Prepare for the Playoffs: An MIT Football Primer [UPDATED]

by Jay London on November 21, 2014 · 18 comments

in Athletics, Campus Culture, Events, In the News, Student Life


Co-captain Justin Wallace ’15 ran for 1,425 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2014. Images via DAPER.

Update: The MIT Engineers football team’s record-breaking season concluded on Saturday, November 29, with a 59-0 loss to Wesley College in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Division III Football Championship tournament. The 2014 team set a program record with 10 wins, won their first New England Football Conference (NEFC) title, made their first appearance in the NCAA tournament, and were ranked in the top 25 of the American Football Coaches Association poll for the first time.

For more information, read recaps of the Engineers’ second-round loss to Wesley and the team’s first-round win over Husson, which featured a last-second 38-yard field goal from Tucker Cheyne ’17 and a game-winning touchdown in overtime from wide receiver Seve Esparrago ’16.

MIT isn’t known as a sports powerhouse, but the Institute football team is receiving national attention. The undefeated Engineers (10-0), who play in the second round of NCAA tournament on Saturday, have been featured in the Wall Street JournalYahoo!, and ESPN.

Are you new to—or a few years removed from—MIT football? No problem! Consider this a crib sheet on all things MIT football. You’ll be an Engineers expert before Saturday’s kickoff.

The game: MIT Engineers versus Wesley College Wolverines (10-1), NCAA Division III Football Championship tournament, second round.

Kickoff: Saturday, November 29, noon, Miller Stadium, Dover, Delaware. (If MIT wins, they will play the winner of Johns HopkinsHobart in the second round on Saturday, December 6.)

How to watch/listen:

Tailgate: Fans attending Saturday’s game are invited to an MIT alumni tailgate, beginning at 10:00 a.m., beneath a large MIT banner in the tailgating area near Miller Stadium. Beverages and snacks will be provided, and MIT fans and alumni are encouraged to wear Engineers gear. RSVP for the tailgate to see who else may be attending.

Social media: Follow the Alumni Association, MIT Athletics, and NCAA Division III football on Twitter. Share your excitement using the hashtags #GoTech and #NCAAD3.

The Team 


Co-captains Peter Williams ’15 (11) and Brad Goldsberry ’15 (21).

The 10-0 Engineers set a team record for wins and earned their first-ever New England Football Conference (NEFC) title. In their first NCAA playoff game in program history, MIT defeated host Husson University, 27-20, on November 22. The Engineers secured the victory thanks to Esparrago’s game-winning touchdown, plus key defensive plays from  Matt Iovino ’17 Anthony Emberley ’17, and Cameron Wagar ’15

Their regular seasons victories included a 34-29 win over Endicott, which gave the Engineers sole possession of first place, and a 35-34 win over Western New England, preserved by a blocked extra point by Emberley in the game’s final minute. While the undefeated seasons was unprecedented, the team’s success was not unexpected. 2014 was the Engineers’ third winning season in a row and last year’s team was featured in the Boston Globe.

Fifth-year Head Coach Chad Martinovich was selected as the NEFC Coach of the Year and a record 12 Engineers earned All-NEFC Honors, including Offensive Player of the Year Justin Wallace ’15, Offensive Lineman of the Year Elliot Tobin ’17, and Defensive Rookie of the Year Mitch Turley ’18. Eight more players were named to the All-NEFC first and second teams. [View the full roster.]

The Players


Co-captain Cameron Wagar ’15

Running back Wallace is MIT’s all-time leading in career rushing yards (4,425) and touchdowns (46). In 2014, he ran for 1,425 yards and 16 touchdowns, including 261 yards and a MIT-record six touchdowns in a 55-37 win over Maine Maritine. He rushed for 144 yards in the win over Husson.

Quarterback Peter Williams ’15 threw for 1,761 yards and 18 touchdowns, including a five-touchdown performance in a 52-20 win over Nichols. He is MIT’s all-time leader in career passing yards (5,491) and touchdowns (26). He passed for 291 yard and two touchdowns in the first-round victory.

Williams’ receiving corps includes Brad Goldsberry ’15, who had 36 catches and is MIT’s all-time leading receiver (191), and two more Engineers who finished the regular season with more than 20 receptions: Esparrago (39) and Nathan Varady  ’16 (20).

On defense, linebacker Wagar led the team with 76 regular seasons tackles plus one sack and one interception. Emberley added 70 tackles, four sacks, and two forced fumbles, including 13 tackles and a sack in a 28-18 win over Pomona-Pitzer. Mitch Turley and Kodiak Brush ’17 each finished with more than 40 tackles, and defensive backs Rob Disanto ’18 and Ryan Karnish ’17 tied for the time lead in interceptions (2). [View all 2014 stats.]

