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MIT Scores First Victory Over Framingham State

By Tom Kilpatrick and Spencer Cross

TEAM MEMBERS

As R. Matthew Ramirez ’06 lined up for his first college field goal attempt, the sideline fell silent in anticipation. With MIT leading 20-13 over Framingham State and only 15 seconds remaining, the freshman from Wichita Falls, Texas, had a chance to finalize the first Beaver victory in over a year. With all eyes watching, the snap from Kevin M. Yurkerwich ’06 and hold from Michael J. Harvey ’04 were good; the 31-yard kick had plenty of leg and split the uprights, giving MIT a 23-13 lead and final margin of victory.

The kick brought a bit of relief to the exhausted Beavers, who were happy to get the win, upping their record to 1-1, but also aware that the game could have been put away much earlier. The MIT offense gained 331 total yards and 16 first downs, while Framingham State had only 182 yards and eight first downs. However, three Beaver turnovers and some costly penalties let Framingham stay competitive throughout the game.

Defense solid in first half

On the whole, it was a strong team effort by MIT. Anchoring that effort was the defense, which only gave up one touchdown and was able to stop 11 of 14 third down conversion attempts. Defenders also forced Framingham State into seven three-and-out possessions. For the second straight week, Brent M. Schreiber ’03 led the team in tackles with six; the defensive line was led by ends Yurkerwich and Lars A. Gronning ’03, who each had five tackles and combined for three sacks. Along with the help of outside linebacker Michael A. Terry ’04, who led the Beavers with two sacks, the ends stopped Framingham’s outside running game and their mobile quarterback Luke Callahan’s scrambles.

The stingy defensive backfield was solid for MIT again; cornerbacks Corey D. Carter ’03 and Mark D. Boudreau ’05 combined for six tackles, and safety Brian D. Hoying ’03 only allowed Framingham’s receivers to catch four passes in 11 attempts. Their pass coverage also helped the rest of the defense combine for eight sacks during the game.

Battocchi sparks offense

The Beaver offense got off to a slow start, as it did not complete a first down in the first quarter. Framingham got on the scoreboard first with a 6-0 lead with 4:51 left in the first half; however, the next drive proved to change the momentum of MIT’s young season. Having just gained a first down at its own 48-yard line, quarterback Alexander T. Karnal ’03 connected with tight end Keith V. Battocchi ’02 on a spectacular 50-yard crossing route; Battocchi caught the ball 10 yards downfield but was able to run past the entire Framingham defense before being caught at the two-yard line. On the next play, tailback Philip M. Deutsch ’04 ran it in for the touchdown. Ramirez added the extra point, giving MIT a 7-6 lead and renewed life going into halftime.

Big lead, not-so-big lead

In the second half, the Beavers started on offense and proceeded to march down the field on a 65-yard drive. The key play was on fourth and one, on the MIT 44-yard line. Lining up in punt formation, Tom Kilpatrick ’05 surprised Framingham by running the ball and easily picked up the first down with a 12-yard gain. Karnal completed the drive with a 12-run scramble for the score.

On Framingham’s next possession, M. Brandon Pezely ’06 made the biggest play of his young career as he blocked a punt, picking it up and running to the two-yard line. Deutsch punched it in on the next play to give MIT a 20-6 lead.

At this point it looked as if the Beavers might have been able to run away with the game. However, on MIT’s next possession a Framingham defender intercepted a pass and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown, cutting the deficit to 20-13 with 3:26 left in the third quarter. Fortunately, the Beaver defense continued to shut down the Framingham offense, and the MIT offense was able to run out the clock in the fourth quarter before Ramirez’s field goal sealed the victory.

Running game key in victory

A big area of improvement for the Beavers was the running game; the offense gained 177 yards on the ground, more than doubling last week’s output. Deutsch led that effort, with 58 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns. Fullbacks Dan Relihan ’04 and David Ostlund ’04 added some punch with 42 yards on six carries and 27 yards on five carries. Karnal brought a new dimension to his game with 27 yards on the ground, including a touchdown.

The offensive line did a good job of creating holes for the Beaver backs, which was helped to compensate for an inconsistent passing game. Karnal completed nine of 23 attempts for 154 yards; his leading receivers were Battocchi, with three catches for 64 yards, and Deutsch, with three receptions for 46 yards. Framingham’s defensive backs employed press coverage for most of the game, which disrupted the timing on many of the receivers’ routes.

The Beavers travel to Cape Cod this week for their first conference game against Massachusetts Maritime Academy.