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MIT Routs Seahawks After Slow Beginning

By Ryan Lanphere

After a slow first half on Saturday, the football Engineers (1-4, 2-5) dominated the rest of the game scoring 34 second-half points en route to their second victory of the season over the Seahawks of Salve Regina University (0-5, 1-6) by a score of 40-25.

With the temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s in Newport, R.I., the Engineers offense was on fire, scoring a season-high 40 points on six touchdowns.

The Engineers were pushed back on their heels early when Salve Regina scored on the first play of its first possession of the game. The score came just 2:27 into the game on a 52-yard shovel pass from Seahawks quarterback Robert Higle to running back Louy Marroquin. Marroquin took the shovel pass right up the middle virtually untouched for the game’s first score.

Not to be out done, the Engineers put together one of the most impressive drives of their season on their very next possession. The Engineers’ first scoring drive of the game totaled 10 plays and 42 yards eating up 6:52 of the first quarter clock. The longest play of the drive was a 26-yard reception by wide receiver and captain Marcus R. Carson ’07 from MIT quarterback Richard A. Mancuso ’09.

At the end of the drive, facing a fourth and goal at the Seahawks two-yard line, Mancuso hit tight-end Christopher W. Ruggiero ’07 on a quick seam pass for the touchdown. The Engineers failed to convert the extra point making the score 7-6 in favor of Salve Regina.

The Seahawks scored once more in the first half on a one-yard Higle pass to receiver Antonio Guzzo. Guzzo led all Salve receivers with six catches for 75 yards and his second quarter touchdown.

Salve Regina came out strong to start the second half much as they did in the first, scoring on their opening drive to push ahead 19-6.

Just when it looked like the Seahawks were starting to pull away, the Engineers emphatically clipped their wings, scoring 27 unanswered points to take a 33-19 lead.

Building off their first-half scoring drive, Mancuso engineered MIT’s second seven-minute drive of the day. This time the drive covered 73 yards in 13 plays and ate up just over seven minutes. Most of the hard work in that drive was done on the ground by the Engineer’s running back trio of Thomas C. Scotton ’08, Robert C. Utz ’09, and DeRon M. Brown ’10. The trio diligently chipped away at Seahawk territory, and the drive was finished off on a two-yard touchdown run by Brown.

Clock management was one of the biggest factors in the Engineers’ victory. This was made possible by MIT’s running back trio who combined for 163 yards on 39 carries. Scotton led the group with 93 yards on 17 carries while Utz was the primary finisher scoring twice inside the four-yard line.

The excellent running effort combined with only one turnover allowed the Engineers to dominate time of possession by almost 10 minutes 34:46 to 25:14. Not only did this wear down the Seahawk defense, but it also kept the Engineers’ own defensive unit well rested as they watched Mancuso and company go to work.

After a four-yard TD run by Utz to make the score 20-19 in favor of the Engineers, MIT went to the air via wide receiver Kevin T. Vogelsang ’09 who capped off the next two of the last three MIT scoring drives with touchdown receptions of his own. The first was a 23-yard Mancuso pass to Vogelsang on a fade route.

The second score came on MIT’s last scoring drive in the form of another 23-yard Mancuso to Vogelsang hook-up. This time, with a defender in his face, Vogelsang made an athletic grab over the defensive back for the score. Vogelsang led all MIT receivers with six catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns, all of which earned him a spot on the NEFC offensive weekly honor roll.

Mancuso finished with 219 yards in the air on 13 completions in 31 attempts and only one interception which was minimized by his three touchdown passes.

While offense was MIT’s best defense on Saturday, several Engineer defenders made big contributions. Engineer linebacker and captain Phillip T. Zakielarz ’07 led the team with seven solo tackles for a total of nine total bring downs. Safety David O. Kalk ’08 was second on the team with seven total tackles.

Kalk’s biggest contribution can’t be quantified; he switched over to cornerback in the second half and shut down Salve’s leading receiver Antonio Guzzo to just one second-half reception.

This Sunday the Engineers will welcome first year NEFC member, the Plymouth State University Panthers (2-3, 2-5), to Steinbrenner Stadium. Sunday’s kickoff is set for noon.

With victories over UMass Dartmouth and Western New England College, the Panthers should be a tough match-up for MIT, who will try to maintain the momentum from their victory over Salve Regina when they face Plymouth State.