DUDLEY, Mass. – MIT scored a pair of touchdowns in each in the first two quarters and went on to score at least one TD in every quarter as the Engineers rolled past Nichols College, 52-20, in a New England Football Conference (NEFC) game this afternoon. The victory continued MIT's school-record winning streak to start a season as the Engineers moved to 5-0 and 3-0 in the NEFC. Senior quarterback Peter Williams (Portland, Ore.) matched his own school record with five TD passes, while junior Seve Esparrago (St. Louis, Mo.) became the third Engineer this season to score four touchdowns in a game.
MIT started quickly in the contest, scoring on its first two possessions. Just three and a half minutes into the game Williams hit Esparrago from 36 yards out for the first of what would be three scoring plays for the pair. On their second drive the Engineers picked up a key 49-yard run by senior Justin Wallace (Palatine, Ill.) that set up a one-yard, Williams to Esparrago play, to make it 14-0 with 5:59 left in the first quarter.
Esparrago completed his four-touchdown day in the second quarter when he and Williams hooked up again on a five-yard pass play before he scored on a 47-yard run with 6:46 left in the half. Nichols (1-6, 0-4 NEFC) finally got on the board late in the half when the Bison took advantage of a short punt to start a drive on the MIT 35. On the first play of the drive junior Bryan Hummel (Dedham, Mass.) hit freshman Mike Abbruzzese (Natick, Mass.) for 29 yards, setting up a three-yard scoring run by Senior Felipe Njeim (Stoughton, Mass.).
A 25-yard punt return by Esparrago midway through the third quarter set up the next MIT score, an 18-yard scoring toss from Williams to sophomore Harris Stolzenberg (Weston, Fla.), that made it 35-6 with 4:42 left in the quarter. Nichols answered on its next possession, getting a 52-yard pass play from Hummel to senior Brett Franciosi (Leominster, Mass.) that set up Njeim's second scoring run of the day, this one from two yards out with less than a minute to go in the third.
Just four plays later MIT was in the end zone again as Williams teamed with Stolzenberg on a 20-yard scoring play just six seconds into the fourth to put the game out of reach. Senior Sebastian Fischer (Piedmont, Calif.) booted a 21-yard field goal and freshman Luke Gray (North Hampton, N.H.) added a 28-yard TD run to complete the scoring for MIT. Nichols added a fourth quarter, 15-yard TD pass from Hummel to Franciosi to close out its scoring on the afternoon.
MIT racked up 493 yards of total offense; with Wallace rushing for 162 yards and Williams completing 18-of-26 passes for 195 yards. Esparrago finished with 65 yards rushing, 93 receiving and 68 in returns to put together a 226 all-purpose yards for the afternoon. Nichols put up 315 yards of offense; with Njeim leading the ground game with 65 yards while Hummel completed 10-of-24 passes for 180 yards. Esparrago and Stolzenberg combined to catch 13 passes for 166 yards and five touchdowns, while Franciosi and Abbruzzese totaled eight catches for 163 yards between them.
Sophomore Kodiak Brush (Yorba Linda, Calif.) led the MIT defense with nine tackles, with sophomore Anthony Emberley (Longmont, Colo.) making seven stops, including a sack. Sophomore Austin de Maille (Newbury Park, Calif.) picked up his first interception of the season, returning it 67 yards to setup the Engineers field goal in the third quarter. Nichols was led by 11 tackles from junior Connor Richard (Londonderry, N.H.).
MIT will play its only home game in October next week when the Engineers host Western New England University in a battle of the NEFC's two undefeated teams on Saturday at 5 p.m. Nichols will also play at home next Saturday, hosting Maine Maritime Academy at Noon.