MIT Football Falls to Nichols College, Still Looking for First Win

The MIT Engineers lost Saturday to the Nichols College Bisons at Nichols’ homecoming game 31-19. The Engineers came out strong, forcing a three-and-out right and responding by driving the ball down the field. The momentum was stifled, however, when MIT kicker Peter W. Gilliland ’12’s kick hit off the left upright. The Bisons, lead by quarterback Sean Smith-Vaughn, were able to drive downfield and take the lead on a 25-yard field goal.

The Cardinal and Grey responded quickly when backup quarterback Sean P. Kelly ’12, after starter Kyle T. Johnson ’11 left the game with a concussion, was able to lead the Engineers down the field. Captain DeRon M. Brown ’10 was able to punch in for the score and the Engineers took the lead 6-3 when the Bisons blocked the point-after attempt.

This would the only time the Engineers had the lead the entire day. The Bisons responded with vigor, scoring three unanswered touchowns in the second quarter; two were connections from Smith-Vaughn to senior receiver Mike Seiger on back-to-back possessions sandwiched in between an interception by the Bisons on one of Kelly’s passes. Bison tailback Robert Morris was able to push a third touchdown across the plane from the four-yard line to take the lead 24-6.

The Engineers were able to mount the beginning of a comeback as Kelly found Michael P. Fitzgerald ’10 for a 37 yard pass to bring MIT to the Nichols one-yard line. Brown was able to leap over the trenches for his second score of the day to tighten the gap to 24-13 with 19 seconds left in the opening half.

The third quarter was devoid of all scoring, with the two teams trading interceptions. With 8:12 left in the third quarter, Kelly’s pass was intercepted by Nichols’ Brandon Wallace. The Engineer defense was able to respond well to the sudden change, as defensive back Corey Garvey ’10 picked off a pass from Smith-Vaughn. Both the MIT and Nichols’ offenses were stalled by tough defensive efforts throughout the quarter.

The fourth quarter was filled with suspense, as Kelly was able to find Nathaniel C. Forbes ’12 with 6:30 left to go and bring the score to 24-19 after a failed two-point conversion. The Engineer defense was also able to hold the Bisons on two consecutive possessions, but a pass from Kelly to Forbes on the MIT 48 yard line with 1:26 to go was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, putting put the nail in the coffin and extinguishing any shot the Engineers had for a come-from-behind victory.

The team will continue to work towards their first win of the season under first-year Head Coach Chad Martinovich. There were also some bright spots in the game, but the team needs, according to defensive end Patrick T. Jupe 12, more “consistency. We are very streaky and sometimes can play very well and other times play very poorly, even within a quarter. We need to work on playing well for a full four quarters.” After reviewing some of the film, linebacker Kristopher C Weaver ’12 “was excited about how the defense played for most of the game, especially in the second half, but [they] made some mistakes that, with some film work, can be easily corrected and improved on for [University of Massachusetts] Dartmouth.”

The Engineers, now 0-3, will play the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Corsairs on Roberts Field in Steinbrenner Stadium at 1 p.m next Saturday.