Claremont, Calif. - Graduate wide receiver Duncan Hussey set a new school record with four touchdown receptions, three in the fourth quarter, but MIT was able to hold off Pomona-Pitzer for a 28-26 win in the season opener for both teams at Merritt Field on Saturday.
Hussey finished with 11 catches for 145 yards and four touchdowns, breaking the previous school record of three touchdown receptions held by several players, including himself last year against Occidental. Hussey has been a defensive back throughout his career, and has now played four career games at wide receiver (La Verne, Occidental and CMS last year, and MIT this year) and has twice put himself in the school record books in those four games.
Before Hussey took over in the fourth quarter, MIT seemed to have control of the game, as the Engineers led 19-7 at the half and maintained that lead going into the final stanza. However, the fourth quarter started with a spectacular play from Hussey as he jumped up to tip the ball away from a would-be interceptor, and then landed and dove to catch his own deflection at the four-yard line, good for a 22-yard gain.
A Sagehen touchdown was called back for a holding penalty, and Hussey nearly had his second TD, but he was laid out by a hard hit Cameron Wagar, who was called for a personal foul. Hussey stayed down on the ground for five minutes with the wind knocked out of him, but returned to action two plays later and caught a 12-yard touchdown on the left side of the end zone to make the score 19-14 with 14:22 left.
The Pomona-Pitzer defense then held MIT to three-and-out, and the snap slipped through the hands of punter Peter Williams, who was tackled at the MIT 11-yard line by graduate defensive end Brett Lingle. On fourth down, Hussey caught a swing pass at the two-yard line and dove into the end zone as he spun to give the Sagehens their first lead of the game at 20-19 after the two-point attempt failed with 10:37 left.
MIT responded with a quick drive, going 63 yards in five plays to score on a 13-yard run from Justin Wallace to take the lead back 25-20, and after the defense held, Wallace rumbled for a 52-yard run to set up a 27-yard field goal from Tucker Cheyne, his third of the game, to make the score 28-20 with 2:20 to go.
However, the Sagehens responded one last time, as junior quarterback Peter Ianelli led his offense down the field. With a fourth-and-five at the MIT 33, he connected one last time with Hussey, who got between two MIT defenders inside the 10-yard line and dove into the end zone for his record breaking fourth touchdown of the game with 1:29 left. However, the Sagehens were flagged for two false starts on the two-point attempt, and sophomore running back Brett Harper was tackled behind the line of scrimmage trying to throw the ball into the end zone.
Brad Goldsberry fell on the ensuing onsides kick for MIT to seal the win, as the Sagehens were out of timeouts and unable to stop the clock as the Engineers kneeled three times to finish off the game.
Wallace finished with 32 carries for 156 yards and three touchdowns for MIT, while Williams threw for 288 yards (200 in the first half). Goldsberry had eight catches for 83 yards and also ran for 30 for MIT.
Senior linebacker Kyle Roskamp and Nick Sbardellati led the Sagehen defense with 14 tackles and 12 tackles, respectively. Lingle had three tackles for losses for 23 yards. Ianelli finished 20-for-30 passing for 217 yards and four touchdowns, all to Hussey.
Pomona-Pitzer returns to action on Saturday, when it travels to Menlo for a 12 p.m. contest.