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Defense Can...t Stop Golden Bears Attack, Allows 478 Yards in 42-25 Football Loss

By Ryan Lanphere

The song remained the same this past Saturday for the football Engineers (0-4, 1-5), who failed to match the offensive production of the Golden Bears of Western New England College (1-3, 3-3) and fell in their fourth straight contest 42-25.

The Golden Bear offense was led by sophomore running back Jordan Capitanio’s, whose nose for the end zone yielded four rushing touchdowns, and freshman quarterback Justin Walz, who gave a breakout performance in setting a school record 28 completions in his first career start.

The Engineers started the day on a strong note with an impressive game-opening drive that lasted 5:23, covered 77 yards in 11 plays, and resulted in a touchdown.

The opening score came when Engineers quarterback Richard A. Mancuso ’09 connected with tight end Thomas J. Franklin ’09 on a 12-yard passing play. Franklin, finding the end zone for the first time this year, finished with 48 yards on four receptions in addition to his first quarter touchdown.

The Engineers failed to convert the extra point and so ended up with an early 6-0 lead.

WNEC countered MIT’s opening drive with two first quarter touchdowns of their own coming on a Capitanio TD dash and a 16-yard TD toss from Walz to freshman classmate Matt O’Brien.

Early in the second quarter, the Engineers closed the gap to a single point on an eight-play, 55-yard drive lasting 2:57 that made the score 14-13 in favor of Western New England. MIT’s second score came on another Mancuso pass, this time to tight end Christopher W. Ruggiero ’07 from three yards out. Ruggiero led the Engineers’ offense with five receptions for 90 yards and two touchdowns all leading to a spot on the New England Football Conference offensive weekly honor roll.

The one point deficit was as close as the Engineers would get. The Golden Bears went on to score 21 unanswered points, taking a 35-13 lead early in the third quarter.

The strangest of these scores came with six seconds to go in the first half. In an unfortunate imitation of their zebra-striped brethren from the Pac-10, the NEFC crew of officials made two shocking calls, setting up the Golden Bears to take control of the waning seconds of the first half.

The first was after a one-yard rush with 39 ticks on the clock, when the referees mysteriously called to stop the clock, allowing WNEC to save a time-out which they used a play later to extend the half.

After taking their final time-out of the half with six seconds to go, the Golden Bears set up on third and goal from the three-yard line. Anxious to score another TD, Capitanio took two steps forward towards the line of scrimmage just as the ball was being snapped, a clear false start. But the referees remained silent and Capitanio used his illegally gained momentum to cross the goal line and make the score 28-13.

The Engineers were able to score two more times but neither score made a difference in the game’s final outcome. Running back Thomas C. Scotton ’07 scored on an impressive 25 yard rush to the near side of the field when he was able to shimmy past several WNEC defenders before finding daylight and the end zone. Scotton finished with 73 yards on 14 carries, leading the Engineers’ ground attack.

The final MIT score of the day came on Ruggiero’s second touchdown, a 52-yard quick seam pass from Mancuso. Ruggiero was able to break two tackles before distancing himself from the trailing WNEC defenders.

Mancuso finished the afternoon with 194 yards on 14 competitions in 27 attempts. His three touchdown passes were unfortunately matched by three interceptions. Mancuso was most likely trying to do too much, as all three interceptions ended fourth quarter drives for the Engineers.

Despite surrendering 478 yards of total offense, several Tech defenders were able to put up impressive individual numbers. Safety David O. Kalk ’08 once again led the Engineers defensive effort with 11 solo tackles, one tackle for a loss, a forced fumble, and a pass break-up, all of which added up to his third weekly defensive honor roll selection of the season.

Kalk’s 44 solo tackles this season tie him for fifth place in the nation among all Division III Football players.

Other notable performances came from linebackers Phillip T. Zakielarz ’07 (13 total tackles), Samuel Jasinski ’08 (12 total tackles), and cornerback Corey Garvey ’10 (10 solo tackles, two for a loss). Engineer safety Joseph T. Goldschmid ’08 pulled down MIT’s lone interception in his own end zone, thwarting a potential third quarter score.

The Engineers will travel to Newport, Rhode Island next Saturday to face the Salve Regina Seahawks (0-4, 1-5) at 12:00 a.m.