Big Plays Carry Becker Past MIT, 37-26

Senior Seve Esparrago
Senior Seve Esparrago

LEICESTER, Mass. – It was a tough day for the MIT football team on the gridiron this afternoon as Becker College used a high-powered offense that racked up 578 total yards to take a 37-26 win over the Engineers. Junior Jacob Holmes (Worcester, Mass.) had a record-setting 232 yards on the ground for the Hawks, including TD runs of 65 and 93 yards to lead Becker to the victory. Freshman Adis Ojeda (Springfield, Va.) also had a big day for MIT, gaining his first career 100-yard game with 174 yards and one score.

Becker (1-1) struck for 47 yards on the first offensive play of the game, as sophomore Nas Sinkfield-Shelton (New Rochelle, N.Y.) hit senior DeJahn Dawkins (East Hartford, Conn.) for the big gainer that set up a 26-yard field goal by Holmes. MIT (0-2) answered on its opening drive, going 66 yards in 13 plays to tie the game on a 31-yard field goal from junior Tucker Cheyne (Avon, Conn.). 

After the teams traded punts, Holmes broke free for his 65 yard score with less than a minute left in the first quarter to give the Hawks a lead they would not relinquish. Becker went on to score on its next three possessions, with Sinkfield-Shelton getting a three-yard scoring run sandwiched between a pair of Holmes field goals. MIT's offense was held by the Hawks to just one more field goal off the toe of Cheyne, this one from 30 yards out, as Becker took a 23-6 lead into the half. 

A 52-yard return of the second half kickoff by senior Seve Esparrago (St. Louis, Mo.) enabled MIT to strike quickly, with senior Danny Callahan (Hinsdale, Ill.) tossing a six-yard scoring pass to senior Karson Ota (Katy, Texas) just 1:33 into the half. Two plays later, however, Holmes broke off his 93-yard gallop, putting Becker back on top by 17.

MIT's defense then pulled the Engineers back into the game, forcing three turnovers on the next three Becker drives. Freshman Ben Boldt (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) picked up his first career interception for the first turnover, with sophomore Raoul Khouri (Miami, Fla.) and freshman Mitch Maisel (Newtown, Pa.) recovering a fumbles to account for the other two. The Engineers cashed in for 10 points on the miscues, getting six-yard scoring run from Ojeda and a 27-yard Cheyne field goal with a minute left in the third quarter that had MIT within a touchdown at 30-23.

MIT scored points again on its next drive as Cheyne set an MIT record with his fourth field goal in the contest, this one from 29 yards out with 12 minutes left to play on a drive that was set up when sophomore Charles Bachmeier (Bethpage, N.Y.) stopped Holmes for a two-yard loss at midfield on a fourth-and-one play. The two teams then traded punts before Becker came up with another big play, this one a 47-yard scoring pass from Sinkfield-Shelton to Holmes to make it 37-26 with 8:23 left. The turnover bug then hit the MIT offense, as the Engineers lost a fumble and threw a pair of interceptions to end their hopes of a comeback win.

Esparrago also set an MIT record in the game, returning seven kickoffs for 185 yards, breaking the old mark of 172 yards set by Brad Goldsberry '15 against Endicott in 2013. Juniors Tremaan Robbins (Long Beach, Calif.) and Anthony Emberley (Longmont, Colo.) each recorded nine tackles to pace the MIT defense.

MIT will play its third straight on the road to open the season next week, playing at RPI on September 19 at Noon. Becker will play at Nichols College on Friday night, September 18 at 7:00 p.m.