NORTHFIELD, Vt – The Norwich University football team dropped their season finale to the Engineers of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) by a 42-7 final score in New England Women's and Men's Conference (NEWMAC) action on a chilly Saturday afternoon in Northfield.
Things got off to a good start for the Cadets (1-9, 1-6 NEWMAC), as junior Bo Phillips (Chappaqua, N.Y.) picked off WPI's third pass attempt of the day and returned it deep into WPI territory. Four plays later sophomore Steve Cuqua (Walpole, Mass.) found his way into the end zone, and the ensuing point after made it 7-0 Norwich mid-way through the first quarter.
WPI (8-2, 6-1 NEWMAC) answered back early in the second quarter with a 1-yard run by junior Lain Zembek, tying things up at 7-7.
The Engineers went on to score 35 more unanswered points over the next three quarters, led by Sean McAllen's 132 yards and two touchdowns on the day. WPI managed a passing touchdown, four rushing touchdowns, and an interception return for a touchdown as they found a wide variety of ways to score. They also forced four Norwich interceptions and two fumbles on the day, winning the turnover battle 6-3.
For the Cadets, Bo Phillips put together an impressive day. The ball-hawking defensive back pulled down three interceptions on the day, the third highest single-game total in program history, bringing his season total up to 6 on the year. He's the only Cadet with multiple interceptions on the season.
Sophomore Connor Bourque (Goffstown, N.H.) led the ground game for the Cadets, as the sophomore broke the 100-yard mark for the third time this year with 21 carries for 106 yards. Sophomore Brasean Stewart (Bronx, N.Y.) led the Cadets with 10 tackles on the day, and senior Jalen Belle-Walker (Lithonia, Ga.) picked up a sack and 1.5 tackles for a loss. Belle-Walker and classmate Angelo Cofield (Lithonia, Ga.) each had 9 tackles on the day.
The loss wraps up a frustrating season for the Cadets, as they found themselves on the losing end more often than not in their first year of NEWMAC play, facing great programs week in and week out. Overall the Cadets posted a 1-9 record on the year and a 1-6 mark within the new conference, their sole win coming over Maine Maritime on October 21st by a 24-22 score.
With the closing of the 2017 season, the Cadets say goodbye to 12 seniors as Austin Roberts (East Bridgewater, Mass.), Jalen Belle-Walker, Peter Lalime (Kensington, N.H.), Angelo Cofield, Nick Ferrara (Collingswood, N.J.), Tyler Jones (Hazlet, N.J.), Liam Hinkes (Sandyston, N.J.), Zach Adler (Stratham, N.J.), Joseph Torchia (Monson, Mass.), Philippe Bazinet (Otterburn Park, Quebec), Peter McGuire (Great Falls, Mont.), and Nolan Aurelia (Stratford, Conn.) move on to graduation this spring. The 2018 class helped the Cadets to two postseason appearances, an East Collegiate Football Conference Championship in 2015, and helped usher in a new era of Norwich football with the joining of the NEWMAC prior to this season.