WORCESTER, Mass. (Oct. 23, 2015) – The USMMA football team lost its Liberty League contest against WPI, 38-8, on the road Friday night at the Engineers' Alumni Stadium. In defeat, the Mariners fall to 2-5 (1-4 Liberty) going into a bye week, while WPI improves to 6-2 (2-2 Liberty).
The Engineers scored on each of their first four drives of the night, finding the end zone three times in the first quarter and then hitting a field goal early in the second. Junior Brandon Eccher caught the first two TDs on 36- and 34-yard passes by classmate Dan Eckler. Senior Zach Grasis ran in a 14-yard touchdown for WPI and the hosts went ahead 21-0 after the third successful PAT of the night by junior Blaine Bursey at 3:10 of the opening quarter. Bursey then hit a 21-yard field goal to make the score 24-0 in favor of the Engineers, which it remained into the halftime break.
Midway through the third quarter, WPI added to its lead with a 40-yard TD run by Eckler. The Mariners responded on the very next drive, as senior Matt McDaniels (Malverne, N.Y.) capped off a 17-play, 76-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run. McDaniels then went on to run in a two-point conversion to bring the score to 31-8, WPI. The Engineers closed out the scoring in the game with a 17-yard TD run by senior Brian Marsh and the PAT by Bursely with 9:15 remaining.
The Mariners mustered 172 yards of offense (146 rushing and 26 passing), and five different players accounted for most of the rushing yards, led by freshman Wiley Martin (Polo, Mo.) with 39 yards, while McDaniels had 33 yards on the ground was 2-for-5 for the 26 yards in the air. Junior Spencer Blauw (Strasburg, Colo.) recorded 24 receiving yards.
Senior Dillon Reaves (Omaha, Neb.) led the way defensively for USMMA with eight tackles, including one for a loss of two yards and a fumble recovery. Junior Channing Meyer (Norman, Okla.) was second on the squad with seven tackles and also had a second-quarter interception which he returned 23 yards.
WPI put up 559 yards of offense (283 rushing and 276 in the air), and was led by Eckler, who was 13-for-18 for 229 yards with two passing TDs. Eccher caught six passes for 124 yards and the two scores and Grasis led all runners with 129 yards on the ground. Junior Brian Murtagh recorded a game-high 10 tackles for the Engineers, including one for a loss of five yards.
Merchant Marine returns to the field in two weeks, when the Mariners host the Dutchmen of Union College on Saturday, Nov. 7, at Brooks Stadium. Prior to the 12-noon kickoff, the USMMA football program will pay tribute to its 13 graduating seniors with a special Senior Day ceremony. Live stats and a live video feed will be available for the contest by following those links.