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Prather a surprising success at linebacker

By Michael J. Garrison

and Harold A. Stern

And just in case you missed one or two of the games in last year's exciting season ...

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Week 1: MIT 29, Stonehill 7

Shane LaHousse '90 and George Carlin were the stories of this game. The Beavers opened their NCAA careers amid double edged publicity which overshadowed even this year's stories about SMU returning from the Death Penalty.

LaHousse ran for 260 yards, four touchdowns, the ECAC player of the week award, the Division II-III Gold Helmet Award (presented to the most outstanding performer in all of Divisions II and III), and the top of the weekly NCAA rushing honor role -- for all of Division I, II, and III. Eventual Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders only rushed for 157. And all George Carlin did was recite a few lines from a routine which was a decade old. But he got all the press.

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Week 2: Merrimack 12, MIT 7

MIT's only Friday night game was a serious mistake. The Beavers were flat and listless, probably because the "Rocket Backfield" of aero-astro majors all had problem sets due that day. Dropped passes, trick plays that failed, and offensive collapses in key situations made the difference in the Beavers' 12-7 defeat.

LaHousse suffered a mild concussion on the game's opening drive; although he did return to action, he had trouble recognizing his teammates and remembering the plays. The Warrior defensive front took control of the line of scrimmage, and the Beaver offensive line was unable to open up holes for the ballcarriers or protect Day when he dropped back to pass.

On the plus side for MIT, the Beaver defense, a question mark before the season started, put in its second consecutive solid performance and kept MIT close throughout the game. Linebacker Darcy Prather '91 (19 tackles, 1/2 sack) and defensive linemen Rodrigo Rubiano '92 (17 tackles, 1/2 sack) and Shin Hirose '90 wreaked havoc with the Warrior offense, coming up with big plays to shut down several scoring opportunities.

Week 3: MIT 21, Assumption 14

Despite the typically outstanding numbers generated by LaHousse, this 21-14 win over the Assumption College Greyhounds was without a doubt a victory for the defense. Whenever it looked like the MIT offense was on a roll, and the Beavers would turn the game into a rout, a turnover or some other error would let Assumption back in the game.

Twice in the fourth quarter, as MIT was fighting to protect a one touchdown lead, they turned the ball over to the Greyhounds deep in Beaver territory. But each time defensive backs Art Wang '91 and Brian Teeple '91 came up with huge interceptions inside the MIT 10-yard line to shut Assumption down.

Outstanding play from the Beaver defensive front was another key to victory. MIT controlled the line of scrimmage, as Lawrence Donohue '90 (11 tackles, 21/2 sacks), Monty Frazier '92 (8 tackles, 1/2 sack), and Mike Ahrens '91 (10 tackles) shut down the Assumption running game to the tune of 2.2 yards average per rush.

The MIT secondary, shored up by the return of co-captains Rick Buellesbach '90 and Mark Naugle '90, held up when the game was on the line.

Week 4: MIT 14, Stonehill 13

The Stonehill College Chieftains had a month to simmer over their opening day embarrassment. They came out fighting, rolling to a 13-0 lead after three quarters. But the MIT team never quit, and after tight end Joe Jones '89 brought the Beavers to within one with a touchdown reception in the game's final minute, quarterback Tim Day '89 and LaHousse combined for a two-point conversion with 33 seconds left in the game for a dramatic one-point victory, 14-13. Jones' catch was his only one of the season.

The Beaver defense was well acquainted with quarterback Andy Morency and wide receivers Dan Smith and Nick McCarthy. MIT applied more pressure and covered the receivers better to prevent the short completions that were the backbone of the Chieftain offense.

The result was that Stonehill had most of their success on the ground, using a punishing running game that had not been in evidence four weeks ago. MIT, in turn, had to look to the air, led by wide receiver Anthony Lapes '90. The Chieftains actually outgained the Beavers rushing, 223-129, and MIT out-passed Stonehill, 147-122. Lapes, named the player of the game, finished the game with six receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown.

Week 5: MIT 21, Providence 17

The Beavers must have felt sorry for the 200 loyal fans who showed up for MIT's final home game of the season. After scoring on two quick strikes in the game's first eight minutes and rolling to a 21-7 lead at the half, they must have been concerned that the game against winless Providence College was not exciting enough.

To make things more interesting, the Beavers turned the ball over to Providence three times inside the MIT 40-yard line. The problem was that they made things too interesting, and it took a questionable roughing-the-kicker penalty in the game's final minute to preserve the 21-17 victory over the Friars.

The Beaver offense started the game out strongly, demonstrating the improved passing attack unveiled last week against Stonehill College. Lapes, coming off MIT's second-best performance ever by a wide receiver, burned the Friars for 100 yards on five receptions. For the second week in a row, quarterback Day outpassed the opposition. Day connected with Lapes for two touchdown passes, including a 50-yard strike on MIT's third play of the game.

Week 6: Assumption 17, MIT 14

After winning some games they probably deserved to lose, a team is supposed to lose a game they deserved to win. Unfortunately, while playing Saturday at the Assumption Greyhounds' home field in Worcester, the MIT football team only managed to lose a game which neither team deserved to win.

There were some standout performances, notably by Day, Lapes, Buellesbach, and Assumption running backs Terry Biafore and Rich Dandini (whose 102 yards led the field and moved him to 2158 career).

It also featured a much improved MIT passing attack which gained 114 yards, seven more than they rushed for. This was the third game in a row in which Day out-passed the opposing quarterback.

But overall, neither team looked impressive. MIT's offense couldn't move the ball for most of the game and never did score any points. Most of the game was played on MIT's side of the field -- there was no play from scrimmage by either team in Assumption's territory during the entire third quarter.

Week 7: Bentley 41, MIT 35

In the final ten minutes of the season, MIT gave the crowd -- and perhaps more importantly themselves -- something to remember. The Beavers scored 20 points in those final ten minutes, while standing tall and shutting down the Falcons. In the end, they came up short, but although the clock defeated MIT, Bentley surely didn't.

Lapes, who started off the season slowly with just four receptions for 78 yards and no touchdowns in the first three games of the season, caught fire at Stonehill and never cooled off; he finished the season with 27 receptions for 545 yards and 6 touchdowns in the Beavers' final four games.

The last game was by far his masterpiece. Despite Bentley's knowledge that the Beavers had to put the ball in the air in order mount a comeback, and their realization that Lapes was Day's only target, the Falcons just couldn't stop him, even with the double coverage they put on him virtually every play.

When time ran out on Lapes, he had three touchdowns among his 11 receptions for 225 yards, including two scores in the fourth quarter, and broke every MIT single game, season, and career receiving mark.

LaHousse (133 yards rushing, 1 of 1 for 42 yards passing) and Garret Moose '91 (45 yards) filled out the MIT backfield. LaHousse successfully defended his conference rushing lead against the second-place Kevin McMahon of Bentley. LaHousse, who entered the game averaging just three yards per game more than McMahon, outgained McMahon 133 yards to 130, finishing the season with a 120.7 average per game.