Senior cornerback Obi Etuka breaks program record for career interceptions with two-pick performance
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (October 15, 2016) – The Western New England University football team surrendered just 113 yards of total offense to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on its way to a 37-0, shutout victory over the Engineers this afternoon in New England Football Conference (NEFC) action at Golden Bear Stadium.
• Senior cornerback Obi Etuka (Middletown, Conn.) etched his name into the Western New England record books with his two-interception performance, breaking the previous program record for career picks (16) set by Jay Rooney '07.
• Junior quarterback Anthony Service (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) accounted for 285 yards of total offense and two touchdowns. The two-time NEFC Offensive Player of the Week completed 18-of-28 passes for 224 yards and one score, while rushing for an additional 61 yards on 14 carries (4.4 avg.) with a touchdown.
• Senior running back Nick Connell (East Marion, N.Y.) topped the 100-yard mark for the first time this season with his 115-yard performance. Connell carried the ball 21 times (5.5 avg.), also a season-high, and reached the end zone for the fourth time this fall.
• Sophomore bear Kurtis Jolicoeur (Windham, N.H.) led the Western New England defense with a team-high eight tackles.
• MIT senior linebacker Anthony Emberley (Longmont, Calif.) and junior defensive back Mitch Turley (Westfield, Ind.) each recorded a game-high 12 tackles (including 1.5 for loss).
• After stopping MIT on the game's opening possession, Western New England got the ball back and put together a 13-play, 56-yard drive, which culminated in a 31-yard field goal by senior kicker Kevin Patterson (Houston, Tex.).
• With 3:44 remaining in the first quarter, Service scored on a two-yard run to give the Golden Bears a 10-0 lead.
• The Engineers turned it over on downs on their next possession, and Service proceeded to orchestrate an 11-play, 69-yard drive for Western New England. Connell rushed five times for 32 yards during the possession, finishing it off with a five-yard touchdown run that increased the Golden Bears' lead to 17-0 with 11:45 left in the second quarter.
• After MIT's next possession resulted in a three-and-out and senior kicker Tucker Cheyne's (Avon, Conn.) punt traveled just 20 yards, Western New England was given a short field to work with. Service connected with freshman wing Jamyre Soberanis (Dorchester, Mass.) for 25 yards on the first play of the possession, but the drive stalled from there and Patterson was brought on for a 33-yard field goal, giving the Golden Bears a 20-0 advantage.
• The Engineers drove to the Western New England 22-yard line on their second drive of the third quarter, as MIT sophomore quarterback Udgam Goyal (Frisco, Tex.) found freshman wide receiver Eric Bradford (Dublin, Ohio) for a 31-yard gain on third and seven. MIT was unable to come away with points, however, as Etuka intercepted Goyal at the goal line for his record-breaking pick.
• Patterson's third field goal of the afternoon, a 32-yard connection late in the third quarter, upped Western New England's lead to 23-0.
• Western New England's next possession resulted in a touchdown, as Service found senior wide receiver Garrett Jones (Pleasant Valley, N.Y.) open down the sideline for a 39-yard score at the 12:52 mark of the fourth quarter.
• The Golden Bears capped the scoring on their next possession, as junior running back Dante Aiken (Brooklyn, N.Y.) punched it in from one-yard out to complete a six-play, 29-yard drive.
• Etuka picked off Goyal for the second time on the first play of MIT's next possession, and the Golden Bears proceeded to bleed the final nine minutes off the clock with a 16-play drive.
• Western New England's defense allowed MIT to convert on just 2-of-11 (18%) third down attempts and held the Engineers to seven first downs.
• The Golden Bear offense reached the 500-yard mark for the third consecutive game and fourth time this season, compiling 290 yards on the ground and 224 through the air.
• Western New England earned its first shutout since blanking Coast Guard 51-0 last November.
• The Golden Bears improved to 13-15 in 28 all-time meetings with the Engineers.
• Patterson nailed all three of his field goal attempts and also connected on a pair of PATs, finishing with a season-high 11 points.
Both teams will be on the road next Saturday, as Western New England (6-0, 3-0 NEFC) travels to Endicott and MIT (1-5, 1-2 NEFC) takes on Salve Regina.