CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Salve Regina University stayed in contention for the New England Football Conference (NEFC) title this afternoon with a convincing, 56-27, win over MIT. Junior Brandon Basil (Northford, Conn.) threw for five touchdowns, all in the first half, to lead the Seahawks to the victory. Freshman Udgam Goyal (Frisco, Texas) threw for 251 yards in his second career start for the Engineers.
Two quick scoring drives opened the game for both squads. After stopping MIT on the first possession of the contest, Salve Regina (6-1, 4-1 NEFC) got on the board first when junior Sam Pascale (Cheshire, Conn.) eluded tacklers on an 18-yard scoring run that capped off a 64-yard drive that took just 2:29. MIT (1-7, 1-4 NEFC) answered back on its next possession, going 53 yards in just 2:55, scoring when Goyal hit senior Nathan Varady (Fayetteville, Ark.) from 12 yards out. Junior Cory Betz (Mine Hill, N.J.) blocked the extra point, however, leaving the Seahawks with a one-point edge.
Basil, who completed 16-of-20 attempts for 248 yards, warmed up on Salve's next drive. He hit sophomore James Dawson (Oradell, N.J.) for 31 yards on a third-and-16 play to keep the drive alive and then capped it off with his first TD pass of the day, finding junior Garrett Rupe (Peckville, Pa.) from 20 yards out to make it 14-6.
Early in the second quarter Goyal was picked off by junior Joey Farrar (Watertown, Mass.) and Salve Regina turned the miscue into points just three plays later when Basil connected with senior Mitch Graziano (Kingston, Mass.), who escaped a couple of tackle attempts on a 45-yard scoring play. A 45-yard return of the ensuing kickoff by freshman Miguel Wagner (El Segundo, Calif.) put MIT in business inside Salve territory and the Engineers delivered on their good field position. Goyal threw for 49 yards on the drive, including the last 21 to senior Karson Ota (Katy, Texas) to pull MIT back to 21-13 with 7:53 left in the half.
Basil then broke the game open for Salve Regina, tossing scoring passes on each of the next three possessions by the Seahawks. He connected with Graziano again for a 10-yard score and then found senior Alex Hulme (Hopkinton, Mass.) on a 16-yard play with 26 seconds left in the half. The Seahawks then recovered the an on-side kick and turned it into a 10-yard Basil to Hulme play with eight seconds left in the half that made it 42-13.
In the third quarter the Salve Regina defense held MIT to just 44 yards of offense and just 1:58 of possession time while the offense delivered two more scores to put the game out of reach for the Engineers. MIT did get a pair of fourth quarter TDs, as freshman Adis Ojeda (Springfield, Va.) picked up a three-yard scoring run and Goyal found Ota in the back of the end zone from 29 yards out to complete the scoring with 7:06 left in the game.
Salve Regina put up 510 yards of offense, allowing 303 to MIT. Pascale led the Seahawks ground game with 149 yards on 19 attempts while Graziano finished with seven catches for 125 yards and a pair of scores to lead the receivers. Goyal accounted for his 251 yards by completing 19 of his 30 attempts, hitting Ota six times for 115 yards. On defense sophomore Mitch Turley (Westfield, Ind.) led MIT with eight tackles, while junior Ethan Gambale (Mays Landing, N.J.) led Salve Regina with six stops.
MIT will play its final home game of the season next week, hosting Nichols College on Nov. 7 in a game that has moved its start time from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. due to the Engineers hosting the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) soccer tournaments. Salve Regina will host Maine Maritime Academy on Saturday starting at 1 p.m.