Worcester, Mass. -- November 10, 2012 -- Springfield College struck for a pair of touchdowns in the final 1:05 of the first half and added two more TDs 12 seconds apart less than three minutes into the second half to propel the visiting Pride to a 62-23 victory over WPI in the Liberty League football regular-season finale for both squads.
WPI sees its season end with a 2-8 overall record and 1-6 mark in conference play while Springfield, which awaits a possible ECAC Post-Season Bowl bid on Monday, is now 7-3 on the year and finishes 5-2 in Liberty League action.
SC places third in its inaugural season in the Liberty League.
SC now owns a 27-0-2 record versus WPI in the series, which dates back to 1902. In the 29 games played between these two teams, the 62 points is the most that SC has scored in any one game. And it is the second time that SC has topped the 60-point mark this season (the Pride earlier defeated the Merchant Marine Academy, 66-13).
After the two teams each came up empty on their initial offensive possession, Springfield got the scoring started when senior RB Mike Davis (Madison, Conn.) ran for 42 yards for a score with 6:05 left in the first quarter. That capped off a five-play, 73-yard drive.
WPI answered right back, when John Antonopoulos (Cambridge, Mass.) hit Trev Rancourt (Nashua, N.H.) for a 26-yard gain down to the 10-yard line setting up a 24 yard field goal by Mitch Lewis (Farmington, Conn.). The Lewis boot with 1:41 left in the quarter sliced the Springfield advantage to 7-3.
The WPI defense gave the Engineers its only lead of the contest early in the second quarter when Shaine Grogan (Dalton, Mass.) recovered an errant pitch and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was blocked, making the score 9-7 with 13:07 left in the half.
Springfield then rattled off the next five touchdowns. Freshman FB Keith Rodman (Northvale, N.J.) put the Pride ahead for good when he plunged up the middle for 13 yards for the score. The 2-point conversion attempt failed, and the score remained Springfield, 13-9.Rodman put Springfield on the board again with a 1-yard run with 1:05 left before the intermission, After a quick three-and-out, the Pride would score again with just 24 seconds remaining in the half when freshman QB Jonathan Marrero (Boston, Mass.) hit Davis on a 67-yard pass right up the middle. That gave the visitors a 27-9 lead heading into the break.
In the third quarter, Springfield began where it left off in the first half when senior FB Joel Altavesta (Tewksbury, Mass.) ran it in from 1-yard out with 12:55 left. The drive started when the Engineers muffed a punt snap, turning the ball over at their own 15 yard line.
SC would again recover a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and Altavesta scored on the very next play from 19 yards away. With a successful extra point, Springfield quickly pushed its lead to 41-9 with 12:43 remaining in the third quarter.
WPI stopped the scoring run late in the third quarter when Christopher O’Connor (Bellerose, N.Y.) recovered a fumble, and on the next play, Antonopoulos hit Ehab Hamdan (Revere, Mass.) for a 58-yard touchdown pass.
Springfield scored the first two touchdowns of the fourth quarter when Altavesta ran 34 yards for his third touchdown of the day with 13:05 left. Then freshman FB Louis Fenaroli (Newtown, Conn.) scampered 48 yards for a score with 5:45 remaining. That made it, 55-15, SC.
Gallagher Hogan (Portsmouth, N.H.) scored for WPI on a 2-yard touchdown run with 2:58 left.
Then junior DL Max Ford (Bloomfield, Conn.) closed out the scoring with an 11-yard look-what-I-found fumble recovery for SC with 1:02 left in the contest.
Altavesta led the Pride’s running attack with 168 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries (7.6 avg.). Davis chipped in with 102 yards on 10 carries (10.2 avg.) and the 67-yard scoring reception. Fenaroli (14.5 avg.) and Rodman also chipped in with 87 and 58 yards rushing yards respectively, while Marrero ended the day with 46 yards on the ground and 3-of-5 passing for 87 yards and one TD.
Freshman LB Matt Berni (Scarsdale, N.Y.) and senior LB Kevin Shields (Melville, N.Y.) each anchored the Springfield defensive effort with five stops. The Pride forced six turnovers on the day, including three fumbles and three interceptions.
SC outgained the Engineers, 590 yards to 270 in total offense. SC outrushed WPI, 503 yards to 66. The Pride is now averaging 338.9 yards rushing on the season. They were averaging 320.7 entering the game in that category.
For WPI, Hamden led the day offensively with a career-best showing. The junior hauled in five receptions, including a touchdown, for 121 yards. Hogan rushed for 80 yards and a score on 17 carries. Antonopoulos passed for 204 yards. Joey Allen (Yarmouthport, Mass.) led WPI with nine tackles while Joe Everett (Columbia, Conn.) capped a standout season for the Engineers with seven stops. O’Connor recovered two fumbles for the Crimson and Gray.
As mentioned, SC now awaits a possible ECAC Bowl bid when the berths are decided on Monday.