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Football Defeats Beacons 48-32 with Twice the Passing Yardage

By Thomas Kettler
Staff Reporter

The football team defeated the University of Massachusetts at Boston Beacons by a score of 48-32 Saturday at Steinbrenner Stadium, despite a 237-yards rushing, four-touchdown performance by UMass player Rich Mroz that included the two longest plays from scrimmage in their school history.

This MIT victory puts the team 4­4 overall and 3­2 in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference, heading into the final game of the season against conference powerhouse Bentley College. The big difference occurred in the amount possession time, as the Beavers controlled the ball for 42 minutes, 38 seconds, allowing UMass-Boston to only have the ball for 17:22.

Initially, neither team did anything with the ball. After a Beaver drive failed on downs at the Beacon 14-yard line and a small 2-yard run, Mroz scored the first of his three touchdowns on a sweep to the left for an 84-yard run with 2:44 left in the quarter. It was the largest play from the line of scrimmage although Mroz would break his own record in the second quarter.

The successful point-after-touchdown (PAT) by UMass player Mike Moreno made the score 7­0, in favor of the Beacons. Then, after a fumbled MIT snap resulted in UMass-Boston having the ball at the Beaver 45. Mroz scored again with a minute left in the quarter, on another designed left sweep which he cut back to the right.

However, Jon Beaver '96 blocked Moreno's PAT attempt, and Troy Thorson '98 tried but failed to return the ball for the defensive PAT so the score remained 13­0, Beacons. The quarter ended with UMass-Boston maintaining its 13­0 lead.

Beacons build 19­0 lead

After having moved the ball to the MIT 48 before the first quarter ended, the Beavers continued to move the ball to the UMass-Boston 11. Then, Saul DéLeon '98 fumbled and Paul Rogers recovered for the Beacons. Mroz got his third touchdown with his 89-yard run on a sweep to the right on the very next play, 2:16 into the quarter. After UMass-Boston called timeout to decide whether or not to go for a two-point conversion, Moreno's pass fell incomplete so the score remained 19­0, Beacons.

Down 19-0, the Beavers mounted their first scoring drive after taking the opening kickoff for a touchback. Jose DéLeon '97 had his first big run on the third play of the drive, taking an Alex Sgouros '95 screen pass and going for 25 yards. That play and a pass of 12 yards on a crossing pattern to Trent Redman '96 set up the touchdown pass to Redman on an out pattern which went for 20 yards with 8:07 left in the half. Ken Mills '97 converted the PAT to make the score 19­7, Beacons.

UMass-Boston took the kickoff at their own 26 and returned it to the Beacon 38. After moving the ball to their own 46, John Niforatos '97 sacked Moreno, causing Moreno to fumble the ball which MIT recovered at the UMass-Boston 38 with 5:55 left in the half.

The Beavers then took the ball and marched down the field with Saul DéLeon scoring on a 4 yard screen pass from Sgouros with 1:17 left in the half. Mills kick hit the left upright but fell in for a successful PAT to give a 19­14 lead for the Beacons, a score which held up at halftime.

Beavers take over in second half

MIT received the kickoff to open the second half and Shawn Stern '98 returned the ball 31 yards to the Beaver 39. From there, MIT moved the ball to the UMass-Boston 5-yard line through the air on plays such as a 25-yard post pattern to Redman, an 11-yard hitch pattern to David Estrada '98 ,and another 15-yard post pattern to Redman. From the 5, Chris Brown '96 ran the ball in for the touchdown. An incomplete pass for the two point conversion left the Beavers with a 20­19 lead.

The resulting drive for the Beacons stalled, so they punted with the Beavers starting at their own 5. MIT moved the ball to the 40-yard line before Frank Fils-Aime intercepted a Sgouros pass and returned it 19 yards to the Beaver 33. However, he subsequently fumbled and MIT recovered.

MIT's resulting drive failed on downs at the UMass-Boston 20. After a Mroz 3 yard gain, Moreno connected on a fly pattern to Jon Lindskog for 77 yards for the final Beacon touchdown with 1:20 left in the quarter. A pass for the conversion failed leaving UMass-Boston with a 25­20 lead. MIT moved the ball from the Beaver 20 to the 29 before the quarter ended.

MIT scored to regain the lead three plays into the quarter when Sgouros connected with Redman for 58 yards 1:18 into the quarter. After that, Tom Jacobs caught Sgouros' pass successfully for the two-point conversion which gave the Beavers a 28­25 lead.

After a 17 yard kickoff return with a 15-yard personal foul against MIT, UMass-Boston had the ball at the Beaver 46. After a gain of two by Taure Rodrigues, Vernald James caught a down-and-out pass from Moreno for a 25-yard gain to the MIT 19 and the first non-TD first down that the Beacons had. Five plays later, Mroz scored his final touchdown on a 1-yard plunge with 10:10 left in the game. Moreno's kick was successful to give the Beacons a 32­28 lead.

After the UMass-Boston touchdown, both teams traded punts. However, Scott Vollrath '96 had a 62-yard punt while Moreno mustered only a 18-yard shank that gave MIT the ball at the UMass-Boston 32. After that, Chris Brown and Jose DéLeon traded runs until Jose DéLeon scored on a 16-yard left sweep for the touchdown with 4:21 to play. The failed kick left the score 34­32, in favor of the Beavers. Despite the failed kick, the Beavers would never relinquish the lead.

On the second play of the resulting Beacon drive, Mike Butville '98 intercepted a Moreno pass at the UMass-Boston 25 with 4:03 left. Four plays later, with 2:25 still in the game, Brown scored on a 1-yard plunge for another MIT touchdown. The failed PAT left the Beavers with a 40­32 lead.

The resulting drive for the Beacons failed and MIT took over on downs with 1:09 left. As time expired, Vollrath scored on the option to give MIT a final 48­32 victory.

Passing makes difference

The difference in the game was passing yardage. While the rushing yardage was comparable, 265 to 249 in favor of MIT, the Beavers had 223 yards passing, as opposed to only 106 for the Beacons.

Redman accounted for most of the receiving yardage with 178 yards for the day on nine catches. Jose DéLeon had his second straight 100-yard game with 106 yards total but did not have his usual excellent cutback ability due to injury.

Head coach Dwight Smith said Jose DéLeon's game was not as strong because his back was bothering him. DéLeon "had a couple big runs at the end that secured things but he didn't have the big game that he normally does."

Smith said he was pleased with the passing game.