WORCESTER, MA – Senior wide receiver Brandon Eccher ran back a punt 78 yards for a touchdown to spark a 21-14 come-from-behind win for WPI over visiting Union in a Liberty League game at Alumni Stadium. Eccher, one of four WPI captains, finished the game with 5 catches for 43 yards for the Engineers (4-1, 1-1), who spotted the Dutchmen (1-4, 0-2) 14 first-half points.
Union relied heavily on the running game. Senior Jermaine Carn ran for 75 yards and a score on 22 carries, while junior Connor Kinzelman ran for 139 yards on 22 carries. It was his second 100 yard running game of the season. The duo along with fullback Tom Jensen accounted for all 241 yards of the guests total offense.
McAllen ran for 42 yards on 12 carries, while also hauling in two passes for 13 yards. Classmates Connor Field and Mike Montano added 37 and 28 yards on the ground respectively while Alex Domond added three receptions for 48 yards.
The Engineers’ defense, led by Brian Murtagh had a game-high 15 tackles including four for loss, allowed just 92 yards in the second half after giving up 142 in the first half. Senior quarterback Dan Eckler threw for 134 yards and a touchdown on 12 of 20 passing, while also running for 41 yards and score.
The winning score came on a 14-yard, play-action strike from Eckler to Steven Thulin on a seam route early in the fourth quarter. Eckler’s 10-yard quarterback keep up the middle, capped a 15-play, 79-yard drive immediately following a Union three-and-out, which tied the game 14-14.
In their first possession, the Engineers ran into some bad luck as Eckler’s pass intended for Sean McAllen hit an official and popped into the air before being intercepted for a pick-six by Justin Waller up the near sideline.
Luca Cerasani recorded the games only sack, on a 2nd-and-1 play from the WPI 34 on the Dutchmen’s final drive.
Sam Malafronte also had seven tackles, while Jason Lamb and captain Kevin Lynch recorded five tackles apiece. Jake Lombardo posted a team-best 10 tackles, while Jack Harasimowicz amassed eight tackles and Hunter Ordukhanyan recovered a fumble and returned it 30 yards after WPI had driven deep into Union territory in the second quarter.
Both teams are home next week. WPI entertains Merchant Marine at 1pm while Union entertains Springfield at noon.