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Football Team Falls Against WPI, 31-29

By Thomas J. Kilpatrick

TEAM MEMBER

The Beavers arrived in Worcester, Massachusetts last Saturday morning to face the undefeated-in-league Worcester State Lancers. Despite an MIT comeback drive of four consecutive touchdowns in the second half, MIT lost to Worcester, 31-29.

Before the match, Worcester averaged more than 460 yards of offense per game, and was ranked 21st nationally by the American Football Coaches Association. In addition, the Beavers were greeted by a larger crowd than normal because many boisterous Worcester State alumni were back for homecoming.

The game started poorly for the Beavers, who dug themselves into a 25-0 nothing hole in the first half. MIT struggled to contain Worcester’s quarterback Cean Oksanish. Oksanish is ranked first in the New England Football Conference in pass efficiency, and threw three touchdown passes during during the first half.

Beavers pick up in second quarter

Things started to turn around late in the second quarter when Beaver quarterback Philip M. Deutsch ’03 rolled out and connected with wide receiver Thomas J. Kilpatrick ’05 for a 37-yard touchdown pass, making the score 25-7.

Worcester State fumbled their next possession, and MIT drove to the cusp of the end zone before time expired. The Beavers still trailed by 18 points, but now realized that a comeback was possible.

In the second half MIT did the unthinkable. Deutsch connected with wide receiver Robert R. Owsley ’02 on a 19-yard touchdown pass, and Deutsch scored a touchdown on a 61-yard rush.

The defense forced three turnovers in the second half on interceptions by defensive backs Corey D. Carter ’03 and Brian D. Hoying ’03, and perfect onside kick by Kevin M. Ferguson ’02.

Wide receiver Greg Nelson continued the momentum in the final quarter when he caught an 11-yard pass for a touchdown to put MIT ahead for the first time, 29-25. MIT had scored four unanswered touchdowns to regain the lead.

Worcester did not give up, though, and scored on a 67-yard drive with just over seven minutes remaining in the game.

MIT’s next possession ended on downs at the Worcester 31-yard line, and they did not get the ball back until it was too late. The final score was 31-29.

It was a tough loss for the Beavers, who had one of their best statistical days of the season. The offense racked up 430 yards, 148 on the ground. Deutsch gained 93 yards on the ground in addition to completing 11 of 28 pass attempts for 245 yards and 3 touchdowns. Swarthmore-transfer Alexander T. Karnal ’04 completed two more passes for 36 yards. The wide receiving corps came up big again, as Owsley caught 5 passes for 120 yards, Kilpatrick caught 3 for 99 yards, and Nelson caught 3 for 47 yards. Kicker Ferguson extended his MIT career record with three extra points.

The defense had a big day, too, as it caused seven turnovers. Two were on fumble recoveries by Mark D. Boudreau ’05 and Jerimy R. Arnold ’03, and four were on interceptions by Carter (2), Hoying, and Karnal. The defensive line’s 3-man front of Thomas J. Hynes ’02, Lars A. Gronning ’03, and Brian C. Alvarez ’02 was able to apply steady pressure after the 1st quarter. Gronning led the team in unassisted tackles for the second straight week with five and added a sack. Hynes led the team with nine total tackles, and Alvarez added four unassisted tackles and a sack.

In the end it was not quite enough, though, as Worcester snapped a 2-game losing streak against the Beavers. MIT will play its final game tomorrow, at home, against Western New England College at 1:00 p.m.