Worcester, MA --- Quarterback John Antonopoulos (Cambridge, MA) accounted for four touchdowns and passed for a career-best 347 yards and defensive back Mitch McClune (Pembroke, MA) set a school record with four interceptions as host WPI got its first Liberty League conference victory of the season with a 36-17 win over St. Lawrence on Saturday afternoon. The Engineers are now 2-6 overall and 1-4 in conference play while St. Lawrence slips to 0-8 in 2012 and 0-5 in Liberty League action.
WPI used its defense to set up its first score. John Kilfoil (Bourne, MA) sacked the SLU quarterback whose fumble was recovered by Joe Everett (Columbia, CT) at the Saints 42 yard line. Five plays later Antonopoulos danced in from two yards out to dent the scoring column 3:54 into the contest.
The two teams traded field goals on their next possessions with Chris Dris (Tampa, FL) connecting from 31 for the visitors and Mitch Lewis (Farmington, CT) drilling a 28-yarder for the Engineers.
WPI sprinted ahead in the second quarter with a pair of touchdowns. Antonopoulos connected with Ehab Hamden (Revere, MA) on a nine-yard scoring strike with 7:00 left and then the Engineers, set up by McClune's first pick of the day, punched another score in 54 seconds before halftime when Antonopoulos found Aaron Marshall (Acushnet, MA) from 12 yards out to make the score 22-3.
After neither team was able to generate more than a single first down on the first five drives of the second half, St. Lawrence sliced the lead to 22-10 with a bit of trickery. Quarterback Danny Metzgler (Natick, MA) threw a lateral to wide receiver Joseph Battaglia (Brewerton, NY), who then hit Colby Johnson (North Attleboro, MA) with a 27-yard touchdown pass with 3:11 left in the third quarter
The Saints got closer on the third play in the fourth as Metzgler found Evan Shifley (Winthrop, MA) with a 34-yard scoring strike to pull St. Lawrence to within five at 22-17. The two teams trades punts before WPI broke the game open with an Antonopoulos to Anthony Andre (Chelmsford, MA) 6-yard touchdown connection and a Gallagher Hogan (Portsmouth, NH) 1-yard touchdown plunge. McClune, who also notched interceptions in the third quarter and midway through the fourth closed out the game with an interception in the end zone as time expired.
Antonopoulos ended the day completing 26-of 47 passes for the 347 yards and three touchdowns. Receivers Marshall and Trev Rancourt (Nashua, NH) both enjoyed career days. Marshall hauled in seven catches for 111 yards while Rancourt caught six balls for 130 yards. Metzgler ended his day with 229 yards passing on 27-of-45. Shifley amassed seven catches for 88 yards while Johnson notched five receptions for 77 yards. Running back Jake Gnieser (Dix Hills, NY) led all players with 91 yards on the ground.
In addition in McClune, Shaine Grogan (Dalton, MA) and Michael Grasis (East Brookfield, MA) paced the WPI defensive attack with 10 tackles each. Leondre Simmon (Freeport, NY) tallied eight stops for the Saints, while Joe Napolitano (Tewksbury, MA) registered seven tackles, including a play on their goal line that forced and recovered a fumble that prevented a WPI touchdown in the second quarter. Shane Hart (Barre, VT) recorded a pair of sacks for the visitors.
For the game, WPI enjoyed a 396-334 advantage in total yards while St. Lawrence had a slight edge in time of possession (31:22-28:38).
Both teams are back in action next Saturday. WPI heads to Rochester for a noon match-up while St. Lawrence entertains nationally-ranked Hobart at 1:30pm.