Football Ousted From NCAA Playoffs by Wesley College

Senior Brad Goldsberry
Senior Brad Goldsberry

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A dream season that saw the MIT football team win its first 10 games came to a close today as Wesley College took advantage of early mistakes to score 35 first quarter points on its way to a 59-0 win in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Division III Football Playoffs. Ranked 24th in the final AFCA poll of the season, MIT saw its season end with a 10-1 record. Fifth-ranked Wesley improved to 11-1 and will move on to play Hobart College in the quarterfinals. 

After receiving the opening kickoff, MIT got off to a promising start when senior quarterback Peter Williams (Portland, Ore.) picked up a first down on an 11-yard run, but the drive stalled at the MIT 43 when he was sacked on 3rd-and-8. Starting on their own 30, Wesley quickly drove into MIT territory where the Wolverines looked to be stopped when they faced a 4th-and-10 at the MIT28. Wesley went for it, converting on an 11-yard pass from Joe Callahan to Robert Wiggs. Two plays later Bryce Shade ran it in from 16 yards out for the first points of the game.

On MIT's next play Williams was intercepted by Leroy Cheatham who returned it 42 yards for a score. The Engineers picked up a first down on their next drive on a 12-yard run by senior Justin Wallace (Palatine, Ill.), but a pair of incomplete passes halted the drive near midfield. Freshman Jared Hanson (Benicia, Calif.) saw his punt blocked, with Andre Connally scooping up the ball and returning it 35 yards for a score. Williams was picked off again on the next MIT drive and Wesley immediately cashed in, with Callahan hitting Steve Koudossou for a 41-yard score on the Wolverines first play, completing a 28-point blitz that took just 2:10. Callahan completed the first quarter uprising with a 16-yard TD pass to Shade with 19 seconds left on the clock.

Wesley added another Callahan TD pass before MIT's offense could get on track. Midway through the second quarter the Engineers drove to the Wesley 15 on a Williams to senior Brad Goldsberry (Elizabeth, Colo.) pass, but on the next play an MIT fumble gave the ball back to the Wolverines. MIT did not threaten again for the rest of the half and Callahan added a 32-yard scoring pass to Shade with 1:43 left that put the Wolverines on top, 49-0, at the break. 

MIT, which was held to 206 yards of offense in the contest, could not make much headway against Wesley in the third quarter, gaining just 11 yards. The Wolverines put the finishing touches on the win with a 69-yard TD run by Ben Martin and a 24-yard field goal for the final margin. The Engineers threatened again in the fourth quarter when Williams completed passes of 11 yards to junior Seve Esparrago (St. Louis, Mo.) and seven yards to Goldsberry to get the Engineers to the Wesley 14. Williams, who was sacked eight times, was dropped for a 20-yard loss on the next play by Derek Lauria to end the threat. With less than five minutes left Williams put the Engineers back into Wesley territory with a 30-yard completion to junior Eric Gan (College Station, Texas). MIT then picked up a first and goal when Williams found sophomore Harris Stolzenberg (Weston, Fla.) for a 10-yard gain, but three straight incompletions put the brakes on the drive.

Williams finished with 138 yards on 13-of-30 passing, but was intercepted four times by the Wesley defense. Goldsberry led the Engineers with 61 yards on the ground and also caught three passes for 25 more yards. Esparrago led the MIT receivers with five catches for 35 yards.

Wesley totaled 547 yards of offense, with Callahan completing 21-of-26 for 268 yards and four scores. Shade had six catches for 104 yards and a pair of TDs, while Koudossou also had six receptions, going for 71 yards and one score. Martin finished with 106 yards on the ground for the Wolverines.

As he did in MIT's first round win at Husson, senior Cameron Wagar (West Richland, Wash.) led the MIT defense and all players with 24 tackles, while also recovering a fumble. Sosthene Kapepula led Wesley with eight tackles.