Worcester, MA --- Running back Al Georgio (West Greenwich, RI) and quarterback Keyen Foley (Hemet, CA) combined to rush for 343 yards and three touchdowns to propel visiting Norwich to a 31-14 victory over WPI in a non-conference football contest played on Saturday afternoon. Both teams are now 1-2 on the season before beginning conference action.
The first half was a defensive slugfest with both teams forcing a turnover and combining for eight punts and no penalties in a 53-minute opening half. Norwich broke through for the only scoring in the opening 30 minutes when Georgio scampered in from 11 yards out to cap a 10-play 60-yard drive with 6:55 remaining in the first quarter.
The Cadets took the opening kickoff of the second half and moved deep in WPI territory behind 56 total yards from Georgio before Wesley Medeiros (Gilford, NH) booted a 22-yard field goal. After a WPI interception, the visitors embarked upon 13-play, 67-yard drive culminating in a 6-yard Foley run and Medeiros PAT to push the advantage to 17-0.
WPI dented the scoring column on the opening play of the fourth quarter when Jacob Grills (East Lyme, CT) hit Ehab Hamdan (Revere, MA) on 23-yard strike on fourth and goal. Norwich answered on the ensuing drive and saw Georgio haul in a four-yard touchdown pass from Foley to end a 12-play, 81-yard drive that took 6:06 off the clock. The Engineers responded with a quick 5-play, 75-yard drive that again saw Grills and Hamdan hook up, this time for a 25-yard scoring pass, and Blaine Bursey (Middleburg, FL) added his second PAT of the game to slash the advantage to 24-14.
After WPI forced a Norwich punt, Dominique Davis (Kissimmee, FL) corralled the Cadets third interception of the day and two plays later Georgio galloped 33 yards for his third score of the game to push the score to 31-14.
Georgio totaled 193 yards on the ground on 27 carries to go along with four catches for 45 yards. Foley ran the option to perfection, amassing 150 yards rushing on 19 carries and connecting on 12-of-20 passing for 133 yards and the touchdown to Georgio.
Zach Grasis (East Brookfield, MA) led the WPI rushing attack with 15 carries for 106 yards, his second 100-yard performance of the season and fourth of his career. Hamdan registered seven catches for 109 yards, including the two scores. Grills came off the bench to throw for 117 yards. Brian Marsh (Wynantskill, NY) chipped in with three receptions for 23 yards.
Dane Pallotto (Westbrook, CT) and Nick Delicata (Medford Lakes, NJ) paced a balanced Norwich defensive effort with a pair of interceptions and sacks respectively. Jimmy Labell (Stanhope, NJ) posted a team-high six tackles, including one for loss.
Eric Lacroix (Methuen, MA) had a career-day defensively for the Engineers, tallying a career-best 15 tackles (14 solo). Jake Brown (Fall River, MA) and Robert Harasimowicz (Gardner, MA) chipped in with nine and eights stops respectively while Peter Salem (Dracut, MA) added a sack and an additional tackle-for-loss. Vincent Tavernelli (Plymouth, MA) gave the Crimson and Gray a boost in the punting game, averaging 43.2 yards on five boots.
Norwich enjoyed a 507-295 advantage in total yards and held the ball nearly an extra 15 minutes (37:25-22:35). The Cadets fumbled four times but only lost one and did not thrown an inception on the day.
At halftime, WPI honored members of the 1983 team, the last undefeated, untied Engineer squad. Over 30 players and coaches were in attendence, including head coach Bob Weiss.
WPI opens conference play next Saturday, hosting Transit Trophy and Liberty League rival Rensselaer on Homecoming at 1pm while Norwich is back in action in two weeks, entertaining Becker at 2pm.
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