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Football Crushes WNEC with Record Number of Sacks

By Thomas Kettler
Staff Reporter

Setting an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference and MIT record of 11 sacks for a loss of 78 yards, the MIT football team defeated the Western New England College Golden Bears 226 Saturday at Steinbrenner Stadium. The victory was the Beavers first of the season and put the team 12 overall and 11 in the conference.

WNEC fell to 03 overall.

The first quarter was uneventful as neither team could mount a serious offensive threat until the quarter's end. The only plays of note were a punt by WNEC that MIT fumbled following an 8-yard return but was nullified by an inadvertent whistle midway in the game.

Also, MIT committed its only turnover at 7 minutes 23 seconds when Alex Sgouros '95 had his post pass intercepted by Keith Murphy. One minute later, Andy Phelps '95 got his and the Beavers first sack to stall the resulting Golden Bears drive. Phelps would get 2.5 sacks and one tackle for loss with 10 tackles overall during the game and was nominated for conference defensive player of the week.

Eventually, MIT got on the scoreboard with 1:42 left in the quarter. The Beavers scored on a 24-yard screen from Sgouros to Troy Gayeski '97. On the ensuing point after, MIT faked a kick and scored on a wide-open pass play to Gayeski.

The second quarter was worse offensively than the first. However, WNEC scored its only touchdown with 9:30 left in the quarter when Steve Carroll ran off-tackle for three yards to score. However, the Golden Bears pass fell incomplete to result in a Beaver lead, 86. After an MIT possession that resulted in a punt, WNEC got one first down. However, their possession stalled as MIT had back-to-back sacks as first Troy Thorson '98 and Craig Yanney '97 and then Yanney by himself sacked Matt Luccarelli. Yanney would have 2.5 sacks overall to tie Phelps for second in that statistic to Brad Gray '98 who had three.

MIT's resulting possession stalled and the Beavers punted. On the next series of WNEC downs, MIT sacked Luccarelli three more times. First Yanney had his final sack of the day. Then after a Golden Bear first down, John Niforatos 96 teamed with Phelps on one sack. Then Andy Migliano 98 sacked Luccarelli on a fourth down to stop WNEC as time expired.

In the third quarter, MIT scored its first running touchdown of the season. After WNEC initial possession stalled and the Golden Bears punted, the Beavers received the ball on the MIT 37. On the first play, Saul DLeon 98 ran 39 yards. After a series of short runs by Chris Brown 96 and DLeon moved the ball to the WNEC 2, DLeon was rewarded for his 39-yard effort with a 2-yard plunge for the touchdown with 9:19 left in the quarter. Ken Mills 97 converted the point-after-touchdown (PAT).

After the kickoff, the Golden Bears moved the ball to the MIT 26. However, a third down pass was knocked down by Matt Turner 96 and the resulting 43-yard field goal was short to give the Beavers the ball back. On the ensuing possession, MIT moved the ball to the WNEC 25 before its drive stalled on a batted ball by Ken Fulton. The half ended with no further action.

On the resulting possession by the Golden Bears, Brad Gray got his first sack and MIT's seventh of the game. Gray helped then stall the drive so MIT took over on downs at the 50-yard line. The resulting drive was converted as with 8:06, Gayeski caught a tipped-pass in the end zone. Mills converted the PAT to conclude the scoring.

Defense dominated the final minutes of the game, especially MIT's. At 6:31 left in the game, Gray stalled another WNEC drive to force a punt. After MIT went three-and-out, the Beavers had their second series of back-to-back sacks. First, Gray sacked Luccarelli to record the hat-trick and then Phelps had his final sack of the game at 2:29. Lastly, Mike Butville 98 had the final sack of the game to tie a WNEC record for sacks allowed.

Offensively, the Beavers had 299 overall yards while limiting the Golden Bears to 197. DLeon led the team with 63 rushing yards while Sgouros contributing 149 yards passing.

However, all is not well with this team. The Beavers committed 10 penalties for 96 yards. Also, the offense looked pathetic at times which will create problems against the better teams in the conference like Bentley, Curry and Stonehill whom MIT plays next week on the road. The 299 yards of offense represents the best performance so far this year while they only generated 44 yards against Assumption in last week's 41-7 loss and 213.3 over the season. Also, the 197 yards allowed on defense marked their best stoppage while giving up 567 against Salve Regina the first week of the season in a 26-7 loss and 416.7 overall in the season. Such numbers loom large in a matchup against perennial ECFC powerhouse Bentley with their monstrous offense.

Even so, their is plenty of optimism. Over 1000 people attended the first home game of the season. It would be great to see similar numbers in two weeks at Homecoming against Curry College, the next home game after the away game at Stonehill College Saturday.