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Beavers Destroy Colonels, 48-0

By Thomas Kettler
Staff Reporter

Before a crowd of 1,594, the football team massacred the Curry College Colonels with a score of 480.

The victory puts the team 25 overall and 22 in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC).

MIT's domination on special teams and defense resulted in two blocked punts and five turnovers, which let the team start every first-half offensive possession on the Curry side of the field. The Engineers kept the ball on the Curry half of the field for the entire first quarter.

The game featured the return of Jose DeLeon '97, last year's star running back, from a thumb injury and the first time that Jose played with his brother Saul DeLeon '98 for MIT. The brothers combined for 166 yards rushing.

The Colonels won the toss and elected to receive the ball. After getting 8 yards on their first play from scrimmage, Curry's drive stalled when Troy Thorson '98 had a tackle for loss of yardage on the second play, forcing Curry to punt.

MIT received the ball at the Curry 46-yard line. Jose ran on the first two plays with his second, a 14-yard run, getting him 1,000 yards rushing for his career. After a series of runs by Chris Brown '96 and Jose DeLeon, DeLeon scored a touchdown from 7 yards out with 7 minutes, 30 seconds left in the quarter. Ken Mills '97 successfully converted the point-after-touchdown (PAT) to give the Beavers a 70 lead.

After receiving the kickoff, Curry still could not advance the ball successfully. A tackle by Chris Yanney '97 and a partially blocked punt by Dave Hwang G gave the Beavers the ball at the Colonels' 24. From there, MIT scored a touchdown in four plays with Brown reaching the end zone with 4:29 left. Another Mills PAT made the score 140.

However, MIT still wasn't finished as the special teams continued to dominate. After Curry failed to get a first down on their next series, Yanney blocked a Colonel punt and Kevin Ferrigno '96 returned the ball 23 yards for another Beaver touchdown with 2:43 left in the quarter. The score was 210 after another successful PAT play.

Punting problems for Curry

Curry's punter continued to have trouble on their next series. After a 16-yard sack of Karl Bussey by Thorson caused Curry to have to punt again, their punter shanked a ball so badly that negative yardage on the kick resulted with MIT taking possession at the Curry 25-yard line.

On this Beaver series, Scott Vollrath '96 replaced Alex Sgouros '95 at quarterback as MIT went to an option offense that worked very well last week against Westfield State College. On the first play Vollrath was tackled for a loss of 4 yards as the first quarter ended.

In the next quarter, a pivotal pass interference call on a fourth down gave the Beavers a first down at the Curry 10. After that, DeLeon eventually scored from 5 yards on a sweep to the left with 11:35 left in the half. The PAT gave MIT a commanding 280 lead.

On the next series, Curry finally generated a first down on offense when A. J. Vieira gained 4 yards on a second down play which moved the ball to the Colonel 48. On the next play, Curry finally moved the ball into MIT territory on a 5-yard run by Vieira. The Colonels would eventually move the ball to the Beaver 26.

However, Bussey was sacked by John Niforatos '97 and Ferrigno for a 13-yard loss on the very next play. After an incomplete pass, Niforatos sacked Bussey at the Curry 43 causing a fumble which Kevin Trexler '98 returned 23 yards to the Colonel 20.

The turnover provided MIT with another scoring opportunity, but the Beavers fumbled at the Curry 7-yard line. After that series, neither team could score so the half ended with the score remaining 280.

The big difference in the half was the advantage MIT had in field position. On average, Curry started its possessions on their own 26 while the Beavers started on the Colonel 31. This great difference allowed MIT to score easily.

Head coach Dwight Smith said, "We had good field possession the whole first half. It makes a big difference. They had no kicking game. Their punter was terrible. We just had good field possession."

Curry offense unable to convert

When MIT returned the opening kickoff only to the MIT 47, it marked the first time that they started an offensive possession on their own half of the field. They couldn't get a first down and punted. After this, the teams traded punts until Curry started a possession from their own 21 with 7:18 left in the quarter.

On the very next play, Vieira ran for 44 yards to the MIT 36 and would have had a touchdown if Andy Carnell '95 had not barely tripped him. On the next play, Mike Aubin ran 25 yards on a sweep so Curry had moved the ball to the Beaver 11.

However on a fourth-down after getting the ball to the MIT 7 but having it moved back to the 12 after a false start, Bussey's curl pass was intercepted by Thorson and returned 44 yards to midfield with 4:00 left in the quarter.

On this play, a series of runs from Brown and Jose DeLeon moved the ball to the Curry 6 when the quarter ended. After an offsides penalty moved the ball to the Curry 3, Brown scored with 14:40 left in the game. After the point-after touchdown (PAT) was wide right, MIT led 340.

Curry took the ball on the resulting kickoff, but after moving the ball to the MIT 31, its drive stalled and the Beavers took over on downs. MIT could not get a first down but got another break when Curry muffed the punt and Mike Butville '98 recovered at the Colonel 21.

After moving the ball to the Curry 7, Saul DeLeon ran up the middle for another MIT touchdown with 3:40 left in the game. The PAT made the score 410.

On the next Curry series, Chris Mazzone replaced Bussey at quarterback but the results were the same. After moving the ball to the Colonel 24, Butville intercepted Mazzone's pass at the Curry 35 with 2:40 left in the game.

After moving the ball to the Curry 33, Saul ran up the middle for 32 yards but was tackled from behind at the Colonel 1. On the resulting first and goal, Saul plunged for the final touchdown to make the score 480 with 50 seconds left.

For their final series Curry moved the ball from their 42 to the MIT 42. However, Mazzone then overthrew Erik Darrows and Butville had a second interception with eight seconds remaining at the Beaver 17. Vollrath then gained 4 yards on a keeper for the final play as the game ended.

Defense holds Curry to 177 yards

The defense played superbly, holding Curry to 177 yards on offense. Carnell led the team with 18 tackles while Butville contributed 11. For their efforts, both were nominated for ECFC Defensive Player of the Week. Butville was also nominated for East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC) Rookie of the Week.

Jose DeLeon also played well for his first game of the season, especially since he only had one day to practice. His 91 yards gives him 1,078 for his career which places him sixth on the MIT career rushing list. Also, his two touchdowns gives him 14 for his career - he has scored 84 points which also places him sixth on the career scoring list. Assuming that he has no further significant injuries, he should break both records before his career ends.

Coach Smith said, "Having Jose back to run a little bit helped a lot psychologically. His brother ran well too."