WORCESTER, Mass. - Sophomore Billy Orfalea (Shrewsbury, Mass.) ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns Saturday, leading Worcester Polytechnic Institute to a 37-8 victory over Plymouth State University in each team's last Freedom Football Conference game at WPI's Alumni Field.
With the win, WPI completed its season with an overall record of 4-6 - the third straight year it has finished with that mark - and 2-4 in the FFC. Plymouth State finished 0-10 for the second straight year, 0-6 in the conference.
Saturday's game marked the end of an era. The Freedom Football Conference has now disbanded with the seven schools heading off in different directions beginning in the fall of 2004.
WPI opened the scoring Saturday when senior QB Adam Ralston (Olean, NY) scored on an 11-yard keeper with 5:45 remaining in the first quarter. The extra point attempt went wide left, so WPI led 6-0. The TD was set up when grad student OLB Nick Willliams (Webster, MA) recovered a PSU fumble at the Plymouth 11.
Neither team was able to gain any sustained momentum throughout most of the rest of the first half. But with 1:56 left in the second quarter, following an 8-play, 50-yard drive, WPI sophomore PK Jeremy Griffin (Waterford, CT) kicked a 29-yard field goal.
On the ensuing drive, Plymouth State again fumbled at its own 31-yard line with just 52 seconds left, sophomore DT Ryan Rackliffe (Bristol, CT) making the recovery. Three plays later, a pair of WPI seniors hooked up on Senior Day for a 10-yard score. The TD pass came with 16 seconds left from Ralston to tight end Ben Achin (No. Attleboro, MA). Achin used all of his 6'5" frame to stretch the ball by inches into the end zone. The Griffin extra point gave WPI a 16-0 lead at the half.
Plymouth State came to life immediately following the intermission. An 11-play, 80-yard drive was culminated by a 25-yard TD run by senior RB Jason Bordas (Elmore, VT). Perhaps the game's most exciting play came on the 2-point conversion attempt. Freshman QB Tye Seastedt (Danville, NH) was immediately forced out of the pocket, ran backwards another 15 yards, but with an off-balance throw somehow found senior WR Matt Coddaire (Chelmsford, Mass.) in the back right corner of the end zone for as exciting a 2-point conversion as you'll ever see.
WPI, however, responded with an 8-play, 64-yard drive, Orfalea capping the march with a six-yard TD scamper to make it 23-8 with 7:22 left in the third. Orfalea added a four-yard run with 14:21 left in the game, giving WPI a 30-8 advantage.
The game's final TD was thrown by Ralston to sophomore WR Matt Boutin (Hubbardston, MA) on a 32-yard completion with 9:31 left.
Freshman DB Dan Fallon (Manchester, NH) wrapped up a solid rookie campaign for PSU, making a game-high 10 tackles (9 solo), including one tackle-for-loss, plus a forced fumble. He finished as the team leader in tackles this season with 72. Sophomore LB Jake Meserve (Dover, NH) had had tackles Saturday, including seven solos.
(Courtesy of WPI Sports Information)
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