Defense Leads Rensselaer Over Alfred, 24-6
TROY, N.Y. - The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) defense intercepted three passes and registered four sacks to lead the Engineers to a 24-6 win over Alfred University in a non-league football game at East Campus Stadium. The game was the season opener for both teams.
After Alfred scored on its opening possession, the Engineers did not allow anymore points on its way to allowing the fewest points it has allowed since October 10, 2010, when that team shutout the University of Rochester. It was the fewest points allowed at ECAV Stadium since the opening game of the facility, September 12, 2009 - a 28-0 win.
Senior linebacker Matthew Day (Claremont, NH/Stevens) led RPI with eight tackles, while classmate Joe Tedder (Stamford, CT/St. Luke's School) had six solo stops. Three different players had interceptions, including sophomore Nick Borkowski (Fort Salonga, NY/Kings Park), who picked off a pass at the 4-yard line and returned it 80 yards with RPI ahead 14-6. Six players had a hand in a sack with sophomore Wade Hansen (Troy, NY/Tamarac) recording two for a loss of eight yards.
Offensively, senior quarterback Mike Hermann (Hardeeville, SC/Avon Old Farms) compiled 277 yards of offense. He rushed for 80 yards and completed 17 of 26 passes for 213 yards with two touchdowns. His primary target was junior Reggie Colas (Miami, FL/Belen Jesuit), who had six receptions for 90 yards - both game-highs - and a touchdown.
For Alfred, which managed just 233 yards of total offense, junior Zach Sopak (Falconer, NY/Southwestern) connected on 13 of 28 passes for 122 yards with the three interceptions. Senior Tyler DeRosa (Miller Place, NY/Miller Place) led the Saxons on the ground with 75 yards on 12 carries, while Josh Phillips (Syracuse, NY/West Genesee) had a team-high four receptions for 32 yards.
The Saxons were led defensively by three players who reached double digits in tackles. Senior linebacker Reggie Pressley (Rochester, NY/Gates-Chili) had 13 stops, while down linemen Chris Steeves (Rochester, NY/Gates-Chili) and Mike Raplee (Dundee, NY/Dundee) had 12 and 11, respectively.
Alfred was the first to get on the scoreboard when freshman Justin Mallory (Fort Edward, NY/Hudson Falls) scampered in from 13 yards out on the visitor's first series. RPI took the lead later in the first quarter when junior Andrew Armato (Staten Island, NY/St. Joseph by the Sea) took a pitch from Hermann at the 5-yard line to complete an 11-yard run.
Hermann then connected with classmate Nick Weber (Winchester, MA/Winchester) for a 25-yard pass down the left sideline with just 56 left in the first half for a 14-6 edge.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, though both teams threatened. The Saxons drove to the RPI 13-yard line and on a first-and-10 play, Sopak was intercepted by Borkowski in the left flat and the defensive back raced down the sideline. He was tackled at the Alfred 16-yard line and it was from there that sophomore Andrew Franks (Carmel, CA/Carmel) hit a 33-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 17-6 lead.
The Engineers, who finished with 331 of total offense, put the game away when Hermann and Colas connected on a flea-flicker from 49 yards for a 24-6 lead. Hermann released the pass just before two defenders reached him and Colas out-jumped a defender and ran into the end zone.
RPI is back in action on Saturday at 1pm at Castleton, while Alfred is at St. Lawrence next Saturday at 1pm.