Offense Rewrites Record Book as Football Knocks Off Merchant Marine

Clark Ewen

WORCESTER -- Senior Julian Nyland (Melrose, MA) threw for a career-high 332 yards, and senior running backs Connor Field (Granby, CT) and Sean McAllen (Prospect, CT) each ran for 129 yards to power WPI past Merchant Marine 66-13 in a NEWMAC football contest played Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium.

The Crimson and Gray, the top ranked team for the fifth consecutive 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 7-0 on the season and 4-0 in conference play.  The 7-0 start is the second best in the program's 130-year history, only behind the 8-0 undefeated 1983 squad.  Merchant Marine dips to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in NEWMAC action.   

The 66 points is the most all-time in program history, while the 645 offensive yards amassed by the Engineers is the highest single-game output during head coach Chris Robertson's 10-year reign.  WPI amassed over 400 yards of first-half offense for third straight game.

McAllen, who eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for the third straight week and 14th time in his career, had an 80-yard rushing touchdown and a 78-yard receiving touchdown both on one-play drives after missed field goals.  He now has 3,336 career rushing yards, good for second all-time on Boynton Hill.

Nyland did all of his damage in the first half, completing 14-of-18 passes, throwing for three touchdowns.  He's now seventh all time in passing yards with 3,276, 126 yards away from sixth-place John Antonopoulos (3,402 yards).

Field, who has eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for the fourth time this season, ran for three touchdowns.  It's the second straight week Field has scored three touchdowns — last week at Catholic, Field had a receiving touchdown and two rushing touchdowns.

Senior Nic Rossi (Howell, NJ) hauled in seven passes for a career-best 125 yards and a touchdown, and senior Clark Ewen (Arlington, MA) added four catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.

Junior Bryce Wade (Modesto, CA) connected on all nine PATs, connected on a career-long 39-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, and contributed a tackle to stop a long kickoff return to end the first half.

Seniors Sam Casey (Winchester, MA) and Nick Ostrowski (Charlton, MA) had seven tackles apiece, to lead a first-team defense, which allowed just 127 first-half yards.  Carter McLellan (Davidson, NC) did the defense proud with a 17 yard scoop-and-score touchdown following a second quarter Merchant Marine fumble.  It was the senior's first career points.  

Sophomore Brian McGovern (Cranford, NJ) ran for 73 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, and sophomore Ian Blankenship (McRae, GA) rushed for 46 yards on 14 rushes and a touchdown for the Mariners.  Defensively, Merchant Marine was paced by freshman Colton Ray (Bellevue, OH) with five tackles, and junior Dylan Brown (Milton, WI) and sophomore Eric Davidson (Savannah, GA) had four stops apiece.

The game only took 2:15, as the two teams played nearly a penalty-free game, with each team only flagged for a single penalty for five yards.   The guests enjoyed a 34:42 to 25:18 edge in time of possession, while first downs were close with WPI holding a 22-17 edge.

WPI heads to defending NEWMAC champion MIT for a noon contest next Saturday in Cambridge.  After a bye week, Merchant Marine returns to the field on November 9th, hosting Catholic at noon.