had a key
interception in MIT territory to preserve a 7-6 lead after Salve
Regina had gotten good field position.
MIT athletics photo by Tom Gearty
MIT wrapped up the home portion of the 2012 football schedule and sent off its senior class in style on Friday evening as the Engineers scored with 35 seconds left to shock previously undefeated Salve Regina 20-19.
Salve Regina had won 13 consecutive game and was ranked in the AFCA Top 25, although not by D3football.com. It had been the longest active winning streak in Division III football. The Seahawks missed a PAT on their first touchdown and were chasing a point all night, then failed on a two-point conversion with 1:20 left in the game.
Sophomore Brad Goldsberry set up the winning score with a 61-yard kickoff return and sophomore Justin Wallace gave MIT the win with a 5-yard run. MIT improved to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in the New England Football Conference. Salve Regina fell to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the conference.
In a game that was played in a steady drizzle it was the last five minutes that decided it. Trailing 13-7, MIT started a drive at its own 42 after a Salve punt with 9:55 left in the game. The Engineers drove down to the SRU 14 where they faced a fourth and two. MIT went for it, with sophomore quarterback Pete Williams running for 4 yards to give MIT a first and goal at the 10. On the next play he floated a pass out to the left to freshman Samuel Inman, who was able to squeeze down the sideline and into the end zone to put MIT up, 14-13, with 5:05 left.
Salve Regina came right back on its next possession thanks to the running of senior Connor Kelley. After a 21-yard pass play from sophomore Steven Wilken to sophomore Matthew Traynor that gave the Seahawks a first down on the MIT 45, Kelley carried the ball on six consecutive plays, with the last a 2-yard plunge into the end zone with 1:20 left. Salve Regina went for the two-point conversion, but Kelly was stopped just short and the score remained 19-14 in the Seahawks' favor.
Goldsberry then took the ensuing kickoff, faked a handoff, and broke up the middle for 61 yards to the SRU 31. A delay of game penalty set MIT back 5 yards, but Williams hit freshman Karson Ota for 19 yards down to the SRU 19. The Engineers faced a fourth-and-1 at the SRU 10, but Williams got around the right corner and out of bounds for a 5-yard gain and the first down. On the next play Wallace burst up the middle for the score, putting the Engineers back on top.
Salve Regina had one last chance with 29 seconds left, but on their second play Wilken's pass was tipped and junior Jake Laux corralled the ball for the interception that wrapped up the win.
MIT had a chance to take the lead early in the game, but freshman Chris McPherson missed wide left on a 28-yard field goal attempt. Taking over at its own 20, Salve Regina put together an impressive 15-play, 80-yard drive that saw Wilken find Traynor open for a 15-yard scoring play. The extra point attempt hit the upright, however, leaving the Seahawks with a 6-0 lead at the 2:02 mark of the first.
MIT answered on its next drive, as Wallace ran for 51 yards on six carries to bring the Engineers down to the SRU 18. The drive appeared stalled when MIT faced a fourth-and-6 on the SRU 7, but junior quarterback John Wenzel hit Inman with a TD pass and McPherson's extra point gave MIT a 7-6 lead with 12:52 left in the half.
That is where it stayed until Salve Regina opened the second half with a 60-yard kick return by sophomore Phil Terio that set the Seahawks up on the MIT 25-yard line. Five plays later Kelly took it in from the 1 on a fourth-and-goal to put Salve back on top 13-7.
It looked as if MIT would take the lead back early in the fourth quarter, but after Inman caught a 33-yard pass from Williams he was stripped of the ball and Salve Regina recovered in the end zone for a touchback. The MIT defense held, however, setting up the Williams to Inman scoring play that started the final frenzy that saw the teams score 19 points in the final 5:05.
MIT outgained Salve Regina, 322 yards to 289 in total offense, with Wallace pacing the Engineer ground game with 108 yards. Kelly had an outstanding game for Salve Regina, leading all rushers with 130 yards and a pair of scores. Williams, who came in for an injured Wenzel in the second half, was 7-of-9 passing for 87 yards and a score. Wilken had a tough night passing, completing just seven of 22 passes for 80 yards and throwing a pair of interceptions.
Laux led the MIT defense with 12 tackles and the interception, while junior Joshua Burnett led all defenders with 14 tackles for Salve Regina.
MIT will play next Saturday at Nichols, taking on the Bison in a NEFC game at 2:30 p.m. Salve Regina will host Plymouth State at noon.