CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – For the first time in the modern history of the MIT football program the Engineers have started a season with three straight wins after taking a 48-26 victory over Salve Regina University this afternoon. In the first New England Football Conference game for both schools, senior Justin Wallace (Palatine, Ill.) scored the first of his four touchdowns just two minutes in as the Engineers took an early lead that they did not surrender. Wallace finished with 152 yards rushing to lead MIT, while senior quarterback Steve Wilken put up 385 yards of total offense to lead the Seahawks.
Just four plays into the contest Wallace broke through the middle of the line and then scampered all the way to the end zone for a 47-yard score to give MIT (3-0, 1-0 NEFC) the early lead. Salve Regina (1-3, 0-1 NEFC) responded on its first drive, capping a 10-play, 67-yard effort when Wilken connected with junior Alex Hulme (Hopkinton, Mass.) from 13 yards out. The extra point was missed however, keeping MIT in the lead.
MIT came away with points on its next drive when sophomore Tucker Cheyne (Avon, Conn.) connected from 24 yards out on a field goal to make it 10-6 with 5:02 left in the first. Salve looked to be driving for an answering score when the Seahawks fumbled on the MIT 10-yard line. Freshman Maxwell Ruston (Athens, Ga.) recovered for MIT and the Engineers turned the miscue into points. Senior Peter Williams (Portland, Ore.) hit junior Samuel Inman (Stilwell, Okla.) on a key 28-yard pass play as MIT finished things off with a six-yard run by Wallace.
On the second play of the next Salve drive the Seahawks fumbled again, with sophomore Ryan Karnish (Nesquehoning, Pa.) falling on the ball for the MIT. An unsportsmanlike penalty on Salve gave the Engineers the ball on the Salve nine-yard line and on the next play Williams found junior Seve Esparrago (St. Louis, Mo.) open for the touchdown.
MIT's defense held Salve Regina on a fourth and two play on the next Seahawks drive, giving the Engineers the ball on the SRU 37. Six plays later Wallace was in the end zone again, this time from six yards out to put MIT up 31-6 with 7:52 left in the half. Salve Regina came back with a 75-yard drive that took most of the rest of the half. The Seahawks converted on three third downs and a fourth down to keep the drive alive, with Wilken again finding Hulme, this time from six yards out for the score. The two-point conversion try was missed, and MIT squeezed in a 25-yard field goal from Cheyne as time expired in the half to lead 34-12.
Salve Regina picked up the first score of the second half when senior Erik Klein (Springfield, Pa.) picked off a Williams pass and returned it 16 yards to the MIT 10. Wilken and Hulme then hooked up for the third time in the contest, this time from 15 yards out to make it 34-20 after a successful two-point conversion. Aided by a 46-yard run by Esparrago, MIT came right back with an answering score when Williams ran it in from 14 yards away to make it 41-20 at the 4:48 mark.
Salve Regina put together another long scoring drive that used five minutes of the fourth quarter, going 80 yards in 16 plays. Wilken completed 10 of 13 passes for 79 yards on the drive, finishing it off with a 13-yard toss to senior Dan Buonocore (Mahwah, N.J.) for the score to pull the Seahawks back within 15 points with 7:35 to play.
Wallace ended any hopes of a Salve comeback on the next MIT drive, however, when he burst up the middle for a 39-yard scoring run with four minutes to play.
Wallace finished with 152 yards and four scores, with his four TDs matching a school record that was also matched in the Engineers' last game by senior Brad Goldsberry (Elizabeth, Colo.). Williams was 12-of-22 for 174 yards and a score and an interception as the Engineers rolled up 466 yards of total offense. Salve totaled 440 yards of offense, led by Wilken's 36-of-53, 325-yard day with four scores. He also led the Seahawks with 60 yards rushing.
Hulme led all receivers in the game for Salve with 12 catches for 132 yards and three scores while Goldsberry paced MIT with six catches for 74 yards. On defense MIT was led by sophomore Tremaan Robbins (Signal Hill, Calif.) who recorded 10 tackles and broke up a pair of passes. Salve Regina was led by seniors Frank Musco (Montvale, N.J.) and Troy Smith (Madison, Conn.) and junior Danny Ives (Madison, Conn.) who all made six tackles for the Seahawks.
MIT will play away from home for the first time next week, taking on Curry College on Friday, October 3 at 7:00 p.m. Salve Regina will return to action on Saturday, October 4 when it hosts Nichols College at 1:00 p.m.