Cambridge, MA --- Senior Blaine Bursey (Middleburg, FL) converted all four PAT attempts and all three field goal opportunities, including the overtime game-winner to lift WPI past MIT, 37-34, Friday night at Steinbrenner Stadium in the 2016 football opener for both institutions.
Worcester's Engineers, who made their first appearance in Cambridge since 2001, now own a 7-6-1 edge in the series that was rekindled last season. Both teams join the NEWMAC for football in 2017.
WPI won the coin toss in overtime and deferred. MIT quickly went three-and-out and missed a 42-yard field goal. The Crimson and Gray then rushed for a pair of yards before yielding to Bursey for the 19-yard chip shot.
The Boynton Hillers came up empty in their first two possessions but rallied from a pair of seven-point deficits to take the lead on a 23-yard field goal by Bursey with 8:09 remaining in the first half. MIT found the end zone early on its first drive of the game, a 57-yard march capped by a 15-yard strike from sophomore Udgam Goyal (Frisco, TX) to senior Matt Linsday (Batavia, IL).
WPI's third drive proved fruitful as it went 43 yards on nine plays, and used 4:39, to even it up thanks to freshman Sean McAllen's (Prospect, CT) four-yard plunge. The Cardinal and Gray quickly responded with a 74-play series, which was capped by a 45-yard TD pass caught by sophomore Eddy Garcia-Montes (Miami, FL). McAllen then snapped off a 74-yard run on the first play of the ensuing drive to even it up at 14-all. Following a MIT three-and-out, Bursey connected on his go-ahead field goal to finish off a 29-yard, six-play drive.
The Hockomock connection teamed up for its first touchdown with 8:32 left in the third as seniors Dan Eckler (Stoughton, MA) and Brandon Eccher (Franklin, MA) put WPI ahead 24-14 with a three-yard reception. They later made it 31-24 early in the fourth thanks to a 20-yard fade in the back of the end zone. Between the scores, senior Tucker Chyene (Avon, CT) kicked a 23-yard field goal, following a miss at 50-yards and a MIT fumble recovery, and freshman Sean Kent (Bend, OR) returned a punt for 70-yards to even the game at 24 with 21 seconds remaining in the third.
Bursey hit a 37-yarder to make it a 10-point game with 5:31 to play. MIT capitalized on an interception by junior Rob DiSanto (Havertown, PA) and a successful on-sides kick en route to bringing the game to a 34-34 stalemate with 10 seconds to go in regulation.
McAllen ran for 215 yards on 29 carries and scored a pair of first half touchdowns while Eccher scored twice in the second half. Eckler moved into fourth place in the WPI record book in career yards and completions with 4,424 and 299, respectively. Eckler finished 13-of-19 with 167 yards in the air and rushed for 38 yards on 12 attempts. Eccher totaled 77 yards on six receptions while sophomore Alex Domond (Cambridge, MA) added 48 yards on three catches. Senior Brian Murtagh (Wayland, MA) guided the defense with 15 tackles. Senior Jason Lamb (Plymouth, MA) and sophomore Sam Malafronte (Abington, MA) each chipped in with nine as sophomores Collin Saunders (Westwood, NJ) and Luca Cerasani (Abington, MA) were credited with eight. Cerasani notched a sack while Saunders, sophomore Blayne Merchant (Sanderson, FL) and classmate Brian Mahan (Ashland, MA) each logged a tackle for-loss.
Goyal racked up 258 yards on 24-of-40 passing and three touchdowns. Freshman John Robertson (Brentwood, TN) led MIT with 87 rushing yards on 24 chances. Garcia-Montes amassed 153 yards on 11 catches and a pair of scores. The MIT defense totaled six tackles for-loss, led by senior Matt Iovino (Sayville, NY) with a pair and senior Kevin Kusch (Mobile, AL) with a sack. Disanto returned the game's only interception for 33 yards. Iovino added six more tackles for a team-high eight and was followed by sophomore Mitch Maisel (Newtown, PA), Disanto, senior Kodiak Brush (Yorba Linda, CA) and sophomore Ben Boldt (Cedar Rapids, IA) with seven apiece.
WPI hosts Worcester State Friday night at 7pm while MIT entertains Becker in the middle game of a three-game homestand Saturday at 1pm.
Click HERE if the video does not appear below