Shoes extend their residence in Troy

TROY, N.Y. -- Gasoline was 30 cents a gallon, and the car you put it in could cost you $2,200. Minimum wage was a dollar and bread cost 20 cents a loaf.

The year was 1959, and it was the last time RPI held the Dutchman Shoes trophy for three years in a row over Union. Now, a half-century later, it has happened again. RPI holds the Shoes for the third straight year after a 25-12 win on Saturday at ‘86 Field.

“Winning [the Shoes] once is great, winning it two or three times is unbelievable,” said RPI coach Joe King. “Union is an outstanding program, so it’s really a great accomplishment.”

RPI scored first on a 2-yard run by Bob Munier, a score set up by a 26-yard interception return by cornerback Bobby Stutz. Union came right back with a 2-yard run by sophomore running back Chris Coney, but kicker Ben Rapple’s extra point was blocked.


The Shoes stayed on the RPI sideline for another season.
Photo by Matt Milless for D3sports.com

Both defenses stepped up at that point, and the teams went into the locker rooms with RPI up 7-6.

Near the end of the third quarter, Coney came through again, getting through the second level of the RPI defense and winning a foot race to the end zone. The 65-yard touchdown run gave Union the lead with 1:53 left in the third quarter at 15-12.

“That run by Coney was [one of] the biggest plays of the game,” King said.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Engineers rattled off a pretty big play of their own, as Patrick McCarthy ran back the kickoff 81 yards to get down to the Union 4-yard line. Two plays later, RPI senior quarterback Jimmy Robertson faked a handoff, passing to defensive lineman James McLaughlin in the corner of the end zone to give RPI the lead back at 13-12, and a two-point conversion to McCarthy extended the lead to 15-12.

“Coach preaches special teams a lot,” McCarthy said. “He always says that it’s an important third of the game. We won the special teams battle.”

After trading possessions, Robertson finally hit for a big play, throwing a fade route down the right side to senior receiver Eren Savasli for a 55-yard touchdown pass, increasing the Engineer lead to 22-12.

It was Savasli’s only catch of the afternoon.

“The safety took one step up on the play-action and that was it,” Robertson said.

A Peter Nilson field goal upped the lead to 25-12, and RPI sealed the game when the Engineers recovered a Chris Coney fumble at the 7-yard line late in the contest.

“We made huge plays, and good teams make those plays,” King said.

Union still holds a 44-15 lead in the series overall, but RPI now has a 6-5 lead in the past decade.

RPI plays Hobart this Saturday in what is now the de facto Liberty League championship game and McCarthy said if the Engineers can continue to do what they have in the first two months of the season.

“We’ve got to do the same thing every week,” McCarthy said. “Hobart’s next. We have to take each game one at a time. Next week will be big.”

King agreed.

“Hobart is good. We just have to get it done,” King said.

Ranked teams

No. 7 Cortland State became the first team to clinch a playoff berth with their automatic qualifier after a 24-18 win over The College of New Jersey. It was Cortland’s eighth win in a row and gave them at least a share of the NJAC title, as they’ve already beaten the two teams that could tie them, Montclair State and Rowan.

Cortland’s Andrew Giuliano rushed for 160 yards and three touchdowns, including the game winning touchdown late in the game.

Giuliano is rushing (pardon the pun) quickly up the Red Dragons’ season lists in a couple of categories and even sits at the top of one. His three touchdowns against TCNJ put him at 17 for the year, a new record. He also became the seventh player in Cortland history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.

Cortland’s Bryan Wiley had an all-pro day on the defensive side of the ball, making 10 tackles, three sacks and blocking an extra point.

The Red Dragons finish NJAC next Saturday against Brockport State and then play for the Cortaca Jug in two weeks at home on Nov. 15.

Route 13 rival Ithaca, the No. 21 team in the D3football.com poll, took it to Empire 8 opponent Springfield in a 37-8 rout. Ithaca junior running back Thomas Bergerstock rushed for 175 yards and four more touchdowns to bring his season total to 20. The 20 touchdowns is now at the top of Ithaca’s single season list, breaking the record of 19 set by Jeff Wittman set back in 1992, the year after Ithaca won the last of its three national championships. Bergerstock’s 120 points also set a new scoring record that also breaks Wittman’s 1992 mark of 114.

