WORCESTER, MA – The Western Connecticut State University football team's first-ever appearance in the New England Bowl Series did not go exactly as planned as WPI rolled to a 35-6 victory at chilly Alumni Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
After trailing, 35-0, WestConn, which ends its season at 8-3, finally got on the scoreboard when David James (Stamford, CT) connected with Will Daniels (Bethel, CT) from 14 yards out with 3:34 left in the game. Adam Klosner, who had a pair of interceptions earlier in the game, blocked Jordan D'Onofrio's (Orange, CT) point-after attempt.
As potent as the Engineers' offense was on Saturday, their defense dominated for 60 minutes. The hosts allowed just 154 yards of total offense and the Colonials finished with no yards rushing, on 15 attempts.
Offensively, WPI, which ends it season at 10-1, amassed 402 yards with 229 coming on the ground. Senior running back Sean McAllen finished with 29 carries for 164 yards and scored one touchdown for the winners. Prior to intermission, McAllen became WPI's all-time leading rusher, surpassing Jason Wooley (1989-92) mark of 3,766 yards.
After a scoreless first quarter, WPI took a 7-0 lead when Connor Field capped off an 11-play, 87-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run and Bryce Wade added the extra points.
The Engineers' dominance began from the start as they ended the first half with a convincing 247-42 advantage in total offense. The combination of quarterback Julian Nyland and wide receiver Clark Ewen accounted for 107 of those yards while McAllen rushed 15 times for 75 yards over the first 30 minutes.
Nyland completed 15 of 22 passes for 173 yards, most coming in the first half as WPI controlled the possession clock throughout the second half with its ground attack.
With 12:22 remaining in the third quarter, Field scored his second touchdown of the game, this time a one-yard run. Field's plunge came on the second play from scrimmage after Klosner intercepted James and returned the ball 36 yards. McAllen set up the score with an 18-yard jaunt on the first play after the turnover.
The troubles continued for the Colonials after Sean Dandeneau blocked senior D'Onofrio's on WestConn's ensuing drive. A few plays later, WPI's lead would grow to 21-0 after McAllen plowed in from three yards out with 6:22 remaining in the third stanza.
Field would go on to score his third touchdown of the afternoon, a six-yard run, set up by a McAllen 18-yard scamper a play earlier. Following Wade's point-after, the Engineers led, 28-0 with just 1:30 elapsed in the fourth quarter.
Field had just eight carries for 20 yards, but contributed 18 points on Saturday for WPI.
That would be the last series for McAllen, but WPI would not let off the accelerator.
With 5:24 left in the game, Zach Uglevich came on to score on a nine-yard run to lift the Engineers to a 35-0 lead.
Jihad Bryant (Lawrence, NJ) led the Colonials with 12 tackles on the afternoon while four Engineers each registered four tackles in the victory.