Story and photo courtesy of MIT Athletics
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – MIT scored a touchdown in every quarter while its defense came up with four turnovers as the Engineers picked up a 28-7 victory over Plymouth State in a New England Football Conference Boyd Division game. It was the second straight win for the Engineers, who improved to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the Boyd Division in their first ever win against the Panthers. Plymouth State fell to 2-4 and 1-2 in the NEFC with the loss.
Sophomore Brad Goldsberry (Elizabeth, Colo.), who finished with a team-high 121 yards rushing, put MIT up early in the game when he capped off the first Engineer drive of the game with a nine-yard run. His scamper completed the 11-play, 86-yard drive and gave MIT a 7-0 lead with 7:07 left in the quarter.
Thanks to a stout MIT defense that limited Plymouth State to just 91 first half yards, the Engineers never trailed in the contest. Panther quarterback Jake Tyler was intercepted twice in the second quarter to stop drives, one by sophomore Cameron Wagar (West Richland, Wash.) and the other by junior Matt Merlino (Vancouver, Wash.). It was the third interception of the year for both.
A 20-yard punt return late in the second quarter by junior Rhys Borchert (Pocatello, Idaho) set up the next MIT scoring drive, putting the Engineers on their own 45-yard line. Seven plays later MIT was in the end zone when sophomore Justin Wallace (Palatine, Ill.) took it in from eight yards out with just 50 seconds left before the half.
After stopping MIT on a three and out on the first drive of the second half, the Plymouth State offense came to life on its first drive. Starting from near midfield, the Panthers put together a 10-play, 47-yard scoring drive. Behind the strong running of Andrew Foglia, who ran five times for 29 yards on the drive, the Panthers cut the MIT lead in half when Foglia took it in from four yards out with 6:50 left in the third quarter.
MIT responded with big plays on its ensuing drive, starting with a 17-yard run by Goldsberry. Sophomore Pete Williams (Portland, Ore.) completed passes of 20 yards to freshman Karson Ota (Katy, Texas) and 22 yards to freshman Nathan Varady (Fayetteville, Ark.) on the drive that resulted in a three-yard plunge by Wallace that pushed the MIT lead back to 14 at 21-7 at the 4:02 mark.
A fumble by Williams late in the third was recovered by Plymouth State’s Josh Morgan at the MIT 33, but the Panthers returned the favor six plays later when Tyler could not handle a bad snap and Wagar fell on the loose ball for the Engineers. Midway through the fourth quarter the MIT defense came up with another turnover and this time the Engineers cashed in after Borchert picked off a pass from Paul Norton and returned it seven yards to the MIT 41. A 22-yard screen from Williams to Wallace on a 3rd and 19 kept the drive alive and Wallace finished it off with a 19-yard run that put the game away.
MIT finished with 415 yards of offense, with Plymouth State putting up 237. In addition to his rushing totals, Goldsberry accounted for 196 all-purpose yards by adding 31 yards in receptions and 44 more in kick returns. Wallace finished with 96 yards on the ground and three scores, while Williams completed 13 of 20 attempts for 162 yards. Ota led the MIT receivers with 61 yards on six catches. Junior Jake Laux (Dousman, Wis.) led the Engineers with 14 tackles.
For Plymouth State it was Foglia that led the attack, picking up 82 yards on 15 carries. Tyler completed eight of his 12 attempts for 81 yards, with Zac Iovanella catching six of those passes for 57 yards. Morgan led the Panther defense with 12 stops and the fumble recovery.
MIT will play at Western New England next Saturday in its next contest, kicking off that game at 1:00 p.m. Next week Plymouth State will return home for its game, hosting Endicott at 2:00 p.m.