Ithaca senior wide receiver Kyle Crandall had a career day against the Pride, catching nine passes for 162 yards on the day.

The Bombers finish the Empire 8 schedule playing Alfred at Merrill Field, always a tough challenge, before making the 20-mile trip up Route 13 to Cortland. Ithaca can still win the Empire 8 title with a win over Alfred, but they’ll need St. John Fisher and Hartwick to falter in the last two weeks of the regular season.

Great performances

Rowan’s Drew Yezzi made eight tackles, five for loss, a sack and a pass deflection in the Profs’ 30-22 win over Kean. More on this game below.

Albright’s Andrew Kibler had a nice day for the Lions defensively, making seven tackles, two for loss, forcing a fumble, recovering a fumble, snagging an interception and even making a sack.

Hobart’s Tyler Vincent had three touchdown catches in the Statesmen’s 31-14 win over WPI. Hobart is now 4-1 in conference and 6-1 overall, their 12th consecutive winning season. Hobart plays next Saturday against at RPI in a game that is basically the Liberty League championship game.

But I still think the LL could get two teams in the playoffs if Hobart wins. Still too early to call.

Delaware Valley managed to win a nailbiter against Widener, 34-28. Mike Isgro had 218 yards and three touchdowns through the air as the Aggies had to withstand a recovery of an onsides kick in the final seconds to seal the deal. Chad Peterman had a career-high seven catches for 117 yards in the victory.

Widener freshman quarterback Al Humes has done a pretty good job in his first two games under center for the Pride, completing 25-of-42 for 340 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, he also had three interceptions that cost his team.

Alfred rushed out to a 43-0 lead over Rochester, beating the Yellowjackets 43-14. Alfred quarterback Tom Secky threw for 217 yards and three touchdowns in the rout.

Alfred held Rochester to -12 yards rushing on the day and 121 yards of total offense, but that minus rushing total also include two snaps over the punter head, one that resulted in a safety for Alfred and one that was recovered by the Saxons after a 30-yard loss.

St. Lawrence picked up its first win of the year in a 49-42 barnburner against Susquehanna.

A lot of impressive stats in this one, except if you’re a defensive player.

The Saints gained 237 yards on the ground, including two guys Eric Jones and Connor Hackett, who both ran for more than 100 yards on the day. Jones’ day was just a little better than Hackett, as Jones carried the ball 23 times for 140 yards and three touchdowns. Hackett carried 18 times for 104 and two scores.

For Susquehanna, Dave Paveletz had a good day on the ground, rushing 22 times for 153 yards and two touchdowns.

Both quarterbacks had good days statistically, with both throwing for more than 280 yards. J.P. Kearney threw for 319 and a touchdown for St. Lawrence and Derek Pope threw for 282 yards and four touchdown for the Crusaders.

Ryan Cooney had a big day catching the ball for St. Lawrence, making six catches for 182 yards and a touchdown, one that was good for 87 yards.

Brockport State routed Morrisville State 55-19 on Saturday. Senior Garet Lynch went over 1,000 yards on the season, running for 112 yards and two touchdowns against the Mustangs. Zack Luke threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns, and all four went to freshman receiver Tamere Shannon.

Brockport State will try to play spoiler next Saturday against Cortland.

Record breakers

St. John Fisher had a record day on defense, holding Utica to 76 yards of total offense in the Cardinals 17-10 victory over the Pioneers.

Hartwick’s Jason Boltus (haven’t we seen his name before?) Set another season-high mark for passing on Saturday against the Empire 8's Norwich. Boltus completed 29 of 40 for 531 yards and five touchdowns against the Cadets.

It was all part of a tremendous offensive day for the Hawks, who racked up 686 yards of total offense. The defense wasn’t half bad either, holding Norwich to 12 points.

