MIT Football Drops Homecoming Game
On a day when they hoped to impress, the MIT football team did anything but, and fell to the visiting Curry Colonels, 31-8. The homecoming game featured a celebration of 25 years of MIT football, with scores of former players in attendance, but the Beavers dug themselves a 31-2 hole in the first half and never found an answer for Curry’s big plays. MIT fell to 2-3 on the season, and 0-1 in New England Football Conference Boyd Division play.
Poor first half dooms Beavers
The Colonels took the opening kickoff and never left the driver’s seat as the momentum wore purple the entire first half. Curry running back Raphael Zammit, the conference’s leading rusher, exploded down the sideline on the first play from scrimmage, setting up his team’s offense in MIT territory and his own TD run six plays later. The extra point kick was blocked, however, and a convoy of scarlet jerseys escorted MIT senior linebacker Brent M. Schreiber 95 yards into the end zone for two points.
Undaunted, Curry forced a three-and-out by the MIT offense and capped a 48-yard drive with another touchdown run. After another Engineer punt, Zammit burst through the line and escaped the defensive captain, safety Brian D. Hoying ’03, for a 52-yard touchdown.
Perhaps the best play of the half for MIT was turned in by the punter. Early in the second quarter, the snap from Kevin Yurkevich ’06 sailed over the head of kicker R. Matt Ramirez ’06 and into the end zone. Rather than down it for a safety, Ramirez courageously picked up the ball and drop-kicked it. The punt caught the west-to-east wind and after a favorable bounce was downed at the Curry 38-yard line.
Curry kept the heat on, however, kicking a field goal and returning a fumble for a touchdown. The powerful running game and the Beavers’ lack of offensive production (just two first downs) kept the defense’s back to the wall throughout the first half.
Second half shows improvement
MIT’s defense stiffened in the second half, holding the Colonels scoreless. Linebackers Schreiber, Jerimy R. Arnold ’03, S. Dan Lovell ’03, Michael A. Terry ’04 and Michael J. Harvey ’04 shut down the Curry running game. Meanwhile, defensive tackle Dan Relihan ’04, making his first start since being moved from fullback, joined Yurkevich, Brennan P. Sherry ’06 and Mark A. Jury ’04 in pounding Curry’s offensive line all afternoon. Hoying and cornerbacks Corey D. Carter ’03 and Mark D. Boudreau ’05 combined for 15 tackles on the day.
The offense finally showed some life early in the second half, when captain Alex T. Karnal ’03 threw a 30-yard scoring pass to Warren Chia ’05 in the back of the end zone. But a blocked extra point ended the rally and MIT couldn’t muster any more big plays. Karnal had a frustrating day under center -- Curry’s defensive front spent much of the day in the MIT backfield and forced him into four interceptions. Receivers Tom Kilpatrick ’05 and captain Keith V. Battocchi ’03 were held in check and the normally-powerful Beaver running game, featuring Philip M. Deutsch ’04 and Ryan J. Lanphere ’06, was held to just 39 yards. The statistics were telling: Curry’s eight-minute edge in time of possession and one turnover to MIT’s six, made scoring opportunities rare.
With the disappointing loss behind them, the team looks forward to future opportunities. MIT still has a good shot at a solid division record with four games remaining. This Saturday, the Beavers travel to Springfield, Massachusetts to play Western New England College. The Golden Bears upset MIT in Cambridge last year, sealing the 28-21 win with a goal-line interception in the waning moments.