It all came down to the final minute in a battle of undefeated New England Football Conference (NEFC) teams when Anthony M. Emberley ’17 blocked an extra point attempt with 42 seconds left to lift MIT to secure a thrilling, 35-34, win over Western New England University. The victory keeps MIT undefeated at 6-0 (4-0 NEFC) and snapped Western New England’s win streak at six games, dropping the Golden Bears to 6-1 (3-1 NEFC).
With the game tied at 28-28 going into the decisive fourth quarter, MIT started a drive at the start of the quarter from its own 28-yard line. The Engineers drove to the Western New England 30, but faced a fourth and three. Quarterback Peter J. Williams ’15 hit Bradford L. Goldsberry ’15 on a 17-yard pass to keep the drive alive and Justin R. Wallace ’15 took it in for the score on the next play to make it 35-28 with 8:15 to play.
MIT stopped Western New England its next drive, but the Golden Bears’ defense forced a three and out to give them another shot at tying the game. Kevin Cook and junior Tyler Ward took Western New England down the field, with Ward passing for 25 yards and rushing for 22 while Cook ran for 10 more, including the final two into the end zone. But the Golden Bears could not get the tying point on the board as Emberley came in from the right side of the MIT line to block the PAT attempt.
MIT jumped out to a 21-0 lead to start the game. The Engineers opened the contest with a 13-play, 68-yard drive that was finished by a one-yard plunge by Williams six minutes in. Western New England fumbled on its first two possessions, escaping damage on the first when Tucker T. Cheyne ’17 just missed on a 32-yard field goal attempt. But the Engineers cashed in on the next one. The Golden Bears went for it on fourth-and-one from their own 39, but the snap from center was over the head of the quarterback and Robert V. DiSanto ’18 fell on the lose ball on the 20. Four plays later Wallace took in from two yards out to make it 14-0.
Early in the second MIT scored again, when Williams hit Travis A. Herbanek ’17 from seven yards out to cap a 53-yard drive. Western New England finally put together a long drive late in the second quarter, getting runs of 17 and 20 yards from Cook, who took it in from two yards out at the 3:27 mark. MIT immediately answered when Goldsberry burst around the right side on the first play of MIT’s ensuing drive and out ran the Western New England defense for a 66-yard score. With just three minutes left in the half the Golden Bears came right back, getting runs of 14 and 13 yards from Ward that set up a nine-yard scoring run by Nick Connell that made it 28-14 at the half.
Midway through the third quarter Terrence N’Dabian ignited the Western New England offense when he exploded down the right sideline for a 90-yard TD on the first play of the drive. Late in the quarter Dean Soucie intercepted Williams and returned it 18 yards to the MIT 35. Four plays later on a fourth-and-two, Cook burst through the line for a 27-yard score to tie the game and set up the dramatic fourth quarter.
Both teams went well over 400 yards in total offense, with MIT holding a 470-459 edge. Goldsberry led MIT in receiving and rushing, catching 10 passes for 95 yards while running for 137 yards on 14 carries. He also added 104 yards in returns to finish with 336 all-purpose yards, breaking his own school record. Williams completed 20-of-30 attempts for 177 yards and the one score and also rushed for 79 yards. Wallace finished with 78 yards and a pair of scores.
For Western New England, Cook led all rushers with 154 yards on 25 carries, scoring three times. Ward ran for 89 yards and completed seven of 18 passes for 112 yards. Mark Dietrich led the Golden Bears with three catches, good for 37 yards.
Defensively Cameron L. Wagar ’15 led MIT with 15 tackles, with Soucie also making 15 stops for Western New England to go along with his interception.
MIT’s win sets up a showdown for first-place in the NEFC next week when the Engineers will travel to Endicott College on Saturday, November 1 for a 5 p.m. contest with the Gulls, who are also 4-0 in NEFC play. Western New England will stay on the road next week, taking on Curry College at 1 p.m.