Worcester State Defeats MIT Football, Repeating History
By Tom Kilpatrick
The MIT football team was defeated 35-6 by Worcester State College this past weekend.
In a repeat of last year’s game, MIT visited the undefeated Lancers on their homecoming. Unlike last year, however, the Beavers entered the game on a two-game winning streak and ranked third in the Boyd Division of the New England Football Conference. Nevertheless, the Lancers proved again to be too much for the Beavers, compiling 527 yards behind an offense which includes two of the NEFC's best running backs, and a quarterback ranked first in total offense.
Beavers trail 21-0 at the half
The Beaver game plan was to throw the ball early and often, softening Worcester State’s run defense. In the first quarter, quarterback Alexander T. Karnal ’03 led MIT to several first downs, but was unable to get past midfield.
On defense, the Beavers stopped the Lancers’ first drive, but Worcester State struck its first blow when Jeremy Gaucher returned R. Matt Ramirez’s ’06 punt 28 yards to the MIT 25-yard-line with 5:36 left in the quarter. Just three plays later, Lancers’ back, Greg Wood, rushed 16 yards for the touchdown. After the extra point, the Lancers led 7-0.
The Beaver offense stalled on its next two drives and Worcester State struck again with 12:43 left in the half. Wood completed a four-play, 78-yard drive with his second touchdown of the game. Then, with 2:05 left in the half, Lancer quarterback Cean Oskanish completed a 13-yard pass to put MIT in a 21-0 hole.
The best Beaver drive of the half came on the next possession. Starting at its own 18-yard line, MIT drove to the Worcester 29. The key plays were a 22-yard rush by fullback Ryan J. Lanphere ’06 on third and long, an eight-yard rush by Philip M. Deutsch, and a 12-yard pass from Karnal to tight end Keith V. Battocchi ’02. With six seconds left, Ramirez attempted a 37-yard field goal, but it was wide right and MIT broke for half-time, still trailing 21-0.
No relief for Beavers
The Lancers had the ball to start the second half, and they drove to the Beaver three-yard line before MIT’s Mark D. Boudreau ’05 recovered a crucial fumble. Sensing the opportunity, MIT drove 90 yards downfield in 17 plays, but could not get the touchdown it needed when a pass fell incomplete in the end zone on fourth down.
After a big stop by the Beaver defense, MIT finally scored its first and only touchdown when Deutsch made a great cutback and broke away for a 50-yard score, cutting the deficit to 21-6. Unfortunately, MIT was unable to score again, and Worcester’s big-play offense hit twice more, making the final score 35-6.
Deutsch leads shaky offense
The Beaver offense had trouble all day pass-blocking against Worcester's quick defensive linemen and linebackers, especially on the astroturf surface. However, Karnal, ranked third in the NEFC in total offense, still completed 15 of 37 passes for 135 yards. Battocchi, too, had a big day, pacing the MIT receivers with six receptions for 62 yards.
Tom Kilpatrick ’05 entered the game as the NEFC's seventh-ranked receiver, but struggled against Worcester corner Jason Garrett’s man coverage. Kilpatrick only caught four of 15 intended passes for a total of 56 yards. Warren Chia ’05, Kurt Josephson ’06, and Deutsch combined for five catches.
The star of the offense again was Deutsch, who entered the game as the NEFC’s 4th-leading running back. He had his second straight game with 100 yards rushing, netting 119 on 31 carries.
Freshman Lanphere, out of the heralded Mater Dei program in Southern California, added some punch with 60 yards on seven carries. Reflecting how much the Lancers threw the ball downfield, the MIT defense’s three leading tacklers were corners Boudreau and Corey D. Carter ’03, and safety Brian D. Hoying ‘03, combining for 18 tackles.
David A. Blau ’06 and Rich D. Park ’05 came off the bench to add some pop in the secondary, combining for three more tackles. Freshman defensive linemen Kevin M. Yurkerwich and Brennan P. Sherry played hard against the huge Lancer offensive linemen, combining for eight tackles.
In the end, the Beaver offense’s red zone ineffectiveness combined with the Lancer scoring machine were too big a hurdle to overcome. Now at 2-2, MIT comes home this week for its first Boyd division game, against Curry.