TROY, N.Y. - Myles Allen rushed for 135 yards and Dean Kennedy added 112 yards on the ground to lead the University of Rochester to a 37-31 win over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in a Liberty League football game at East Campus Stadium. The Yellowjackets improve to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the conference, while the Engineers fall to 3-3 and 0-3.
Allen (Bethesda, MD / The Landon School), a freshman running back, had 100 yards and two touchdown runs in the first half, while Kennedy (Sciuate, MA / Canterbury School), a senior quarterback, ran for 78 yards and two scores in the second half. Both had long runs, with Allen rushing for a 57-yard gainer in the second quarter and Kennedy running for a 69-yard touchdown in the third. Kennedy added a six-yard touchdown run with 8:09 left in the fourth quarter to put the visitors ahead, 37-28.
The first half was a high scoring one as the teams combined for 44 points and 532 yards with the Yellowjackets holding a 23-21 lead. There were also two fumbles lost and three interceptions.
Rochester jumped out in front just 2:25 into the first quarter when Matthew Pisano (Plainville, MA / Bishop Feehan) picked up a short punt and scored from 23 yards out. The kick was actually a re-kick after an inadvertant whistle on the first attempt. The second punt snap was bobbled by RPI punter Andrew Franks (Carmel, CA / Carmel), who booted the ball with his off-foot under heavy pressure. Pisano, a freshman, scooped up the ball at the 23 yard line and ran untouched to the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
Rensselaer came right back to tie the score on its ensuing possession, capped by a two-yard run by sophomore quarterback Jeff Avery (White Plains, NY / White Plains). Matt Lane (Hanover, MA / Hanover) set up the Engineers with good field position on a 32-yard kickoff return before Avery drove the team 53 yards on five plays.
The second quarter featured 30 points on four touchdowns and a field goal. RPI took a 14-7 lead at 13:05 when senior Jessie Maynard (Orwell, VT / Fair Haven Union), who replaced Avery under center, drove the team 79 yards on six plays. The highlight of the series was a 45-yard completion on a shuffle pass from Maynard to senior tight end Joe Cozzolino (Chatham, NY / Chatham). Maynard eventually scored on a one-yard run. Rochester answered right away when Allen burst through for his 57-yard run that got the Yellowjackets deep into RPI territory. He eventually finished the drive, scoring from one yard out.
Rochester continued its momentum, scoring the next nine points. Allen ran in from five yards at 4:27 and Mark Torosian (Boston, MA / Belmont) made a 25-yard field goal with 53 seconds left in the half. The Yellowjackets went 61 yards on nine plays on its touchdown drive and 73 yards on five plays on the field goal. Torosian's kick, the first field goal of the season for Rochester, was set up by a halfback toss from Garrett Kesel (Avon, NY / Avon) to Derek Wager (Palmyra, NY / Palmyra-Macedon) that accounted for 69 yards down the right sideline.
Trailing 23-14 with only 46 seconds left in the first half, Lane returned the kickoff 39 yards and the Engineers drove the remainder of the field in 38 seconds for a touchdown. Maynard hit sophomore Pat Hogan (Mt. Sinai, NY / Mt. Sinai) with a 24-yard touchdown pass in the front right of the end zone with nine seconds remaining.
Allen finished with 100 rushing yards on 15 carries in the first half, while Maynard led RPI with 33 rushing yards on seven carries. He also completed 4 of 5 passes for 100 yards. Cozzolino had 114 receiving yards on five catches for the Engineers, who got two first half interceptions from sophomore Phil Lanieri (Port Jefferson, NY / Vandermeulen).
Rochester was the first to get on the scoreboard in the second half when Kennedy scrambled from his right all the way across the field and down the left sideline for a 69-yard touchdown. The long scoring play came with 3:30 left in the third quarter and gave the visitors a 30-21 lead.
RPI answered early in the fourth quarter when sophomore Nick Schlatz (Bridgewater, MA / Bridgewater-Raynham) scored on a one-yard plunge, but Rochester countered with a 14-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a five-yard Kennedy run and U of R led, 37-28, with 8:09 to play. Franks pulled the Engineers to within six points with a 43-yard field goal with 3:45 to go and RPI had a final series to get back into the end zone but four straight passes were unsuccessful, the final on a long Maynard heave as the horn sounded.
Maynard finished with 49 rushing yards on 14 carries and 180 passing yards on 9 of 19 throwing. He was not intercepted. Cozzolino had six catches for 129 yards, including a 45-yard long. Defensively, linebacker Brandon Cook (Commack, NY / Commack) made 12 tackles, including six unassisted, while defensive lineman Arthur Kuyan (Staten Island, NY / Staten Island Technical) had 11 tackles, including eight solos, a four-yard sack and two tackles for lost yards (7).
Allen carried the ball 29 times and Kennedy ran 10 times for Rochester, which was 12 of 21 on third-down conversions. The signal caller completed 15 of 28 passes for 119 yards and three interceptions. Wager had a team-high five catches for 86 yards. Tony Ortega (Rochester, NY / McQuaid Jesuit) led all players with 14 tackles, including eight unassisted, a six-yard sack and 2.5 tackles for lost yards (7). He also nearly caught a touchdown pass.
The Yellowjackets host Union College next Saturday at noon, while the Engineers are also in Western New York to face nationally-ranked Hobart College, also at noon. Both games are Liberty League contests.