Hobart registered a pair of touchdowns in the opening five minutes and dodged heavy snowfall in the second half en route to a 27-13 Liberty League victory over host WPI. The undefeated Statesman got a dominating performance from its defense, led by sophomore Devin Worthington and first-year Tyre Coleman.
Worthington recorded a team-high nine tackles, including four tackles for a loss, while Coleman logged seven solo stops, including four for a loss. Coleman added two sacks to his team-leading total (9.5), while Worthington also had a sack. Dane Wilcoxen made three solo tackles and blocked two kicks. Hobart (6-0, 4-0) forced and recovered four Engineer fumbles.
Sophomore running back Steven Webb gained 88 yards and a touchdown, while junior running back Bobby Dougherty picked up 83 yards and a TD as the Statesmen gained 249 yards on the ground.
Hobart forced a turnover on WPI’s first play from scrimmage when Worthington sacked Johny Antonopoulos and in the process, forced and recovered a fumble at the Engineer 14. Four plays later, Webb dashed in from 4 yards out to put Hobart up 7-0. After the Statesman defense held the hosts without a first down on its next drive, a botched snap on the ensuing punt set Hobart up at the WPI 18. Two plays later, Dominique Ellis broke free for an 18-yard run and his first career touchdown, giving the Statesmen a 14-0 lead.
The Engineers’ first scoring drive was set up by a blocked punt by William Alves that was recovered by teammate John Perron and returned to the Hobart 35. On the fourth play of the drive, Running back Ernie Mello reached the end zone with a 5-yard run to half the deficit to 14-7.
Hobart answered right back with a four-play, 66-yard drive that featured a 33-yard Webb run and was capped by a 20-yard touchdown pass from Nick Strang to Garth Muratori. It was Muratori’s 16th career TD reception, moving him into a tie for 6th on Hobart’s career list with Tyler Vincent. The PAT hit the right upright making the score 20-7 Statesmen with 4:32 left in the first quarter.
Hobart extended its advantage to 27-7 midway through the second quarter after Worthington forced and recovered another fumble, this time returning it 43 yards to the WPI 12. On the next play, Dougherty scored his team-leading fifth rushing touchdown.
WPI (2-6, 1-4) countered with a 5-play, 56-yard march capped capped by a 29-yard scoring strike up the seam Antonopoulos to Trevor Dunne 5:24 before halftime. The PAT was blocked by Dane Wilcoxen, leaving the Statesmen a 27-13 lead.
Hobart threatened on two more occasions before halftime but WPI’s Manny Cambra, who played both running back and cornerback, recorded a pair of red zone interceptions.
With snow falling throughout the second half, the offensive pace of the game slowed. After a first half that featured a combined 19 drives, the second stanza saw the two teams total only 11. Both team’s deepest penetrations, prior to the closing seconds, came late in the third quarter when Hobart was stopped on a fourth and 7 at the WPI 29 and WPI fumbled at the Hobart 13 after a long rush.
Tom Thackeray and Hussein Yatim led the defensive effort for WPI with 10 and nine tackles, respectively. Mello gained a game-high 119 yards on the ground and the one score. Cambra completed his busy day with a game-best six catches for 43 yards and a pair of tackles to go along with his two interceptions.
Hobart had commending edge in time of possession (34:56 – 25:04) and a slight advantage in total yards (301-246).
The Statesmen return home on Saturday, Nov. 5 to host Rensselaer on Senior Day. Kickoff at Boswell Field is scheduled for noon.
Coupled with Union’s 38-28 win over Rensselaer, Hobart needs just one win in its final two games to clinch the Liberty League title and its accompanying automatic NCAA Playoff bid.