CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Playing at home for the first time this season, the MIT football team saw its offense come up with season highs in points and total offense as the Engineers knocked off Maine Maritime Academy, 51-26, this afternoon in the first New England Football Conference game of the season for both schools. Freshman Adis Ojeda (Springfield, Va.) sparked the MIT attack by rushing for 262 yards and three scores. Ojeda's big day was just seven yards shy of the MIT record for rushing yards in a game, and was the most by a freshman ever at the Institute.
Fumbles hurt Maine Maritime (1-2, 0-1 NEFC) in the first half, with the Mariners coughing it up six times. MIT (1-3, 1-0 NEFC) recovered three of them, including one by junior Anthony Emberley (Longmont, Colo.) that stopped a threat by Maritime at the MIT 15 on their first possession of the game. The Engineers took the turnover and drove 85 yards for the first score of the game, with senior Danny Callahan (Hinsdale, Ill.) hooking up with classmate Karson Ota (Katy, Texas) on a 58-yard scoring play. Freshman Nate Henderson (Kittery, Maine) blocked the extra point try, however, leaving MIT with a 6-0 lead.
Other than the long pass play, the MIT offense was stymied by the Maine Maritime defense, with the Mariners holding the Engineers to 81 yards on their first five possessions, minus the TD pass, and getting interceptions from senior Justin Lovely (West Gardiner, Maine) and sophomore Cody Gibbons (Naples, Maine). With the MIT offense sputtering, the Mariners took the lead early in the second quarter when sophomore Joshua Doolan (Fairfield, Maine) capped off a 68-yard drive with a nine yard run to make it 7-6.
Maine Maritime threatened again on their next possession after the second MIT interception, gaining a first and goal on the MIT 7. The Engineers defense held, however, with freshman Ben Boldt (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) coming up with a big tackle for loss on third down. After the hold on defense MIT managed to flip the field, driving into Maine Maritime territory before the drive faltered.
Fumbles then came up big for MIT, with the Engineers recovering miscues on each of the next two Mariner drives. The Engineers turned both into scores, with Ojeda scampering in from 20-yards out for one score, and sophomore John King (Atlanta, Ga.), who took over at quarterback for the Engineers, tossing a 39-yard TD pass to sophomore Jared Hansen (Benicia, Calif.) with 57 seconds left in the half to make it 20-7.
Maine Maritime quickly drove right back down the field, but another goal line stand by the MIT defense held the Mariners out of the end zone as time expired in the half.
The Mariners struck on the opening drive of the second half, as sophomore James Ferrar (Cumberland, Maine) ran for 31 yards on an 85-yard drive, including the last two into the end zone at the 11:04 mark that made it 20-14. From there Ojeda and the MIT offense took over, with the Engineers scoring a field goal and four touchdowns on their first five possessions of the half, with Ojeda closing the run with a 28-yard scoring jaunt that made it 44-20 with 5:38 left.
Maine Maritime picked up a pair of TD passes from senior Michael Fahey in the fourth quarter, one of 21 yards to sophomore Jordan Susi (South Portland, Maine) and one for 10 yards to freshman Derek Breunig (Westbrook, Maine), but it was too little, too late. Ojeda capped off his big day with a 49-yard scoring run with 1:42 left to ice it for the Engineers.
King was solid in the first significant playing time of his career, hitting on 13-of-17 passes for 166 yards and three scores. Ota went over 100 yards in receiving with 108, as did Hanson who hit the century mark on seven catches. Ferrar led Maine Maritime with 144 yards on 31 carries, while Fahey completed 12-of-25 passes for 165 yards while adding 61 yards on the ground. The teams combined for 1,032 yards of offense, with MIT out gaining Maritime, 538-494. Boldt led the MIT defense with nine tackles, including a pair for a loss. Senior Jeddy Doyon (Hampden, Maine) led the Mariners with seven stops.
MIT will be in action again next week, playing at Endicott on Saturday at Noon. Maine Maritime will also be back on the field next Saturday, hosting Coast Guard at Noon.