Both Jack Phelan and Noah Koreman were over 100 yards receiving for Hartwick.

Boltus earned the Empire 8 offensive player of the week award for the third consecutive time for his performance.

Boltus and Phelan also were able to tie or break some records on the day as well.

Phelan tied the Hartwick mark for career touchdown receptions, matching Kirk Aikens 1995-98 record of 44 with two games left.

Boltus set the career touchdown pass mark, passing Dan Pincelli on the list.

Norwich’s Darnell Jackson ran for 140 yards in the losing effort.

William Paterson junior wide receiver Joel Rivera broke the school record for most receiving yards in a season. His 10 catches for 161 yards against Buffalo State give him 809 for the season, overtaking the 736 by Bryant Richardson in the 2001 season.

The Pioneers used a big third quarter to beat the Bengals 51-24 on Saturday. The 51 points were the most for the Pioneers since 1994.

Other minutiae

Albright gets the upper hand in the MAC with a 31-14 win over Lebanon Valley. They are still tied with Lycoming in the division. The Lions still have to play Widener at home and then a tough challenge with Delaware Valley on the road in the final week of the regular season. The MAC, as just about every conference in the East Region, will come down to the final two weeks to see who will get the automatic qualifier and who will be watching the playoffs from the couch.

Lycoming routed FDU-Florham 48-28 on some career performances. Lycoming quarterback Colin Dwyer set a career-high with four touchdown passes, three of them to Ryan Wagener, also his career-high.

The running game was going on all cylinders for the Warriors as well, as Josh Kleinfelter ran for 178 yards and three touchdowns in just three quarters of play. His play earned him a MAC offensive player of the week award. Not to be outdone, teammate Ben Rosa earned a defensive player of the week award, making 10 tackles, 2.5 for loss and two sacks.

Lycoming owns the head-to-head tiebreaker with Albright, a 23-13 win, but the Warriors still have to win the last two games to give them a shot at the title.

Utica’s William Northey scored his first collegiate touchdown against St. John Fisher -- the first offensive touchdown against the Cardinals for UC since 2004. They were shutout in 2006 and 2007 and only scored two points in 2005. UC has never beat the Cardinals in eight tries.

At one point in their game on Saturday, Kean was down 30-7 against NJAC conference rival Rowan. But all was not lost. In fact, some of the Kean players had been down this road before against the Profs. Last year, the Cougars trailed 28-14 in the fourth quarter before roaring back to win 35-28 in overtime.

Jared Chunn’s 37-yard TD run cut the deficit to 30-14 after Rowan fumbled. Then Kean recovered an onside kick and scored six plays later on a Thomas D’ Ambrisi 23-yard touchdown pass to make it 30-20, and a successful two-point conversion on a pass to tight end Alex Cade made it 30-22 with 7:22 left in the contest.

After a three-and-out by the Profs, Kean got the ball back with 5:30 to go in the game. With just over a minute to go, Kean drove the ball down the field, getting to a first-and-goal at the 8, but the offense stalled there, and an incomplete pass on fourth down sealed the win for Rowan.

Top 10

1. Cortland State
2. RPI
3. Ithaca
4. Hobart
5. Hartwick
6. Lycoming
7. Alfred
8. Rowan
9. Montclair State
10. Albright

St. John Fisher out after a too-close-for-comfort win over Utica. WPI out after Hobart knocked them back down into reality.

Lycoming and Albright are tied at the top of the MAC -- we'll have to see how that shakes out in the last two weeks of the regular season.

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Andrew Lovell

Andrew Lovell is an associate news editor for ESPN.com and a former sports staff writer/editor for the New Britain Herald (Conn.). He has contributed freelance work to ESPN Rise and has been a regular contributor to D3football.com since 2007. Andrew has also written for a number of daily newspapers in New York, including the Poughkeepsie Journal, Ithaca Journal and Auburn Citizen. He graduated from Ithaca College in 2008 with B.A. in Sport Media and a minor in writing. A native of Hyde Park, N.Y., Andrew currently resides in New Britain. 

2006-10 columnist: Adam Samrov 

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