By Brian Willwerth
MILTON, MA – On a day when the defenses dominated, one group made just enough more big plays than the other.
Behind a stellar defensive effort and two rushing touchdowns by Zach Grasis, WPI defeated Curry College on Saturday afternoon, 17-7. The Engineers were outgained by the Colonels, 322-274, and also committed four turnovers. But their defense was able to shut down the Colonels’ offense for much of the afternoon.
WPI scored the game’s first touchdown on its opening possession. The Engineers marched 73-yards in nine-plays, with Grasis capping it off on a one-yard run on 4th and goal. The Curry defense knocked the ball out, but it came after Grasis had crossed the goal line.
After the Engineers’ defense forced three straight three-and-outs from the Curry offense, WPI increased its lead to 10-0 when Mitchell Lewis nailed a 35-yard field goal in the second quarter. The Colonels struggled offensively throughout the entire first half, but they finally put together a drive late in the second quarter, but got as far as the WPI 14-yard line before time expired.
The score remained the same throughout the entire third quarter. WPI had a couple of chances to put the game out of reach, but could not do so thanks to the Curry defense, which also played very well on this day. Jeff Janoski intercepted a pass in the end zone. On the next Engineers’ possession, Rashad Simms got his hands on a pass from John Antonopoulos. The Curry defense also registered three sacks, but the offense could not take advantage, as it was one-upped by the WPI defense.
Perhaps the key plays of the game came midway through the fourth quarter when Curry’s quarterback Kevin Fruwirth hit Dominic Bavaro, who then fumbled it away. WPI’s Hussein Yatim picked up the loose ball and returned it all the way to the Colonels’ nine-yard line. Four plays later – again on 4th and goal – Grasis found the end zone for the second time to put the Engineers up 17-0. He finished with 111 yards on 26 carries.
Curry finally got on the board on the ensuing drive, with Fruwirth marching the Colonels 66 yards in just over two minutes. He found Skubie Mageze, who took it into the left corner of the end zone to make it 17-7. Curry had a couple more chances to get closer, but never did cross midfield.
Fruwirth threw 51 passes in this game, completing 30 of them for 225 yards. Antonopoulos and Jacob Grills split the quarterback duties for WPI. They combined for 146 yards and three interceptions, but again, the Engineers’ defense picked up the slack, and was the story on this day.