Football earns first win in home opener

51-26 win over Maine Maritime comes after losses at season’s start

Fans, immersed in gray and cardinal, flooded the stands of Steinbrenner Stadium to cheer on the MIT football team in its first home game of the season. The Engineers notched their first win of the season by an impressive 51-26 score line over Maine Maritime on the back of a dominant performance from running back Adis T. Ojeda ’19, who ran for a mammoth 262 yards including 3 touchdowns.

Despite an upsetting start to the season, highlighted by losses against WPI, Becker College, and Rensselaer, the team managed to pull through. Anthony M. Emberley ’17, captain and outside linebacker, described the win as a “great [moment] seeing everyone on the team happy,” but added that he was “still eager to do better next week.”

Last year, the Engineers won ten consecutive games, culminating in MIT’s first NCAA playoff win against Hudson — a historic season for MIT’s football program. The team is seeking to uphold its reputation and deliver the same excitement as the previous season. Brian W. Copeland ’19, captain and left tackle, claimed that the team’s “goal is every week to go out and win on Saturday, or as [the] coaches like to say, going 1-0 every week.”

Coach Brian Bubna repeatedly stresses the importance of defending the conference championship to the team. “The team’s goal is to make playoffs and win the conference, [then] go as far as we can in playoffs,” defensive end Tyler J. Wasser ’19 said.

The team holds considerable promise for the rest of the season. While many players are highly skilled at their positions, the chemistry between teammates plays a major role in the team’s success. Free safety Riley C. Quinn ’19 emphasized the “great chemistry, mental tightness, and work ethic” that helped boost the team’s performance. Copeland later added: “Our biggest strengths as a team are our discipline and hard work. Getting into and attending MIT forces you to have these traits and we’re able to leverage them on the football field.”

“We’re working on being consistent throughout the game in all three phases, and the defense especially is putting emphasis on pursuing the football,” linebacker Andrew J. Denucci ’19 said.

Emberley commented on the team’s enthusiasm for the game: “We could [improve on] getting excited about big plays on the field and being ‘pumped up’ for games.” Nonetheless, the team agrees that the fan support from the home game on Saturday was impressive, better than most years in the past.

Laura Yechensky ’19 remarked, “A lack of specific student sections makes starting cheers a little more difficult, but MIT’s fans love the team.” The team hopes for bigger turnouts and greater fan involvement for future home games as the Engineers look to defend their conference title.