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Beavers Football Grinds Out First Victory

By Christopher P. Anderson

TEAM MEMBER

The MIT football team opened the 2003 campaign with a hard-fought 7-0 victory over Framingham State on Saturday at Steinbrenner Stadium. The Beavers rode their beleaguered backfield and never-say-die defense, overcoming three turnovers and stopping the Rams three times inside their own 30-yard line.

The game opened with special teams fireworks for MIT. Freshman Jon A.Williams returned the opening kickoff for 35 yards, and after the offense failed to gain a first down, sophomore R. Matt Ramirez’s punt was fumbled by the Framingham return man.

Kevin M. Yurkerwich ’06 recovered, setting MIT up at the Ram 27-yard line. But the offense again sputtered, gaining no yards and tossing a fourth down interception.

The defense trotted onto the field and promptly forced a three-and-out, setting up the offense at the Beaver 45-yard line. This time, they didn’t squander the favorable field position. David J. Ostlund ’04, starting at tailback for injured captain Philip M. Deutsch ’04, drew a 15-yard facemask penalty on the third play of the drive. Immediately following, quarterback Adam C. Love ’07 used a long cadence to draw the Rams offside. Ostlund, who finished the day with 20 carries for 74 yards, promptly ran off left end for a 24-yard touchdown.

Framingham threatened on the next drive, as shifty quarterback T.J. Beary galloped 38 yards to the MIT 27-yard line, with David A. Blau ’06 making a touchdown-saving tackle. But the Rams couldn’t move the chains again, as MIT’s defense forced incompletions on third and fourth down.

MIT’s offense stayed quiet for the remainder of the half. One short drive ended in a fumble; a solid five-minute drive stalled near midfield. Despite not scoring, the offensive possessions gave the defense a much-needed rest.

Framingham was unable to take advantage of the Beaver fumble as Terence S. Karnal ’07 deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage and grabbed it out of the air for an interception.

Second half shutdown

The Rams put together one more serious threat, recovering another fumble on the MIT 45-yard line in the third quarter. But their 11-play, six-minute drive ended in futility when Beary was forced out of bounds on an option at the MIT 10 yard line. Phillip T. Zakielarz ’05 and Michael J. Harvey ’04 with eight tackles apiece, along with defensive captain Daniel Relihan ’04 led the superb defensive effort.

Defensive linemen Mark A. Jury ’04, Clayton J. Williams ’07 and Brennan P. Sherry ’06 held the Ram offensive line at bay. The Rams’ 2-for-11 passing numbers were the result of great coverage by Blau, Mark D. Boudreau ’05, David W. Shearer ’04 and Richard H. Park ’05.

Framingham looked like it had stolen the momentum back (after the fumble) by forcing a Beaver punt. But a Framingham player took a shot at Ramirez after the kick, knocking him to the ground for several minutes and drawing a 15-yard penalty. MIT took the ball to midfield, then Jon Williams filled in admirably with a 44-yard punt that rolled dead at the Ram five yard line. The swing in field position all but slammed the door on Framingham’s comeback hopes.

As the game wore on, both offenses seemed unwilling to risk a big play and continued to run the ball between the tackles. The holes began to open later in the game as fullback Ryan J. Lanphere ’06 picked up huge chunks of yardage en route to his 16-carry, 94-yard total. Love finished his first college game 7-for-12 for 62 yards. On the final drive of the game, Love fired a crucial 19-yard pass to Tom Kilpatrick ’05, then later bootlegged right and ran up the field for the game-clinching first down.

Next Saturday MIT (1-0) hosts the Massachusetts Maritime Academy at 2 p.m.