The opponent: The 10-1 Wesley Wolverines scored 42 first quarter points en route to a 52-7 victory over Hampden-Sydney in the tournament’s first round. Quarterback Joe Callahan passed for 336 yards and five touchdowns in the playoff win. On defense, the Wolverines held Hampden-Sydney to only 52 rushing yards and six different Wesley players had an interception.

Trivia: Did you know?

  • MIT played in perhaps the  first playoff game in college football history, losing to Williams, 18-10, in 1885.
  • The Engineers, then known as the Techmen, won back-to-back Northeastern Intercollegiate Football Association (NIFA) league titles in 1887-1888.
  • The modern era of MIT football dates back to the formation of a club team in 1978 that later became part of NCAA Division III in 1988.
  • MIT’s football alumni includes a Rhodes Scholar (Darcy Prather ’91), a Marshall Scholar (Brad Gray ’98), 11 NCAA Post-Graduate Scholars, and 38 Academic All-Americans.


{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe Horton November 21, 2014 at 9:17 am

When do we play Notre Dame?


Walter Crosby November 21, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Uh, never…


AliceC November 21, 2014 at 11:37 am

Wonder how many levels of championship play they would have to do before they would play against Macalester College of St. Paul, which has been receiving similar regional press to MIT. It was fairly recently that Macalester lost 50 consecutive games (between 1973-79).


Jay London November 21, 2014 at 11:45 am

Hi Alice,

Thanks for your comment. If MIT and Macalester win their respective games on Nov. 22 and Nov. 29, they would play against each other in the tournament quarterfinals on Dec. 6. Check out the full bracket here:


Paul November 21, 2014 at 3:49 pm

I don’t think this is a correct interpretation of the bracket. If you look at the printable one (, you can see that Macalester and MIT are on separate sides of the bracket. They would only meet if they won all of their games and faced off in the championship game.


Walter Crosby November 21, 2014 at 4:51 pm

It’s way more likely that we could meet Johns Hopkins — but to do that, we would have to get by #4 in Division III Wesley of Dover, DE. And they have to get by a couple of teams. it would have been nice if we were in the same group of 4 with them.


Walter Crosby November 28, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Here is the potential web site for video —


Jay London November 28, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Thank you Walt and Friends of MIT Football. – Jay London


Walt Crosby November 28, 2014 at 9:56 pm

If the video works and people like it, please donate to MIT Football on
MIT’s Giving to MIT site!

Jennie November 25, 2014 at 2:31 am

There’s no info on the Wesley site about how to get tickets for Saturday.
Might one assume that if we arrive at the stadium in advance of Saturday’s game that we will be able to get tickets?
And, any idea of the prices?


Walter Crosby November 25, 2014 at 10:50 am

Tickets were $8 for adults at Husson — would expect they would be the same for every NCAA event. By the way, the programs are $8 also — and are pretty much a ripoff — all they have are the rosters for each team. I’d be happy to scan the roster and mail it to anyone that wants for both Wesley and MIT, and save you $8!


Jay London November 25, 2014 at 11:03 am

Hi Jennie,

I spoke to someone in the Wesley Athletic Department regarding ticket info yesterday (Monday) morning. They only thing they could tell me at the time was that they would only be available in person before the game.

But they did also say that ticket info would be posted on their website as soon as the info was available. I will, of course, update the MIT story when we have that information, too.

Thanks for reading.



Sean Greene November 25, 2014 at 10:29 pm

For those looking for an alternate way to listen to the broadcast besides the link provided (thank you for that by the way). WDEL also offers a free App for smartphones, just search WDEL in your respective store. If you take it to the game, be advised it’s on a 30 second delay or so.

Looking forward to seeing those who make the Holiday trek down, thankfully the snow tomorrow should mostly be north/west of Dover.

Sean Greene
Sports Director/Voice of Wesley College Football


Walter Crosby November 28, 2014 at 4:21 pm

There is some possibility that we might have a video link to the game. IF we can get this set up, we will try to announce it on the MIT Friends of Football Facebook page, and wherever else we can get this available.


Amy November 27, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Any chance there will be a video webcast of the game? Radio play by play is great and all but would love to see the action. Maybe Wesley has an AV Club that could shoot the game!


Walt Crosby November 30, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Hopefully — you heard that there was a video webcast that we were able to get, with WDEL 1150 radio play-by-play.


Dan Kimmel November 28, 2014 at 9:54 pm

Wesley is on Thanksgiving break. There should be plenty of tickets available at the door. Cost $10. Please have a safe trip down. Watch out for speed traps on Rt. 1 in Delaware.

Dan Kimmel, Wesley ’95


Walt Crosby November 29, 2014 at 11:19 pm

Thanks, Dan — didn’t see a single speed trap, and travel was fantastic. Thanks for the wonderful reception from the Wesley people — very nice people there. Excellent team!

Walt Crosby ’81
MIT Football Founder


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