Worcester, MA --- Senior Patrick Conlan (Sewickley, PA) completed 22 of 38 passes for a career-high 257 yards and three touchdowns to three different receivers as nationally-ranked Hobart defeated host WPI, 28-14, on Saturday afternoon in a Liberty League football matchup at Alumni Stadium.
The Statesmen, ranked No. 9 in this week's D3Foootball.com Top 25, improves to 5-0 while the Engineers are now 1-4.
After trading punts, Hobart took the lead with 8:33 left in the first quarter as Conlan connected with sophomore Sean Cunningham (Geneva, NY) for a 31-yard touchdown reception. Following three more punts, the Statesmen chewed up nearly five minutes on a 12-play 56-yard touchdown drive capped by a junior Conner Hartigan (Albany, NY) one-yard plunge just six ticks into the second frame. After a three-and-out by the Engineers, Hobart used a six-play 57-yard drive, highlighted by a 43-yard reception by senior Elvin Souffrant (Randolph, MA), to claim the 21-0 lead while classmate John Fasano (Clyde, NY) scampered four yards for the score.
The WPI defense, aided by a key pass breakup by junior Sean Murphy (Mattapoisett, MA), forced the Statesmen to turn the ball over on downs just outside the red zone with 5:52 left in the half. Murphy took down the Hobart play-caller narrowly causing an interception on second down and the subsequent plays only netted a total of six yards. The Engineers ran 10-plays for 31 yards that ended at the 26 yard line when the hosts turned it over on downs with 30 seconds left before the break. Hobart added another score late in the third quarter when senior Mike Berkowitz (Bolton Landing, NY) hauled in a four-yard TD with 3:05 left in the frame to make it 28-0 in favor of the Statesmen.
With 9:34 left in the game, WPI sophomore quarterback Dan Eckler (Stoughton, MA) found classmate Brandon Eccher (Franklin, MA) amid a swarm of Statesmen to put the Engineers on the board with 9:31 to go in the game. Keyed by senior Oliver Sullivan's (Hingham, MA) sack on second down, the Boynton Hillers held Hobart the first of two consecutive three-and-outs that resulted in a total of minus 12 yards. The Statesmen went three-and-out once more after junior Tyler Gumkowski (Montclair, NJ) picked off the Engineers with 2:50 to go. WPI sliced its deficit to two scores courtesy of a 10-yard reception from Eckler to Eccher with 44 seconds left on the clock.
Sophomore Sean Kirshe (Lakewood Ranch, FL) converted all four extra points while sophomore Blaine Bursey (Middleburg, FL) went 2-for-2 for the Engineers. Kirshe and junior Parker Thelander (Larchmont, NY) combined for 228 punting yards with the latter sticking one inside the 20. Junior Vinny Tavernelli (Plymouth, MA) once again out-punted his opponents with 390 yards on 10 kicks, including a 50-yarder.
For the second consecutive week, sophomore Brian Murtagh (Wayland, MA) led the Engineers in tackles with 10 (seven solo). Sophomore Devin Duarte (Newbury Park, CA) had nine solo tackles while senior Ryan Mathie (Smithtown, NY), senior Robert Harasimowicz (Gardner, MA) and sophomore Kevin Lynch (East Bridgewater, MA) were credited with eight apiece. Hobart was led by juniors Trayvon Toney (Huntington Station, NY) and Jacob Stanley (Palm Beach Gardens, FL) with six each.
Eckler threw for 179 yards on 20 of 49 passing with nine of them going to senior Anthony Andre (Chelmsford, MA) for 80 yards and six to Eccher, including a pair of TDs. Junior Alex Furtado (Weymouth, MA) and Hartigan each ran for 34 yards on 10 carries for Hobart while Souffrant logged a game-high 83 yards on six receptions.
Hobart converted 18 of the 30 first downs in the game, while the Engineers held the slim 10-9 advantage in the second half. The Statesmen also held a 262-185 bulge in total yards and a 38:36 to 21:24 margin in time of possession. Both teams were perfect in the red zone as Hobart was 3-for-3 and WPI was 2-for-2. The guests also converted five third downs and three fourth down conversions, including the first two for touchdowns.
Both teams are in action next Saturday at home. WPI welcomes Union to Worcester at 1pm as part of homecoming weekend while Hobart entertains Springfield at noon.