Football Falls to Kean in ECAC Presidents Bowl

Eric Laxroix

New Britain, CT ---  The Kean defense forced four turnovers and limited the WPI offense to 68 yards of offensive in the first half as the Cougars defeated the Engineers 24-6 in the ECAC Presidents Bowl at Central Connecticut State University's Arute Field on Friday night.  

WPI, who was playing in just its third postseason game in the 126-year history of Crimson and Gray football, finishes the 2015 season with a 7-4 record.  The seven wins equal the best since the 1992 campaign. Kean completes its season with a 8-3 and claimed the program's first ECAC Bowl win since 2009.         

The night started well for the Cougars on special teams as Kean recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff but Dereck Pacheco (Barnstable, MA) kept the game scoreless by blocking a 28-yard field goal attempt.  Following a WPI punt, the Cougars scored the only points of the opening quarter when Aryeh Moslavi (Fair Lawn, NJ) drilled a 27-yard field goal. 

Kean expanded its advantage in the second quarter on a pair of touchdowns from quarterbackCharles App (Staten Island, NY).  The sophomore found Matt Liparini (Closter, NJ) on a 18-yard strike with 10:08 to go before the intermission and connected with Jonathan Schmitt (Cliffside Park, NJ) on a 52-yard score less than four minutes later to help Kean to a 17-0 lead into the locker room at the break. 

The Kean defense took center stage in the third quarter as David Coleman (Jersey City, NJ) picked off an Engineer pass and scampered 42 yards for his first career touchdown midway through the frame. 

Zach Grasis (East Brookfield, MA) got WPI on the scoreboard but as normally accustomed.  The senior running back, who went over 2,900 career rushing yards in the contest, threw his first career touchdown pass when he found Chase Flibbert (Dudley, MA) on a nicely executed jump pass from two yards out from the "Wild Goat" formation.  

Grasis carried 28 times on the night for 102 yards, hitting the 100 yard mark for the fifth time this season and 16th in his career.  Quarterback Dan Eckler (Stoughton, MA) totaled 111 yards through the air and found favorite target Marcus Middleton (Stoughton, MA) three times for 50 yards. 

Damian Corredor (Weehawken, NJ) had an outstanding game on the ground for the Cougars.  The junior tailback totaled 156 yards on 28 carries and was named the game's Most Outstanding Player. Kyree Tyson-Jones (Newark, NJ) added 75 yards on 18 totes.  App finished 9-for-20 for 136 yards and the two touchdowns.  Schmitt led all players with four catches and 76 yards. 

Three WPI defensive players hit double digits in tackles.  Blayne Merchant (Sanderson, FL),Brian Murtagh (Wayland, MA) and Eric Lacroix (Methuen, MA) amassed 15, 13 and 13 stops receptively while Torin Zonfrelli (Carver, MA) chipped in with nine.  Stephan Lewis(Franklinville, NJ ) recorded 13 tackles for the Cougars and Darin Hungerford (Dumfries, VA) added 12.  Tom Winters (Brick, NJ) logged 2.5 sacks for the Cougars, totaling 27 yards. 

Kean enjoyed 397-215 bulge in total yardage while the Engineers held a 32:26-27:34 advantage in time of possession.