On Saturday, the Engineers faced the Yellowjackets in a fire that burned the home team out in the end, resulting in the 6-point loss that brought Rensselaer to a conference record of 0-3 and overall record of 3-3. The Yellowjackets, meanwhile, improved to 2-1 in the league and 4-2 overall.
The action began immediately, with a redo-punt required after a faulty whistle on the first try by RPI junior kicker Andrew Franks. The second snap was errant, however, and Franks had a faulty kick allowing Rochester to grab the ball and run it 23 yards into the endzone for a touchdown with just 12:35 on the clock. The accompanying extra point was successful, and the opponents held the lead 7-0 early on the first quarter. But it did not take long for RPI to retaliate. Sophomore quarterback Jeff Avery seized the opportunity for a two-yard touchdown run just over two minutes later after the Engineers returned the kickoff 53 yards, and Franks sent the ball rocketing through the posts to make the score 7-7 in no time. Rochester almost upped the score within the last few minutes of the first quarter, but the ball was intercepted by RPI freshman defensive back Kenneth Chen on a diving catch to prevent the lead. Another pass was picked off by the Engineers in the Yellowjacket’s endzone, but the ball was fumbled on the first down with just seconds left in the first quarter to allow Rochester possession at the start of the second.
The tie was broken by RPI at 13:05 in the second quarter when senior quarterback Jessie Maynard lead the team 79 yards down-field in six plays, including a 45-yard pass to senior tight end Joe Cozzolino—and ultimately scored on a one-yard run. Rochester responded with a 57-yard run by standout player Myles Allen, bringing the Yellowjackets deep into RPI territory and ultimately ending with a one-yard run that tied it up 14-14. Then, with four and a half minutes remaining, Allen gave Rochester six more points on the carry into the endzone. A no-good extra point kick was later redeemed by a 25-yard field goal with 53 seconds remaining in the half. Trailing by nine points, RPI hustled to gain seven more points on a 24-yard touchdown pass by Maynard to sophomore receiver Pat Hogan, thus bringing the score to a nail-biting 23-21 in Rochester’s favor going into the intermission.
The second half did not start out well for either team, with the first seven points secured only 3:30 before the third quarter ended by a 69-yard run for Rochester, bringing them to a 30-21 lead over Rensselaer. The fourth quarter began well for RPI, as sophomore running back Nick Schlatz dove one yard into the endzone just 43 seconds in to bring the score up to a hopeful 30-28; unfortunately, Rochester held them off for the remainder of the competition. With eight minutes left, the Yellowjackets completed a 75-yard, 14 play to tack seven more points onto the board. The Engineers mustered three more points on Franks’ 43-yard field goal with 3:45 minutes to play, but it was not enough, as four straight passes by Maynard in the final seconds fell incomplete and the game ended with Rochester pulling through. The standouts of the game include Maynard, who finished with 49 rushing yards and 180 passing yards, Cozzolino, who had six catches for 129 yards, defensive sophomore linebacker Brandon Cook with twelve tackles, and senior defensive lineman Arthur Kuyan with eleven tackles.
The Engineers will head out west to Geneva, NY next Saturday to face nationally-ranked Hobart College.