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Football Defeated by Worcester, Early Deficit Hurts Engineers

By Tom Kilpatrick and Spencer Cross

TEAM MEMBERS

With a mixture of confidence stemming from an intense off-season training regimen and anxiety over a restructured offensive system, the MIT football team opened its 2002 season with a loss to Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The Beavers were defeated under the lights in Worcester 25-7.

MIT offense struggles in first half

MIT faced an early 12-0 deficit after their first two drives ended in punts and their third in an interception. The Beavers started the next possession at their own 30-yard line, and got off to a good start with a 14-yard scamper by tailback Phil M. Deutsch ’04.

Quarterback Alex T. Karnal ’03 finally got into a passing rhythm, completing two first downs to wide receiver Tom Kilpatrick ’05 and drawing a pass interference call. Fullbacks Dan Relihan ’04 and Dave J. Ostlund ’04 had several solid runs as well.

From WPI’s nine-yard line, on his first reception of the game, receiver Warren Chia ’05 completed the 70-yard drive for MIT’s only touchdown. Freshman kicker Matt Ramirez ’06 added the extra point to make it 12-7 with 2 minutes left in the half.

Unfortunately, four plays and 60 yards later, WPI scored its third touchdown. The Beaver defense shut down WPI’s point-after try for the third time so that the gap at halftime was 18-7.

WPI shuts down Beaver offense

In the second half, MIT started with the ball and drove 61 yards on 14 plays. Facing 3rd and 3, MIT threw two incomplete passes to end the drive. That was the last Beaver scoring opportunity of the game. In the end MIT could not get the big play it needed to turn the game around, and fell 25-7.

WPI’s offense drove for 378 total yards, including 151 on the ground by Preston Roberts. MIT finished with 210 total offensive yards. Karnal completed 13 of 29 passes for 125 yards and one touchdown, while Deutsch rushed 23 times for 74 yards. Kilpatrick had eight receptions for 81 yards, and Chia finished with two catches for 21 yards and the only Beaver touchdown.

MIT’s defense struggled early but improved in the heat and sweat. Brent M. Schreiber ’03, returning from a year off, led the effort with six unassisted tackles from the middle linebacker position. Cornerbacks Corey D. Carter ’03 and Mark D. Boudreau ’05 played a solid game, combining for five tackles. On the defensive line, returning starter Lars A. Gronning ’03 had a lot of help from Mark A. Jury ’04, Michael C. Patrick ’05, and newcomers Brennan P. Sherry ’06, Kevin T. Rice ’06, and Kevin Yurkevich ’06.

At inside linebacker, Schreiber was assisted by returning players Dan Lovell ’03 and Jerimy R. Arnold ’03. On the outside, Michael A. Terry ’03 played a solid game with four tackles and a forced fumble.

2002 lineup sees big changes

MIT returns 11 starters from last year’s 1-8 squad, including all-conference selections Brian D. Hoying ’03 and Gronning on defense, and Keith V. Battocchi ’02 on offense.

The big change this year is in the offensive backfield, where an injury to tailback Kale D. McNaney ’05 and the departure of Temitope O. Sonuyi ’05 have forced last year’s quarterback, Deutsch, to move to tailback. Swarthmore transfer Karnal assumes quarterbacking duties for the Beavers this year.

Relihan and Ryan Whittaker ’03, who each missed last season, join Ostlund to round out the backfield.

The offensive line is led by returning starters Keith G. Reed ’04, Matt J. Krueger ’05 and Justin M. Nelson ’04. Spencer M. Cross ’05, switching from the defensive side of the ball, and Ben F. Povlich ’05 are the newcomers.

Kilpatrick, who came off the bench last season, will assume a starting role at receiver complemented by Chia.

Looking ahead

MIT avoided serious injury in the contest, but starters Schreiber and Jury both suffered hand injuries. A lack of depth on both offense and defense will make health a major concern for the Beavers this season.

The Beavers will use this week to prepare for their home opener against Framingham State on Saturday.