WASHINGTON D.C. --- Brian Mahan (Ashland, MA) registered three interceptions as the WPI defense forced five turnovers and Blake Rice (North Branford, CT) threw for three touchdowns as the Engineers went on the road and defeated Catholic 31-14 Saturday afternoon in the first-ever meeting between the two programs. The Crimson and Gray head into their bye week with a 4-2 overall record and 2-1 mark in NEWMAC play while Catholic slips to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in conference action.
It was the hosts that dented the scoreboard first as they held WPI on its opening drive and drove 90 yards in 10 plays capped by a 29-yard touchdown pass from Alejandro Ros (Miami, FL) to Trey Carson (Fredericksburg, VA).
The Cardinal defense kept guests off the scoreboard on their first four drives before WPI broke through on scores on their final three possessions of the first half. Rice began the onslaught when he found Alex Domond (Cambridge, MA) on a five-yard scoring pass with 5:36 left before halftime. The score was set up the first of Mahan's three picks on the day. After the Engineers forced a quick three-and-out, it took the offense only two plays - a Rice 28-yard connection to Sean McAllen (Prospect, CT) and a Connor Field (Granby, CT) 14-yard scoring run to give WPI an advantage they would not relinquish. Following another defensive stop, the guests drove down and got a 23-yard field goal from Spencer Herrington (Clearfield, PA) in the waning seconds before intermission to take a 17-7 edge into the locker room at the break.
WPI put together a nifty six-play, 57-yard drive late in the third quarter, finished off by an Erik Fyrer (Ipswich, MA) 25-yard touchdown catch. Catholic quickly countered with a 13-yard touchdown run to get with 10 at 24-14. The Engineers finished off the scoring with under a minute to go following a fumble recovery by Nabeel Tokatli (Worcester, MA) after a Luca Cerasani (Abington, MA) sack when Rice found Corey Coogan (North Kingston, RI) with a nine-yard touchdown pass.
Rice finished the day 18-28 for 210 yards and the three touchdowns. McAllen, the NEWMAC's second leading rusher, was a workhorse, toting the ball a career-best 30 times for 148 yards. It marked the fourth time this season and sixth in his career that the sophomore has reached triple digits on the ground. Rice and Field both added 40 yards of rushing. Fryer led the receivers with five receptions for 63 yards while Billy Mitchell (Groton, MA) and Coogan each hauled in three catches.
Cerasani had three sacks, including a pair of forced fumbles, among his seven tackles on the day. Blayne Merchant (Sanderson, FL) also amassed three tackles-for loss en route to a team-best 12 stops. Sam Casey (Winchester, MA) chipped in with eight tackles and Lou Garcia (Springfield, MA) added an interception and pass break-up.
On the day, WPI held commanding advantages in total offense (446-233), time of possession (36:51-23:09), and turnover margin (5-2).
After a weekend off for final exams, the Engineers host Merchant Marine at 2:30pm on Saturday, October 21st.