Quarterback Chris Mauck of Wellington recently led the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Engineers to a second consecutive NEWMAC title. Three weeks ago, MIT needed to win its last three games to accomplish the repeat, after a double-overtime loss to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy early in the year put them in trouble. However, to repeat as champs, the last three games were not going to be easy.
The first game came against undefeated Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a team MIT had not beaten since 1905. With 1:29 on the clock, down by 3, Mauck drove the Engineers 60 yards to set up the game-tying field goal by Mark Wright as the clock ran out. After the defense had stopped WPI in the second overtime period, Mauck went 26 yards to the right corner to hit Keithen Shepard for the game-winning score of 28-22. For this big win, the ex-Berean Christian School quarterback was awarded an ESPN College Football Final “Helmet Sticker” by Joey Galloway. Mauck, Sean Kent and Wright were also recognized as offense, defense and special teams NEWMAC players of the week.
Game two was senior day, and Mauck and his receivers struggled in the first half, trailing 7-6. However, the senior quarterback caught fire in the second half and went 16 for 32 on 227 yards and threw four touchdowns to quickly put Norwich University away for a 34-21 win. This win secured the chance for the conference title against the pre-season favorite, Springfield College.
MIT came out quickly against Springfield, and after three long passes, Mauck got the team to the 24-yard line in four plays. Then it was Mauck to Eric Bradford on play five for an early 7-0 lead. Springfield’s option running game was tough, and they took a 21-10 lead into the second quarter.
MIT got the running game going, and with two long passes, Mauck got the team to the 24-yard line. A touchdown pass and a two-point conversion got the Engineers back to 21-18. A turnover by the Engineers on a fumble gave Springfield an easy score, and they led 28-18 at the half.
The second half was back-and-forth with Springfield holding the lead most of the third period. Down 33-25, MIT went to the wildcat, and the young receiver Ben Dwyer caught them by surprise, running 31 yards for the touchdown, and two points later it was 33-33. Springfield and MIT then traded touchdowns to make it 40-40 with 3:15 left.
Springfield was driving again, but after a huge hit on the running back, Sam Gozelski recovered a fumble at midfield. Mauck was sacked on the first play, resulting in second and 19. However, the senior picked up the blitz on the next play and scrambled out of the pocket for 18 yards, giving MIT the chance for a first down. A first down, a quick pass and quick run to center, and MIT had the chance with 38 seconds at the 22-yard line. Wright drilled it through for a 38-yard field goal to give the Engineers a 43-40 win and back-to-back NEWMAC conference championships.