The crowd was in full force as the Rams of Framingham State University entered Steinbrenner Stadium at 1 p.m. on Saturday for the Engineers’ home opener. With fans in full body paint and the band in uniform, the Engineers came out in a spirited defensive struggle.
Captain William J. Gibson ’10 made the first break in the game with a sack and forced fumble, which was recovered by co-captain Alex F. Rubino ’10. The Engineers were able to capitalize as Peter W. Gilliland ’12 kicked a field goal to put MIT up 3-0. The next six drives were a tug-of-war of field position, including a missed field goal by Framingham’s Phil Cosmos.
The Rams were the first team to enter the end zone, as they needed three rushes from inside the five to score on the Engineers’ defense. The extra point put Framingham up 7-3, and the Rams would hold that lead going into halftime.
The Engineers came out spirited from the locker room and were able to recapture the lead. Quarterback Kyle T. Johnson ’11, who finished with 69 yards on the ground and 167 through the air, led the Cardinal and Gray down the field with a touchdown to Nathaniel C. Forbes ’12. On the two following possessions, MIT and Framingham traded interceptions to eventually put the Rams in a 4th-and-7 situation on the Framingham 39 yard line. After lining up in a punt formation, the Rams successfully faked and passed for the first down. Framingham quarterback Patrick Franey was able to lead the Rams down the field to score and retake the lead at 14-10.
The Engineers responded vigorously, charging down to the Rams’ red zone. After getting a first-and-goal opportunity, MIT was unable to capitalize and the Rams held their lead at 14-10. The Engineers’ defense was able to hold strong and allow All-American Captain DeRon M. Brown ’10 a touchdown of his own on a three-yard run.
The momentum shifted back in favor of the away team, however, as they were able to block Gilliland’s extra point attempt. Franey, who finished the day with 264 yards in the air, was able to drive the Rams through MIT territory and put Framingham back up. Though they were unable to convert on a 2-point conversion, it was too little too late: The Engineers couldn’t mount a comeback in the final seconds.
The game, however, was not all negatives for the Engineers. The improvement, especially on the defensive side, showed a tremendous step in the right direction for the Engineers, who are in search of their first win of the season and the first under freshman Head Coach Chad Martinovich. After the game, Gibson said, “While we lost, I think we can take away a lot of positives from the game. Our defensive play improved tremendously from our first game, and we had great support from the stands.”
The Engineers will face Nichols College away at 1 p.m. next weekend for Nichols’ homecoming. This will begin MIT’s divisional play, as neither Massachusetts Maritime Academy nor Framingham State are in the Engineers’ Boyd Division of the New England Football Conference.