WORCESTER, Mass. (Oct. 8, 2016) – Junior Justin Sydlowski's (Plymouth, Mich.) interception with 2:13 to play eventually led to a game-winning field goal by classmate Jake McDonough (Wilmington, N.C.) with 13 seconds left to lift Merchant Marine to a 45-44 victory over WPI in a Liberty League matchup Saturday afternoon at the Engineers' Alumni Stadium.
With their first Liberty League win on the road since the 2013 season, the Mariners move over .500 on the year, as they sit at 3-2 (2-1 Liberty). The Engineers drop to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in league action.
Trailing 44-42 with just over two minutes to play, Sydlowski picked off a pass on a WPI third and six. USMMA then marched 66 yards on 11 plays to setup the deciding field goal.
The game featured two lead changes after both teams held multiple-possession leads. WPI came back in the second half after being down 11 on three separate occasions and Merchant Marine erased a nine-point deficit with just 4:47 left in the fourth.
Junior quarterback Brice Moore (Pace, Fla.) had his second game of the year in which he produced three rushing TDs and two passing touchdowns to lead the Mariner offense. He ran for a game-high 150 yards and passed for 156 yards on 11-for-21 passing.
Sophomore Wiley Martin (Polo, Mo.) ran in a touchdown in the second quarter and finished the day with 86 yards on the ground. A pair of freshmen receivers, Luke Jamison (Tequesta, Fla.) and Joe Vitelli (Warrington, Pa.), both had TDs, as Jamison found the end zone after a 30-yard pass play to open the scoring in the day and Vitelli's four-yard reception late in the fourth boughtthe Mariners to within two points. Jamison finished with five catches for 65 yards, while Vitelli hauled in four for 36 yards.
Defensively, senior Joshua Woodburn (Huntingtown, Md.) had a team-high nine tackles and three other Mariners had five tackles each – Sydlowski, sophomore Brooks Cannell (Ambler, Pa.) and senior Marcus Kitchin (Arlington, Texas). Both Cannell and Kitchen each had a tackle for loss in the game. Senior Ian Stoner (Glen Allen, Va.) forced and recovered an Engineer fumble in the second quarter and had one tackle for a loss of four yards.
For WPI, senior quarterback Dan Eckler was 17-for-25 for 378 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Classmate Brandon Eccher was Eckler's top receiver with six catches for 123 yards and two TDs. Freshman Sean McAllen and sophomore Alex Domond both had TD receptions as well. On the ground, freshman Connor Field led the Engineers with 55 yards and one touchdown, while senior Steven Thulin also ran one in for WPI.
Up next, the Mariners will host RPI in Liberty League action next Saturday, Oct. 15, beginning at 1 p.m. at Brooks Stadium. Live stats and a live video feed of the game, with play-by-play man Jaden Daly on the call, will be available with links on the USMMA Football Schedule Page.
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