In a one hour, 52 minute contest on Saturday, the Engineers fell to the Plymouth State University Panthers on the Panthers’ Senior Day in New Hampshire. Both teams were coming off of a tough loss looking to redeem themselves. The Panthers, who saw their conference title hopes dashed with a loss against Curry College last week, were looking for a win for their seniors on the final home game of the year. The Engineers were coming off of a disappointing loss in their final home game and Senior Day to the Seahawks of Salve Regina.
Saturday’s game was a true smashmouth, hard-nosed football game; 97 of 110 total plays from scrimmage by both teams were runs.
The game began with a quick pair of Plymouth touchdowns, first on a 51-yard cutback rush by Ty Long within 2 minutes of the game, and then a second on a 4-yard rush up following an interception with 7:25 left in the first quarter. At 7:42 left in the 2nd quarter, Plymouth finished their first-half scoring with a 29 yard pass that ended in a touchdown — one of their two passing plays of the day.
Though the halftime score was 21-0, MIT was encouraged that despite giving up two big plays on third-and-long situations, they were able to hold the powerful Plymouth offense to just one successful full drive.
MIT came out of halftime firing, holding the Panthers to a field goal after another turnover. A fumble by All-American Captain DeRon M. Brown ’11, who would finish the day with 103 yards on 32 carries, on the MIT 32-yard line gave the Panthers the ball back, but an impressive red zone stop held the home team to three points with 9:07 left in the 3rd quarter, their final points of the game.
The Cardinal and Grey answered back, but it was too little too late. With the final score of the game, quarterback Kyle T. Johnson ’12, who completed 4 of 11 passes and ran for 22 yards on the day, scrambled for 4 yards and a touchdown.
The MIT defense was led by Kristopher C. Weaver ’12 and Peter W. Gilliland ’12 with 13 tackles apiece, as well as a forced fumble by captain Will J. Gibson ’10 recovered by Weaver.
The loss was the fourth straight for the Engineers, whose lone victory came against UMass-Dartmouth on October 3rd. The season was not what the team was hoping for, coming off of a 5-5 season with high expectations under rookie Head Coach Chad Martinovich.
“There is no doubt in our minds this wasn’t the season we had hoped and planned for,” says William E. Boettcher ’12. “We definitely want to end the season and the seniors’ careers on a high note, and begin to move forward into the offseason and next year in the right direction. The encouraging thing, however, is how many underclassmen we have been playing and have been getting experience for next year.”
MIT will be losing seven starters to graduation, who have already or will receive honors for their abilities on the field. While the loss is significant, it is a good sign that there is such youth on the team, including 6 of 11 defensive and 4 of 11 offensive freshman or sophomore starters.
The Engineers (1-7, 1-5 NEFC Boyd) will finish their season against the Endicott College Gulls (4-5, 2-4 NEFC Boyd) in Beverly, MA next Saturday at 5 p.m.