NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University football team's visions of concluding the season with a win in its senior day game were spoiled with a 70-28 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) loss to WPI on Saturday afternoon at Sabine Field at Haynes Family Stadium.
The program took a moment before the game to recognize its senior class of players which consisted of 30 individuals who have given their time and commitment to the team.
WPI closed out a remarkable season with a 9-1 overall record and a 6-1 finish in conference action and earned a share of the NEWMAC conference title. With MIT beating Springfield, the NEWMAC's automatic bid goes to MIT due to their win over WPI in the head-to-head matchup.
Norwich finished out the regular season with an even 5-5 record overall and a 2-5 mark in NEWMAC play. 2019 was the best season to date since the Cadets entered the NEWMAC for the 2017 season.
WPI did not waste any time opening the scoring, registering an 11-yard rushing touchdown by Sean McAllen on its first drive of the game.
Knowing it had to keep pace with the high-scoring offense of the Engineers, the Cadets answered immediately on their next drive when junior quarterback Matt Dunn (Rockland, Mass.) hit freshman receiver Trevor Chase (Eliot, Maine) in the back right corner of the endzone for his first of three touchdowns catches. The drive was highlighted by a 59-yard pass by senior wideout Ryan Reed (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) to senior running back Connor Bourque (Goffstown, N.H.) after Dunn had thrown a lateral ball to Reed.
Needing a win to sew up the conference title and have a chance to move on to the NCAA championships, the Engineers continued to move the chains on offense scoring on their next two possessions. McAllen scored touchdowns on the ground on each drive running for seven yards on his first score and then scampering into the endzone for a 53-yard run on the second.
With a 21-7 lead, WPI was able to sit on defending the pass and strung together several stops to put its offense back on the field. The defense held the Cadets off the board for the remainder of the half while the offense continued to churn up yardage and tack on 21 more points in the second quarter.
Connor Field notched a pair of rushing touchdowns around a 30-yard touchdown pass from Julian Nyland to Nic Rossi to give the Engineers a comfortable 42-7 lead at halftime.
Norwich would hit paydirt three times in the second half, but it was too little too late as WPI continued to roll offensively posting 28 points in the second stanza.
Chase caught two more touchdown passes for Norwich while freshman receiver Tristan Johnson (Ocala, Fla.) registered caught his first career touchdown.
Rossi hauled in another touchdown from Nyland, while Field tied McAllen for three rushing touchdowns in the game. Austin Pesce and Zach Uglevich had the other touchdowns for the Engineers.
WPI outgained Norwich 586 to 352 yards on offense and almost evenly split that between yards gained in the air versus on the ground. The majority (318 yards) of the Cadets yardage came through the air.
Dunn completed 20-of-37 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns while Chase caught five passes for 94 yards and three scores. The Cadet defense was led by a quartet of players who registered nine tackles. Senior linebacker Kevin Svarczkopf (Essex Junction, Vt.) registered eight tackles including 2.5 for loss and a sack.
WPI's Nyland was 15-for-19 passing including a pair of touchdowns while McAllen rushed for 177 yards and three scores on 18 carries. Ross nabbed three passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Adam Klosner led the Engineers with six tackles including four solo takedowns.
The 2019 campaign was a tremendous success for the Cadets. The team reeled off four-straight wins to open the season, set several program records and had some amazing individual record-breaking performances during the season, several of which are highlighted here:
MOST PASSING YARDS IN A GAME: 430 yards vs. Maine Maritime (Oct. 26)
MOST PASSES COMPLETED: 34 passes vs. St. Lawrence (Sept. 14)
MOST PASSING YARDS IN A SEASON: 3108 yards
MOST PASSES COMPLETED IN A GAME: 34 passes, Matt Dunn vs. St. Lawrence (Sept. 14)
MOST RECEPTIONS IN A GAME: 13 receptions, Trevor Chase vs. St. Lawrence (Sept. 14)
MOST YARDS TOTAL OFFENSE IN A GAME: 423 yards, Matt Dunn vs. Maine Maritime (Oct. 26)
MOST YARDS TOTAL OFFENSE IN A SEASON: 2,891 yards, Matt Dunn