By Matt Noonan
WORCESTER, MA – Saturday’s Worcester State – WPI football contests is officially in the books.
However, there were certainly a few interesting storylines that need to be highlighted from this particular match, which I have provided below.
1.) Flags were clearly an issue for both squads, as the Lancers and Engineers combined for 14 penalties for 145 yards.
Yet, one of the biggest questions, especially for WPI, was why neither team could capitalize on their opponent’s mistakes?
The Engineers were handed numerous opportunities to win this non-conference tilt, but their offense and defense struggled to capitalize their opponent’s errors.
“We had the roughing the punter penalty, which led to a very long drive for them, which you can’t have those things, it’s unacceptable. [There were also] some other critical situations where we were just doing stupid things,” explained WPI head coach Chris Robertson.
“It’s a young season, it’s a young team, we graduated 15 starters and we’re still in the growing process of this group, so we’re always going to compete, but we’ve got to be able to play up to a higher potential [going forward],” added Robertson.
2.) The third quarter was clearly an offensive struggle for both teams, but mainly WPI. The Engineers didn’t convert a single first down on three attempts, and also couldn’t capitalize on two penalties by the Lancers.
Worcester State’s offense stalled in the third quarter, too, and finished that frame with 60 yards, while WPI tallied 72 yards.
“You can’t leave plays out there, especially in a tight game [because] you’ve got to convert on a lot of those things, so we’ve got work to do,” Robertson said of his team’s third quarter performance.
3.) Last week against Anna Maria, Worcester State’s defense struggled to contain their opponent’s running attack. And this week that trend continued, as the Engineers tallied 178 yards on 39 carries.
Sophomore Zach Grasis led the Engineers with 121 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns.
“Zach is a big strong kid and runs well. I wish he had a little more of a game-breaking ability to be able to run by people, but he’s a positive yardage kid, he lowers his shoulder when he has to, and [he] certainly helps us move the chains, continue to get drives,” said Robertson.
“We’re young at throwing the football, so you need that dependability in the run game, which he gives us,” added Robertson.
4.) Robertson noticed that similar to his team’s first contest last week against Curry College, the Engineers had a difficult time producing points in the red zone.
WPI had four chances, but only converted on two of them, while Worcester State capitalized on all three trips.
“We had a couple of times where we had the ball in the red zone and couldn’t put it in for the second time in a row,” explained Robertson. “That’s something we’re constantly working on.”
5.) After Saturday’s contest concluded, Worcester State earned its second victory of the season. However, both of their wins have been outside the New England Football Conference.
Next week, they’ll face their first conference foe, Western New England College, a squad that won the league title last year against Framingham State.
“We are [starting to get a good sense of this team] and they pulled together and it’s good,” exclaimed Worcester State head coach Brien Cullen.
“Next week is going to be probably one of our toughest games coming up against WNEC,” Worcester State senior quarterback Corey Spencer said. “It’ll be a tough game, but we’ll get back to work on Monday.”