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After Close Call, Football Falls to UMass Beacons

By Thomas Kettler
Staff Reporter

On a very soggy and muddy field, the MIT Beavers lost their only non-conference game to the UMass Boston Beacons 1814 Saturday afternoon, after a controversial call in the last 15 seconds gave the Beacons the ball at the Beavers' two.

The away-game loss made MIT 34 overall, while its 33 conference record remained unchanged. It was UMass Boston's first victory of the season.

In a tragic development, the game was marred by the death of one of the officials due to a heart attack just after the end of play.

Conditions hurt play

The muddy field and the rain dictated that both teams stick to running the ball. The Beacons passed just 27 times, but only 15 were complete due to numerous drops. For its part, MIT passed only nine times for a total of just five completions.

Neither team moved the ball well, either, as the rough weather took its toll. UMass Boston was held to 301 net yards, while MIT wound up with only 201.

The first quarter had no scoring. The only significant play was a recovery of a Scott J. Vollrath '96 fumble by Michael Feeley of UMass Boston.

The Beacons got on the board first as the result of a strong first-quarter drive that ended with a three-yard touchdown run four minutes into the second quarter. Their point-after kick attempt failed, leaving them with a 60 lead.

The Beavers answered right back on their next drive as Jos DeLen '97 scored his 24th rushing touchdown on a 28-yard run-off-tackle two minutes later. The play was set up by a Vollrath 18-yard run on a fake punt to make a first down. But the Beavers' point after run failed, tying the two teams at 66.

The final score of the half occurred on UMass Boston's next drive, as Geoffrey Harris' 23-yard reception on an out pattern gave the Beacons a 126 lead. That score held at halftime as their point-after run also failed.

Game ended on questionable call

MIT had its only lead of the game on their final touchdown with five minutes left as Chris Brown '96 pushed the ball in one yard on a trap. DeLen ran the ball in successfully for the two-point conversion to give the Beavers a 1412 lead.

But that was not to be all. The drive resulting in UMass Boston's final score was controversial. The Beacons were able to get an apparent fourth time-out: officials stopped the clock when the Beacons called for one more than they had.

Also, though Edward K. Chung '99 intercepted an Emil Johnson pass with 15 seconds left, the play was called off due to a pass-interference call. That call was critical as it gave UMass Boston the ball at the MIT two. From there, Skahan's second touchdown reception gave the Beacons the 1814 final margin.

Head coach Dwight Smith commented, "We were missing some people on defense. That hurt us. [We had just] two or three people on the secondary. That hurt a little bit."