The Engineers dominated the first half en route to a lopsided 37-0 victory over visiting Norwich University last Saturday. RPI amassed 298 yards from scrimmage in the first two quarters while Norwich managed only nine.
RPI senior quarterback Jeff Avery played efficiently, completing 14 of 19 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns, including a 39-yard beauty over the top to striding junior wide receiver Joey Giacone. The pass to Giacone set up a one-yard run by Rensselaer senior running back Nick Schlatz.
Later in the first quarter, after two three and outs for Norwich, the Engineers moved the ball down to the Norwich 16 yard line with five straight running plays, including a 24-yard scamper by sophomore running back Mike Tivinis. RPI scored soon thereafter on a five-yard run outside the tackles by junior running back John Costello.
While the Norwich offense continued to sputter in the second quarter of Saturday’s game, the Engineer offense kept rolling. On the first drive of the quarter, Schlatz ran five times for 24 yards to bring the ball down to the Norwich six yard line. Then Avery hit sophomore running back Johnny Ramsdell on an out-route for the touchdown to complete the 11-play, 53-yard drive, giving Rensselaer a commanding 21-0 lead.
The next drive saw Norwich move the chains for the first time that afternoon, but the drive came to a crashing halt when senior linebacker Mark Grimes popped the ball loose from the grip of Norwich running back Sam Chaves with his helmet. The fumble was recovered by sophomore defensive back Bryan Hayes. Two and a half minutes later, RPI scored on a five-yard option run by senior running back Austin Amery to give them a four touchdown lead.
To cap off the scoring in the first half, Avery found senior wide receiver Logan Gaddar open in the front corner of the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown. The fifth score of the half was set up when Norwich punt return Trystan Colaire fumbled at the Norwich 19 with 1:38 remaining in the second quarter.
Tivinis tallied 120 yards on seven carries for RPI, while Schlatz bullied his way to a sum of 80 yards on 17 runs. Giacone led Engineer receivers with 66 yards, while Amery caught two passes for 44 yards. This included a 32-yard wheel-route out of the backfield in the first quarter.
The only score of the second half was a safety for RPI on a tackle by junior defensive back Ryan Buss at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Buss had four tackles and broke up two passes in the game, while sophomore defensive back Sam Garrett led the RPI defense with six tackles. Grimes had five tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. Senior linebacker Anthony Pilla led the Engineers in sacks with 1.5.
Linebacker Jack Agthorpe led Norwich with 11 tackles, while linebacker Benjamin Hummer had eight. Offensively, quarterback Philippe Bazinet completed five passes for 84 yards for the Cadets, including a 37-yard strike to wide receiver Pierre Noel. The Cadets rushed for 110 yards on 38 carries, with 42 of those yards by Chaves.
Next up for Rensselaer is a road game against 1-0 Alfred University next Saturday, September 12.