Washington, DC --- Quarterback Julian Nyland (Melrose, MA) tossed three first quarter touchdowns and Connor Field (Granby, CT) ran for three touchdowns and caught a fourth score as undefeated WPI went on the road on and topped Catholic 52-24 in a NEWMAC football contest played Saturday afternoon in our nation's capital.
The Engineers, the number one team for the fourth straight week in the Grinold Chapter New England Division III Top 10 and receiving votes in both the D3football.com and AFCA Top 25s, are now 6-0 overall and 3-0 in conference action. Six consecutive wins to begin the season matches the 1938 and 1954 squads, who completed 6-0 undefeated campaigns, and trails only the undefeated 8-0 1983 team for the best start in the 130-year history of WPI football.
WPI scored on its first four drives. Nyland began the scoring by connecting with Clark Ewen (Arlington, MA) on a 22-yard scoring strike just 3:13 into the game and followed that with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Phillip Durgin (Wrentham, MA) just over two minutes later and a 5-yard scoring toss to Connor Field (Granby, CT) in the final minute of the opening stanza.
The Crimson and Gray tallied three more touchdowns in the second quarter with Field accounting for a pair of one-yard touchdown plunges sandwiched around a Fabrizio Reilly (Chevy Chase, MD) 24-yard field goal for Catholic. The final minute of the first half was wild as Nyland score ran one in from 10 yards out for WPI with 41 seconds remaining only to see the Cardinals score as time expired when Brady Berger (Charlotte, NC) hit Preston Jeffrey (Carrollton, VA) with a 25-yard touchdown pass.
For the second game in a row, the WPI rolled up over 400 yards in the opening 30 minutes, accounting for 401 total yards and scoring touchdowns on all six possessions in the first half.
Field notched his fourth touchdown of the day on a 4-yard plunge midway through the third quarter and Bryce Wade (Modesto, CA), who was a perfect 7-for-7 on PATs, booted a 27-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Berger threw a pair of second half TD passes for the hosts, finding Nick Gonzalez (Miami, FL) from 14 yards out in the third quarter and connecting with Colin McNulty (Akron, MA) on a 1-yard score on the fourth.
Nyland was 10-for-13 passing for 190 yards and three touchdowns, doing all of his damage in the first half. Sean McAllen (Prospect, CT) led the rushing attack with 164 yards on 18 carries, despite only playing one second half series. It marked the second straight game the senior has gone over 100 yards and the 13th time in his career. Field finished with 87 yards on 17 carries, including three touchdowns on the group and a fourth through the air. Nic Rossi (Howell, NJ) caught a pair of lone passes in the first quarter (for a career-best 118 yards) that set up two short touchdowns.
Nick Ostrowski (Charlton, MA) led a balanced WPI defensive with eight tackles while Sam Casey (Winchester, MA) chipped in with five. Carter McLellan (Davidson, NC), Mike McGoff (Ashland, MA) and Tommy Feraco (Holden, MA) all registered sacks and Jack Gerulskis (Southboro, MA) chipped in with a pair of tackles-for-loss.
For Catholic, Berger threw for 252 yards and the three touchdown passes. Gonzalez posted team-highs in receptions (5) and receiving yards (76) and Andrew Comeau (Brookeville, MD) rushed for 42 yards on 13 totes. Jake Ballard (Chester Springs, PA) accumulated a game-best 11 tackles and Drew Thomas (Clinton, MD).
The Engineers finished the day with a season high in points (52) and held significant edges in total offense (509-305) and time of possession (35:55-24:05). Neither team turned the ball over while the WPI offense line did not allow a sack on the day.
WPI returns home next Saturday to face Merchant Marine, which lost to Springfield Saturday 45-34, in a match-up of teams separated by just one game in NEWMAC play. Kickoff is slated for 2:30pm. Catholic (0-6, 0-3 NEWMAC) heads to aforementioned Springfield the same day for a 1pm contest.