Bentley edges out Beavers
By Shawn Mastrian
The Beavers suffered only their second loss of the football season to a tough Bentley team last Saturday in a game that could have gone either way. The contest, which ended 21-20, was decided in the final seconds as a two-point conversion attempt by the Beavers was stymied, resulting in the loss.
The game started out ominously enough as Bentley ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead. MIT quickly responded by marching down the length of the field for a game-tying touchdown. The key to this drive was a powerful offensive line surge, lead by senior center Don Euwart. This allowed the `Rocket Backfield' of Tim Day '89, Shane LaHousse '90, and Garret Moose '91 to run free and push the ball down to the Falcon 36. From here, Day passed the ball to an open Moose, who ran the ball all the way in from there. Freshman Dan McGahn's kick knotted the score at seven.
From here, the teams exchanged punts, and then mental mistakes began to hurt the Beavers. Tony Lapes '90 had punted the ball to the Bentley 40, but a facemask call against MIT put the Falcons in business at the MIT 45. Here, the defense had apparently stopped Bentley on three plays, but on the punt, a defensive holding call gave the Falcons a first-down. Once again, it appeared that MIT had stopped Bentley, as when the Falcons threw an incomplete pass on fourth-down, it should have been MIT ball. A defender jumped offsides, however, and Bentley once again had a first-down without moving the ball. Given all these chances, Bentley scored on the next play on a perfectly thrown pass, giving them a 14-7 lead.
These mistakes carried over to the offense. After a 25-yard snag by Lapes put them in Bentley territory, a holding penalty stalled this drive. The two teams then engaged in a punt-a-thon for the rest of the first half. The typical Falcon drive was three plays (one of their drives netted them minus 18 yards) as the MIT defense was, simply put, dominating. The offense showed signs of life as they were able to move the ball, but they could never move the ball into the endzone. The first half ended with this score.
The second half opened rather nondescriptly as well. MIT punted on their first possession, and an interception by Darcy Prather '91 stopped the first Bentley drive. The Beavers then punted, and the Falcons in turn failed on a fourth down conversion. Finally, pinned deep in their own territory, the offense decided that they had had enough.
Moose ran for seven, and then LaHousse picked up MIT's first first-down of the second half, thanks to a key block on the outside by Josh Ertischek '91. Moose and LaHousse then combined to run for another first down, but that was all they could get as the defense shut down the passing attack. The punt, however, put Bentley at their own 12.
A run lost them one yard, a sack by Mike Ahrens '91 pushed them back four more, and Rick Buellesbach '90 almost intercepted a pass to stop this drive. The punt set MIT up at the Falcon 38.
This time just moving the ball wasn't enough for the Beavers. After a botched option play, Day ran twice for 20 yards, and then Moose pushed his way through the middle for a 20-yard run. This put him in the endzone and evened the score at 14.
Another long kickoff return set up Bentley at their own 38. After a first-down, the Falcons executed a screen play to perfection. The receiver had two blockers in front of him, which enabled him to scamper 51 yards for the score. The extra point eventually proved to be the difference.
The Beavers then went three plays and punt after the kickoff. The defense then looked as if they had restored the ball to the offense, thanks to a Brian Teeple '91 interception, but Teeple fumbled the ball back to Bentley. A 15 yard illegal block on the return actually turned the interception into a big gain for Bentley. The Falcons stalled, but the punt nonetheless put MIT 95 yards away from the tying score.
The Beavers stalled on this drive and punted. Bentley then also ran a three play, punt drive, but this time they put MIT at their own two-yard line, with under two minutes left.
The Beavers then showed their character. A pass interference call moved them out of the hole, setting them up on the 15 yard line, yet still very far away from a score. A halfback option pass by LaHousse failed, a Day eight yard scramble, and a sack left the Beavers with a fourth-and-six dilemma with only :47 left.
After a timeout, Day dropped back to pass and found Doug Smith '93, ordinarily a defensive back but in the game for his speed, wide open. Day lofted a perfect strike to Smith, which he caught and then proceeded to burn past the defense for a 79 yard touchdown catch.
Head coach Dwight Smith then decided to go for two points and the win, rather than the sure one point and a tie, which nobody wants. Day dropped back to pass, but he was sacked, and the conversion was thus unsuccessful.
The onside kick failed, and Bentley won, 21-20.
Despite the loss, there were a number of bright spots. The defense stopped Bentley pretty much all day, and if not for some mental errors, may well have shut Bentley out. The offense showed something in pulling out the potential winning score from 98 yards away, with time running out. The team concludes its season next week against Worcester Polytechnic Institute, always a tough team. A win may slip the Beavers into postseason action.