On a cold and rainy afternoon at the East Campus Stadium, the RPI Engineers defeated the United States Merchant Marine Academy Mariners by a score of 13-10. With the victory, the Engineers finish the season with a 5-4 overall record and a Liberty League record of 3-4.
In a game where the conditions were horrible for passing, the running game carried the Engineers. Led by freshman running back Mike Wood and sophomore running back Eric Marciano, the Engineers gained 209 yards on the ground and gained an impressive 4.0 yards per rushing attempt. The Engineers struck first when they picked off junior Mariner quarterback Carlton Hobkirk at the RPI 29-yard line during the Mariners’ first series. On RPI’s first offensive play of the game, Wood broke a 37-yard run to bring the ball into Mariner territory. The series ended when Hermann threw a perfect 8-yard fade route to senior wide receiver Nick Duncan to give the Engineers an early 7-0 lead. The Mariners answered back with a rushing touchdown by freshman Alex Coviello near the end of the first quarter to tie the game.
The Engineers took the lead for good when Marciano rushed it in from 5-yards out; however the point-after-touchdown was blocked to make the score 13-7. The offense as a whole gained 259 yards and was led by the powerful ground game. Wood and Marciano ran for 102 and 89 yards, respectively. Hermann rebounded from a bad game against Hobart to complete six of 13 passes for 42 yards and a touchdown. Wide receivers Duncan and junior Ray Davis lead the Engineers in receiving with 25 yards and 16 yards, respectively.
The RPI defense built on a dominating performance against Hobart with another strong performance against the Mariners. They allowed the Mariners to gain yards but not permit them to put up points on the board against the Engineers. RPI’s defense stopped Mariner drives as they recovered three Merchant Marine fumbles and had two interceptions for a total of five turnovers. The defense had a standout performance from senior linebacker David Schepperly who had 11 tackles (two of which were for a loss), one interception, one sack, and one pass break up. The defense also had some strong performances from seniors Stefan Schulz (10 tackles), Tim Acker (nine tackles), and Colton Hill (eight tackles and two sacks).
The Engineers’ offense and defense did what they had to win the game against the Mariners. The offense scored enough points in the horrible conditions to win, and the defense held the Mariners and forced timely turnovers to stop the Mariners’ offense. The graduating Class of 2010 dominated their last game as RPI Engineers with excellent performances, and they will be missed next year. The Engineers’ future is very promising, especially with the continued development of Hermann as a legitimate NCAA quarterback; an offseason of practice will definitely help him improve.
The Engineers season has ended with some disappointment, as they were not able to win the Liberty League, but they finished the season strongly and will look to build upon this victory again in the 2010 season.