Mustangs Rally, Hold Off Becker for Third Straight Victory

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LEICESTER, Mass.- Mount Ida running back Chris McNally (Bourne, Mass.) rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns to power the Mustangs to a 36-25 win over Becker College in Eastern Collegiate Football Conference action Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field. The win ups the Mustangs record to 4-2 (3-1 ECFC), while the Hawks fall to 1-6 (0-4 ECFC). 

Mount Ida fell behind 12-0 to start the game, but tied the score at 18 and then came from behind after the Hawks had gone in front 25-24, closing the game with passing and rushing touchdowns by junior quarterback Jawad Yatim (Shrewsbury, Mass.). 

Yatim threw for three touchdowns and also added a rushing score while throwing for 156 yards, 128 of them to Jordan Hyman (Middletwon, Conn.), who had six receptions and a touchdown. 

Becker got on the board on their second possession of the game when Bobby Baker (Monroe, Conn.) connected with Thomas DeCanio (Staten Island, N.Y.) for a three yard touchdown pass. The extra point attempt came up short, but Becker took a 6-0 advantage.

On the Mustang's first play from scrimmage on the ensuing possesion, Becker defensive back Deven Roberts (South Bound Brook, N.J.) stepped in front of a Yatim pass attempt and took it 20 yards to pay dirt to give the Hawks a 12-0 lead. The pick was one of three on the day for the Becker defense. 

Baker would end the game with 131 yards passing and three touchdowns, with just one interception. 

The Mustangs cut the Becker lead in half when Yatim hit Hyman on a 53 yard touchdown strike with 00:53 remaining in the first quarter. Mount Ida tied the game with 4:07 remaining in the first half when McNally scampered into the end zone from 10 yards out for his first score of the day. 

Becker responded on their next possession when Baker found DeCanio for his second touchdown of the game, giving the Hawks an 18-12 advantage with 1:51 remaining in the half. 

The score remained the same until Yatim hit freshman wide receiver Matt Greenman (Portsmouth, R.I.) for a six yard touchdown pass, tying the game at 18-18 with 3:06 remaining in the third quarter.

The Mustangs took their first lead of the game when McNally powered his way into the end zone from seven yards out, making the score 24-18 in favor of Mount Ida, but Becker regained the lead on their next possession when Baker hit Dejahn Dawkins (East Hartford, Conn.) down the near sideline for a 25 yard touchdown completion. Dawkins was successful kicking his own extra point and Becker took a slim 25-24 lead with 10:32 remaining in regulation.  

On the Mustangs next drive, they went 71 yards on seven plays to take a 30-25 lead. The drive was capped off with a Yatim to Bryan Stetson (Cranston, R.I.) 10-yard shuffle pass for the go ahead touchdown. The Mustangs clinched the victory when Yatim called his own number on a five yard quarterback keeper, making the final 36-25. 

Stetson and Greenman each caught three passes from Yatim, while Dawkins led the Hawks in receiving with four catches for 69 yards. 

The Mustangs outgained their opponents 209-39 on the ground, as Romario Vincent (55 yards on 7 attempts) could not match the work of McNally. 

The Mount Ida defense was led by sophomore Dominque Spaulding (West Hartford, Conn.) with six tackles, including two tackles for a loss. Jon Proto (North Haven, Conn.) chipped in with four tackles, including two sacks for minus 17 yards, as the Mount Ida defense recorded five sacks on Becker quarterback Bobby Baker. 

The Becker defense was led by senior linebacker Melvin Booker with a game high 13 tackles. Josh Lawrence (Manhattan, N.Y.) and Michael Calafiore (Franklin, N.J.) each registered seven tackles and one and a half tackles for a loss. Defensive backs Deven Robers and Shane Balestracci (Pawcatuck, Conn.) each nabbed interceptions. 

Both teams return to the gridiron next Saturday, November 2 when they continue Eastern Collegiate Football action. Mount Ida returns home to face Norwich University at 12:00 p.m. in what will be Senior Day, as it is the final regular season home game of the year. 

Becker will host unbeaten Gallaudet University at 12:00 p.m.