Bulldogs all bark, no bite

Rensselaer hosted the Dean College Bulldogs in the Engineers’ first game since their Transit Trophy victory over WPI.

RPI won the coin toss and decided to defer. The opening kickoff from Engineer Jared Elstein sailed into the back of the end zone for a touchback. On the second play of the game, a bad snap from the Bulldogs’ center flew past the quarterback and tumbled toward the Dean end zone. RPI’s Jon Connelly dove at the fumble, knocking it backward toward several of his teammates to secure a turnover at the 18. The Engineers reached the four-yard in two plays, allowing running back Christian Buckley to run through a gap in his blockers untouched and into the end zone for a touchdown. Less than two minutes into the game, the Engineers led 7‒0.

The subsequent kickoff again resulted in a touchback. Three plays later, Cortez Garrett picked off a deep Dean pass at the RPI 35 with an over-the-shoulder catch and returned his interception to around midfield. The Engineers rushed the ball on eight of their next 10 plays to march downfield. Their drive ended with a four-yard rushing touchdown from Kayden White to put RPI up 14‒0 with seven minutes left in the first quarter. The Engineers tacked on another touchdown on a one-yard run by Dameon Ming before the quarter ended.

The Bulldogs began the second quarter with a punt, giving Rensselaer possession at the Dean 38. White ran for 16 and 21 yards on first and second down, respectively, to reach the one-yard line, easily scoring on third down to put the Engineers up 28‒0. The RPI defense forced the Bulldogs to go three-and-out on the next drive, giving possession back at the Engineer 33. On the very next play, Kazanowsky threw a dart to receiver Anthony Meissner 20 yards upfield. After securing the catch, Meissner deftly cut to his right to avoid being tackled. Aided by solid blocking from fellow receiver Sterling Walker-Sutton, Meissner ran all the way down to the end zone to extend the lead to 35 points.

The Rensselaer defense again forced Dean to punt in four downs, allowing the offense to take over at the RPI 45. On second down, Buckley rushed up the middle into a massive clearing with the Bulldogs’ secondary nowhere to be seen. With no one to stop him, Buckley scored his second touchdown on a 52-yard run to make it a six-score game. Following their sixth touchdown, the Engineers switched out Kazanowsky at quarterback and rotated through their backups. Notably, quarterbacks Justin McCormack and Anthony DeMatteo each scored rushing touchdowns to put RPI up 56‒0 heading into the second half.

The RPI offense slowed down drastically after replacing most of the starters, only scoring one touchdown in the second half on a five-yard rush from Joshua Ahrens. The RPI defense still managed to maintain their shutout, holding the Bulldogs to 129 yards of total yardage. The 63‒0 victory improves the Engineers’ season record to 4‒0. Click here for the box score and here for the RPI TV broadcast. The Engineers return to action on October 7 to take on the reigning Liberty League champion Ithaca Bombers at East Campus Stadium.