The RPI Engineers suffered a heartbreaking and disappointing loss to rival Union Dutchmen on Saturday by a final score of 20–15 at Schenectady. The loss dropped the Engineers to a 4-3 record (2-3 in the Liberty League) and took them out of the running for the Liberty League title.
The Engineers’ run defense faltered again as the Dutchmen ran all over RPI’s defense, amassing 205 yards on the ground. Junior Union running back Chris Coney ran wild, finishing with three touchdowns and 138 yards on 23 carries. The Engineer defense also failed to apply any pressure to the Dutchmen, recording only one sack and forcing zero turnovers.
Rensselaer’s offense was able to move the ball against Union’s defense, but was not able to put up enough points for the win. The Engineers’ only offensive touchdown came on a 19-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Mike Hermann to junior wide receiver Ray Davis in the third quarter. RPI also scored on two field goals by place kicker junior Peter Nilson and a safety during fourth quarter garbage time. Overall, the offense ran for 154 yards, led by junior running back Nick Costa and Hermann, who had 88 and 53 yards, respectively. The passing game was anchored by Hermann, who had 209 yards and a touchdown, and freshman receiver Austin Caswell and Davis, who had 63 yards and 60 yards, respectively. Junior reciever Pat McCarthy, who had strong games early in the year, was shut down and only had one reception for 5 yards.
After limiting St. Lawrence University on the ground last week, the Engineer defense was not able to stop the high-powered Dutchman ground attack. They did limit the Union air attack to 59 yards passing, but when the Dutchmen got 4.8 yards per carry, there was no need for them to pass the ball. The defense had some bright spots with individual performances led by seniors Joe Albano (10 tackles) and Stefan Schulz (nine tackles), and junior Darryl Brown (four tackles, one sack). The defense needs to improve on stopping runs and forcing more turnovers to be successful next week.
The day didn’t look good from the beginning for the Engineer defense when Union scored on its opening possession to put the Engineers in a quick 7-0 hole. Rensselaer’s offense was never able to recover from the deficit, either. The defense was gashed too easily, and the offense was never able to punch it into the end zone for points. To top it all off, the Liberty League title is out of reach as the Dutchmen are now undefeated in the conference, and the Engineers have had three hard-fought losses. However, the Engineers have a great chance at playing spoiler for other Liberty League foes for the rest of the season and have a promising offense for next season, when Hermann continues the next stage of his development into a NCAA quarterback. The Engineers host Hobart College at Geneva, N.Y., next week, looking to even out their Liberty League record.