Springfield, Mass. - November 11, 2017 - The Springfield College football team wrapped up an undefeated regular season as it powered past MIT, 43-7, to claim the first-ever New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship at Stagg Field on Saturday.
Springfield, which was ranked 20th in the latest D3football.com National Poll and 21st in the AFCA National Coaches Poll, improved to 10-0, 7-0, to finish off the season with an unblemished record for just the third time in program history. The 1965 team owned a 9-0 mark, while the 2003 squad also posted a 10-0 regular season. The loss dropped MIT to 7-3, 5-2.
Playing in the inaugural season that the NEWMAC has sponsored football, Springfield became the first football champion in conference history, as today's title marks the 20th conference championship offering for the NEWMAC, including the ninth for men's sports.
Springfield will now await its postseason fate when it tunes into the NCAA Division III Championship Selection Show, which will air on NCAA.com at 5:30 on Sunday.
It was a historic occasion on multiple fronts today for Springfield College. The Pride totaled 390 yards on the ground to set a program record for most rushing yards in a season, upping its season total to 4,523 and besting the previous mark of 4,496 set in 2006. Additionally, Nick Giorgio (Cumberland, R.I.) produced 6.5 tackles-for-loss to bring his season total to 24, marking the most in a single season by a Springfield College football player, topping Max Nacewicz's total of 20.5 from 2012.
Springfield outgained the visiting Engineers, 390-226, with all of its offensive output coming on the ground. Jordan Wilcox (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) continued his sensational senior season as he totaled 221 yards and three touchdowns on just 18 carries, averaging 12.3 yards per rush. Hunter Belzo (Middletown, Conn.) found the end zone twice and rushed for 50 yards, while Jake Eglintine (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) added 71 yards and a score for the Pride. Defensively, Springfield had 14 tackles-for-loss as a team, with Giorgio's 6.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage leading the way. Giorgio totaled a team-high 10 stops, including two sacks, while freshman AJ Smith (Rahway, N.J.) had eight stops, and David McMullen (Warwick, R.I.) totaled six tackles, an interception, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. The Pride held MIT to just 3.2 yards per play and 1.6 yards per rush.
MIT's Patrick Ryan went 15-for-31 for 164 yards under center for the Engineers, while Connor Hanlon had 32 yards and a touchdown on five carries. Tyler Tay had a team best nine stops, including one for loss.
After the two teams traded three-and-outs to begin the game, Eglintine broke free up the middle on third down from 48 yards to give the Pride a 7-0 lead at the 10:03 mark of the first quarter. Springfield added another score at the 6:54 mark as Wilcox took the first play of the Pride's third drive of the game and scampered in from 44 yards out. After the Engineers blocked the ensuing extra point, Springfield's Jon Weaver (Cromwell, Conn.) fell on the ball in the end zone for the two point conversion, give Springfield a 15-0 lead.
Springfield brought the house on MIT's punt attempt early in the second quarter, with Jack Hammond (Cranston, R.I.) getting a hand on the boot before Luke Jimenez (Waldwick, N.J.) recovered the ball at the Engineer 24 yard line. Just four plays later, Belzo took a pitch to the right and crossed the goaline for the 22-0 advantage just 1:57 into the quarter. Wilcox then added his second score of the game on a highlight reel score, taking the Pride's first carry of their second drive of the stanza, shedding three tacklers before lumbering in from 62 yards out to push the cushion to 29-0.
McMullen got Springfield off on the right foot after halftime as he intercepted MIT on the second play of the half, and Wilcox took the ensuing handoff and busted out a 39-yards score to make it 36-0 just 56 seconds in the half. Belzo added his second score of the game on one of the Pride's longer drives of the game as he capped off a nine-play, 58-yard drive with a 12 score that featured some incredible footwork to shake several MIT defenders. That touchdown made it 43-0 with 4:43 on the clock.
MIT was able produce a touchdown late in the game as part of an eight play, 72-yard drive that featured a nine yard score along the left sideline by Hanlon.
Photo by Roy Chambers