Third-straight Transit Trophy triumph
The Rensselaer Engineers traveled to Worcester Polytechnic Institute on September 15 to defend their claim on the Transit Trophy.
Both defenses put on a masterclass in the first quarter, resulting in 132 yards of total offense and four punts. After the last of these punts, the RPI offense took over with less than four minutes left at their 26-yard line. On second down, receiver Jimmy McGoey sprinted between the hash marks through WPI’s zone coverage. Noticing that McGoey sped past the secondary, quarterback Jake Kazanowsky hurled a throw into WPI territory to his receiver for a gain of 52 yards to the Worcester 22. The WPI defense stopped the Engineers on the next three downs, forcing RPI to settle for a 36-yard field goal from kicker Jared Elstein to take a 3‒0 lead.
Worcester began the following drive at their 25 after the kickoff sailed into the end zone for a touchback. On second down, quarterback Stephen MacDonald handed the ball off to running back Hunter Carey for a rush up the middle. A crowd of linemen slowed Carey down as he tried to squeeze through a gap in his blockers, allowing the RPI defense to wrap up the running back. Engineer Nate Sicard ripped the ball out of Carey’s grip, then sped off toward the right sideline. With no opposition in front of him, Sicard charged into the end zone for his first career touchdown, putting the Engineers up 10‒0 with 34 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Engineers forced Worcester to punt a minute into the second quarter, regaining possession at the 13-yard line. RPI gained 33 yards on their first five plays, setting up second and 1 at the Rensselaer 46. Kazanowsky received the snap, then immediately evaded a pass rusher before lobbing a deep throw to receiver Sean Kelly for a gain of 44 yards. The WPI defense stopped the Engineers at the seven-yard line, then blocked the resulting field goal attempt. Worcester took over at the 25 but were stopped before reaching the 50. On fourth down, a high delivery from the long snapper flew over the punter’s head. Engineer Marco Olavarria recovered the fumble but was brought down 10 yards from the end zone. Running back Kayden White gained five yards on his first down rush before Kazanowsky ran up the middle into the end zone. RPI headed into halftime up 17‒0.
WPI and RPI each had drives over six minutes in the third quarter; Rensselaer’s eight-minute possession ended with a failed fourth down conversion at the two-yard line with less than a minute left in the scoreless quarter.
RPI regained possession less than three minutes into the final quarter after their defense forced Worcester to punt. Starting at their own 34, the Engineers marched down to the WPI 36. On third down, Kazanowsky received the snap and rolled out to his left, and McGoey’s cutback route left him wide open at the left sideline. McGoey caught the pass from Kazanowsky and made it down to the 14-yard line before stepping out of bounds. The Engineers continued downfield, setting up a two-yard rushing touchdown from Christian Buckley. The Engineers’ special teams unit lined up for the resulting extra point. Anthony Meissner caught the snap and, instead of holding it for Elstein to kick through the uprights, ran into the end zone for an unnecessary two-point conversion to put RPI up 25‒0.
The Engineers ran out the clock to win the Transit Trophy for the third consecutive year. The victory improves RPI’s record to 3‒0. Click here for the box score and here for the WPI Athletics broadcast of the game. The Engineers’ next game is against Dean College on September 23 at 5 pm at East Campus Stadium.