Football defeats MerrimackBy Paul Paternoster
Even Hurricane Gloria would have been no match for the tough MIT defense, as Merrimack painfully found out Sunday. The football team shut out the visiting Warriors 15-0.
The stingy Engineer defense allowed the Warriors a mere 62 total offensive yards. Merrimack's ground game often ended up in the wrong direction, accounting for a net -17 yards.
An air of tempered enthusiasm seemed to accompany the win, MIT's first of the season. The Warriors, a first-year team, had not been expected to pose any threat to the Engineers. "We would have been disappointed if they had scored," said co-captain Nick Nowak '86.
Rich Rice '87 provided a major contribution to the defensive effort. The 5@#11" 195-pounder sacked the Warriors' quarterback five times, with most of those sacks occurring on key third and fourth down plays. Linebacker Mark Hanson '88 led the team in tackles with 13 (three unassisted, ten assisted). Co-captains Nowak and Larry Monroe G together accounted for 15 tackles.
MIT's offense was less than overwhelming. The Beaver ground game accounted for 167 yards. Chris Adams '87 was the star for MIT, cutting and dashing for 97 yards in 18 carries. Hugh Ekberg '88 drove for 34 hard-earned yards on nine carries.
Quarterback Peter Gasparini '88 had a difficult game, completing only two of 13 passes, both to Ken Corless '88, for 65 yards.
The Engineers opened the scoring in the first quarter, capitalizing on good field position. A 13-yard punt return by Shane Arnold '88 gave MIT the ball on Merrimack's 31-yard line. Ground gains by Adams, Ekberg and Chris Maeda '89 moved the ball to within the ten-yard line. An interference penalty pushed the ball ahead to the two-yard line, where Gasparini sneaked in for the touchdown.
In the second quarter, the Warriors were forced to punt deep in their own territory after a sack by Rice. The ensuing snap sailed over the punter's head, and the ball was kicked out of the end zone to give the Engineers a safety. The half ended with MIT ahead 8-0.
The Engineers put together an impressive drive in the fourth quarter, sticking to the ground and eating up the clock. Good blocking made possible some open field running by Adams and Ekberg, who moved the ball deep into Warrior territory. Ekberg drove up the middle for a touchdown to cap off the series. Gasparini kicked for the extra point to lead to the final score, 15-0.
The Warriors mounted their best offensive effort after MIT's final score. Three completed passes and a couple of draw plays brought Merrimack to MIT's 13-yard line, but that was as far as they went, as the Engineers held their ground.
The Engineers' record now stands at 1-2. They meet Assumption Saturday, Oct. 12, in Steinbrenner Stadium.