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MIT crushes Stonehill in season opener

By Shawn Mastrian

It was expected before last Saturday's football game that the Beavers would have a pretty good team this year. This prediction came true, as MIT won. Stonehill College, their opponent, figured to test them in what was expected to be a close game. Well, one out of two isn't bad.

The Beavers demonstrated that they will definitely be a force in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference this year as they demolished the Chieftains, 45-13, in their season's opener at Steinbrenner Stadium. MIT jumped out to a 21-0 lead after one quarter and 38-0 after three en route to its most impressive win in years.

Stonehill won the opening coin toss -- the only thing they did right all day -- and elected to receive the kickoff. This afforded the Beaver defense an opportunity to show that the bend-but-not-break defense of last year had evolved into a don't-even-bend defense. After Stonehill's Frank Strachan ripped off a ten-yard gain on the first play, the MIT defense stiffened and forced a Chieftain punt just three plays later.

Now it became the offense's turn to shine. Punishing runs by Garret Moose '91 pushed the ball into Stonehill territory and gave the Beavers two first downs. Quarterback Tim Day '89 then hooked up with his favorite target of a year ago, Tony Lapes '90, on a 35-yard pass which set up a first-and-goal situation on the four. Tailback Shane LaHousse '90 then scored easily on a sweep left in a hole my elderly grandmother could have run through. The extra point made it 7-0.

The Chieftains then ran off an ill-fated five-play drive which moved them only 19 yards downfield. The key defensive play came as tackle Mike Ahrens '90 stuffed Strachan on a third-and-one play for no gain, forcing a punt. This play acted to fire-up the special teams as they blocked the punt and gave the Beavers the ball on the Stonehill 36. Unfortunately, the offense was unable to capitalize as they had to punt three plays later.

Defensive momentum swelled as the Chieftains pulled off a not-so impressive three-play, minus one yard, drive. Ahrens once again made the key play as he sacked the beleagured Chieftain quarterback on a third-and-two situation. The punt gave MIT the ball on the Stonehill 35.

The offense would not stall twice in a row from this close, however. Lapes caught a pass on the left sideline for a fourteen-yard gain, Moose ran through the middle for three, and Lapes caught another pass over the right side for thirteen more. Just that quickly, it was first down and goal from the five. Day this time took the glory as he kept the ball, ran over a Chieftain defender, and waltzed into the endzone.

Once again, the Stonehill offense stalled on three plays. The punter, obviously tired from his rigorous workout on the day, shanked a mighty seventeen-yard punt, which gave MIT the ball at it's own 39. The offense at this time was revved up and needed only one play to score. Lapes caught a sideline pass in stride, shook off a tackle, and never looked back as he rambled 61 yards for the touchdown. The Beavers were firmly in control.

The first quarter ended as Rick Buellesbach '90 struck Strachan for a six-yard loss. The second quarter proved no kinder as Strachan fumbled on the first play, giving MIT the ball once again in Chieftain territory. LaHousse then ran four of the next five plays for MIT, gaining 32 yards, and setting up yet another first and goal situation for the Beavers. This time, a clipping penalty forced them back to the twenty, but this didn't really matter as on third down Day rolled to his left and found Lapes, who squirmed into the endzone after being hit, making it 28-0, MIT.

Stonehill then became desperate. Shin Hirose '90 stuffed the weary Strachan for no gain on a third-and-short situation, but as the Chieftains were so far behind, they were forced to go for it. They succeeded this time, but three plays later Buellesbach broke up a pass play, denying Stonehill a first down and giving MIT the ball.

The rest of the first half went back and forth, with the Beaver defense shutting down Stonehill completely and the offense marking time until the half.

MIT elected to kick the ball to open the second half, figuring there was no way the Chieftains could march down the entire field and score. This proved to be a wise choice as Stonehill quarterback Mark Drake threw a perfect strike to Fred Loh '92. Unfortunately for Drake and the Chieftains, Loh is currently enrolled as a student at MIT, not Stonehill.

Once again, the Beavers moved the ball with ease, only being stopped because the normally sure-handed Lapes dropped a touchdown pass, probably out of pity. Freshman Dan McGahn showed his value to the team as he kicked the first field goal the Beavers have made since the ice age, putting MIT up 31-0. McGahn also made all six of his extra points on the day.

Stonehill's second possession, not surprisingly, also met with disaster. After just five plays, MIT once again had possession, as the Chieftains failed on a fourth down. The key defensive play came on a third-and-one when Stonehill attempted a draw. Darcy Prather '91 busted into the backfield, gave an alleged blocker a "get-the-hell-out-of-my-way" forearm and collared Strachan for a five-yard loss.

The MIT starting offense then realized that they were going to get a fourth quarter vacation. Eager for the time off, LaHousse grabbed a short pass from Day and turned it into a 56-yard touchdown, running untouched through the Swiss cheese defense of Stonehill. This earned the starting offense and defense the rest of the game off.

This allowed the Chieftains to formulate some sort of offense and to produce misleading statistics in Sunday's Globe. A long drive was knifed when Prather, who lead the team in tackles as usual, jumped nearly 73 feet into the air and sacked Drake for a loss.

After the Beaver offense stalled, Stonehill scored a touchdown. MIT showed it's depth, however, as it marched down the length of the field and scored with it's back-up players. Jeff Drbohlov '91 ran for 30 yards on the drive and second quarterback John Hur '93 busted out on a 38 yard rumble to fuel the drive. Moose plowed in from eight yards out to ice the game.

The only question left at the end of the game was what didn't work. The offense was unstoppable, the defense impregnable, and the special teams were solid. Day had a great game, going 10 for 15 for 232 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception, Lapes had seven catches for 178 yards, fourth best among all collegiate receivers at any level on the day, and five players rushed for over 35 yards. Defensively, Stonehill was shut-out for three quarters by the starters, and often was held at tight moments. Look for good things from this MIT team in their next game, Saturday against Western New England College.