Football Loses 22-3 In DeLeon's AbsenceBy Thomas Kettler
The football team suffered a 22-3 loss Saturday to the Falcons of Bentley College at Steinbrenner Stadium. The game was closer than the score indicates, however, since the Beavers' defense continued to play tough although the offense was unable to overcome the loss of star running back Jose DeLeon '97, who broke a rib in last week's game against UMass-Boston.
The game brought MIT's final record to 4-2 in the league and 5-3 overall, and set up an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference championship match between Bentley and Stonehill College next week.
Though the Beavers lost the game, Head Coach Dwight Smith was pleased with the effort made to stop the undefeated Falcons. "The defense played very well. Bentley's offense has been great all year. They said that [MIT] was the best team they'd played. It was a great effort," he said.
Bentley scored two of its three touchdowns in the first quarter and got an early 13-0 lead against the Beavers. Brandon Hight scored first on a dive from the MIT 1-yard line seven minutes into the game, with Steve Patton converting the PAT.
The Falcons also scored with 1:30 remaining on a 28-yard pass play from Mike Rymsha to Colin Arsenault, but a run after the touchdown failed. It would have been worse had Calvin Newman '96 not intercepted a Rymsha pass, Newman's second interception in two weeks, with four and a half minutes left in the half.
MIT scored its only points of the game in the second quarter. The defense set up the score as Chuck Yoo '97 recovered a muffed punt at the Bentley 42. MIT got as far as the Bentley five but the drive stalled and Dan McGahn '94 kicked a 27-yard field goal with 38 seconds left in the half. Earlier, Kevin Ferrigno '96 recovered a fumble at the MIT one to stop a Bentley drive.
In the third quarter, the MIT defense continued its opportunistic play as Bentley drives stalled on turnovers. Seven minutes into the quarter, Mickey Williams '94 intercepted another Rymsha pass and returned the ball to the Bentley 30, but the offense could not take advantage of it.
In the final quarter, the Beavers and the Falcons could not do much on offense as both teams traded turnovers. However, Bentley did get a final touchdown on a 47-yard post pattern from Rymsha to Arsenault for the final points. On defense, Andy Phelps '95 and Chris Yanney '97 recovered fumbles.
Overall, the offense could not recover from the loss of DeLeon. It covered a total of only 111 yards, with an average of two yards per play.
The defense held the Falcons' offense to a total of 343 yards, down from an average 440 yards in previous games, and forced six Bentley turnovers. Nolan Duffin '94 shared defensive player of the week honors with 23 tackles and ten solos.
The sorely missed star, DeLeon ended his season last week with an MIT record 987 rushing yards on 199 carries and 12 touchdowns. He will likely win the ECFC rushing title this year, unless Fran DeFalco of Assumption gets 121 yards next week or Bentley's Hight makes 258. Even if one of them does win the title, it would require him to play three or two more games than DeLeon did.
Despite the day's loss, Smith felt good about the progress of the program. "I think we'll have another winning season next year. We won more games this year than we did in the last three years combined. It's just a good team," he said.