WORCESTER – The sophomore running back duo of Sean McAllen (Prospect, CT) and Connor Field (Granby, CT) combined for 209 yards and five of six rushing touchdowns, and WPI scored 30 consecutive points in the second half of a 44-16 NEWMAC Football triumph over visiting United States Coast Guard Academy Saturday in Alumni Stadium.
The Engineers (7-2, 5-1) have now won five consecutive games, which is the program's longest win-streak since 1992. WPI has a chance to be two shy of the eight produced by the team 25 years ago when it heads to Norwich Saturday for a 1pm matchup. The Bears slip to 3-6 and 1-5 ahead of next week's Secretaries Cup that will be carried by ESPN3 at noon, also on Saturday.
McAllen led the way with 152 yard and three rushing touchdowns, including his 14th of the season which is fifth in the Engineer record book, and caught a 22-yard pass, as Field added 57 yards and two scores. Sophomore Jackson Brandin (Nottingham, NH) chipped in with a four-yard rushing touchdown.
Sophomore Nic Rossi (Freehold, NJ) paced the receivers with 74 yards and three catches, including a 45-yarder. Senior Blake Rice (North Branford, CT) racked up 187 yards on 13 passes and a TD as classmate Eric Cosmopulos (Seekonk, MA) connected with junior Matt Nicholson (Port Washington, NY) on a 29-yard pass. Junior Alex Domond (Cambridge, MA) was a yard shy of 100 kickoff return yards.
Defensively, senior Dereck Pacheco (Barnstable, MA) amassed nine tackles – seven solo, a fumble recovery, and a blocked kick. Juniors Blayne Merchant (Sanderson, FL) and Sam Malafronte (Abington, MA) each made seven stops as Merchant and classmate Luca Cerasani (Abington, MA) each logged four tackles for-loss. Senior Nabeel Tokatli (Worcester, MA), who sang a rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner prior to the game, totaled four tackles with a pair for-loss. Senior Lou Garcia (Springfield, MA) chipped in with an interception.
Sophomore Ryan Jones (Punxatawney, PA) netted exactly 100 yards on 10 completions and a touchdown while junior Jake Pawlina (Chatham, MA) was 3-for-3 for 43 yards, and scored a rushing touchdown, for the Bears. Senior Cam Cecchini (Tulsa, OK) ran 13 times for 70 yards and a score to headline the ground game as freshman Justin Moffatt (Odessa, FL) was the top receiver with 66 yards on three receptions.
Five of the six Coast Guard defenders accumulated all solo stops, featuring sophomore Patrick Crowley (San Marino, CA) with a game-best nine and junior Jake Behne (Clifton, VA) followed with eight. sophomore Daniel Dinges (Burke, VA) checked in with five while sophomore Mark Wicke (San Marino, CA) and sophomore R.J. Robiskie (Murrieta, CA), who accounted for the only sack, were credited with four each. Junior Tommy Jones (Centreville, MD) ended up with a pick after the pass was tipped Robiskie.
McAllen scored on a four-yard scamper with 11:51 on the scoreboard in the first. Cecchini later evened it up with a 32-yard run as 2:09 remained in the opening frame. Field plunged in for a one-yard score 3:40 into the second for the 14-7 advantage, junior Cole Austin (Flower Mound, TX) booted a 37-yard field goal as the Bears pulled within four with five seconds left in the half.
WPI's second half surge began when McAllen needed only three more seconds to punch in a three-yard run at 11:48. Field scored his second with a 10-yard rush with 3:05 remaining in the third. With 1:39 left in the stanza, the Bears smothered the ball in the end zone which resulted in a 24-yard loss and a WPI safety.
McAllen notched his 14th career touchdown early in the fourth. Branden then scored his first career touchdown with 3:27 left in the game. The ensuing drive saw Pawlina run in the Bears lone score of the second half while the PAT was blocked by Pacheco.
The Engineers rolled up 416 yards of total offense (216 passing, 200 rushing) as the Bears finished with 202 yards (143 passing, 59 rushing). In the third quarter alone, WPI amassed 194 yards with 142 coming on the ground.
Prior to the game Cosmopulos, Garcia, Pacheco, Rice and Tokatli, as well as Michael Bahnan (Worcester, MA), Tim Bill (Kingwood, NJ), Mitjon Celaj (Worcester, MA), Corey Coogan (North Kingstown, RI), Justin Coppolino (Oakham, MA), Paul DeMarco (Staten Island, NY), Aaron Hartford (Norwell, MA), Brendan Harty (Plymouth, MA) and Anthony Wilkens (Montville, CT) were honored prior to the game for their contributions to WPI football.