The Engineers suffered a disappointing loss to division-rival University of Rochester Yellowjackets at the East Campus Stadium on Saturday by a final score of 16-10. The day also marked the grand opening of the new East Campus Athletic Village.
With freshman starting quarterback Mike Hermann out due to injury, backup quarterbacks freshman Tanner Boucher and sophomore Julian Schnopp failed to provide any offensive spark for the Engineers. The duo combined for five completions in 17 attempts for 130 yards and one interception. The running game, which carried the Engineers to victory last week against WPI, was nonexistent, gaining only 46 net yards on 24 carries. Things seemed to look up for the offense as they were able to score on their second possession of the day, but that was all the offense could muster for the rest of the game. Overall, the Engineers turned the ball over three times, committed several drive-killing penalties, and were inept in moving the ball on the Yellowjacket defense.
On a day in which the offense struggled, junior wide receiver Ray Davis and kicker Peter Nilson were the key performers. Davis led the team with 70 receiving yards and grabbed two of the five completions thrown by RPI quarterbacks. Nilson nailed his only field goal attempt to tie the game 10-10 midway through the second quarter.
Even with the nonexistence of the offense, the defense kept the Engineers in the game. Constantly faced with tough field position, the defense limited the Yellowjackets to three redzone field goals and one touchdown. The defense looked sharp for most of the game; however, the amount of time they had to spend on the field took its toll in the fourth quarter. With the Engineers trailing 16-10 in the final quarter with 10 minutes left, the defense could not stop the Yellowjackets from marching down the field and killing time off the clock. The RPI defense had plenty of strong performances led by senior linebacker Tim Acker with 18 tackles, linemen Colin Elliot with 14 tackles, and Daryl Brown with four tackles and a sack. The Yellowjackets offense was led by quarterback Braezen Subick, who completed 28 passes for 45 passing yards and 267 total offensive yards, while running back Clarence Onyiriuka gashed the RPI defense for 130 yards on 30 carries.
Overall, the Engineers defense was out on the field for 42 minutes and played its heart out in trying to keep the game close. However, the offense’s inability to put up points and keep a drive alive forced the defense to become tired quickly. Hermann is supposed to be back next game for the Engineers, and that should get the offense back on track. With the Engineers now 3-1 and 1-1 in the Liberty League, the conference title still isn’t out of the picture, but their ranking will drop from No. 23 in the nation. RPI will continue their road through the league on October 17 at Susquehanna University following a bye next week.