November 9, 2013

Antonopoulos, Grasis and Defense Help WPI Surprise Rochester

More news about: WPI

Worcester, MA --- John Antonopoulos (Cambridge, MA) tossed two touchdowns, Zach Grasis(East Brookfield, MA) ran for two more scores and the WPI defense forced four Rochester turnovers as the Engineers defeated the visiting Yellowjackets on Senior Day 31-21 in a Liberty League football contest played Saturday afternoon. 

The win pushes WPI's record to 3-6 overall and 2-4 in conference play.  Rochester, who had entered the contest with a three-game winning streak and a chance to claim the Liberty League's automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, dips to 5-3 on the year and 3-2 in league play.  The result, coupled with Hobart's 37-7 triumph over St. Lawrence, gives the nationally-ranked Statesmen the outright conference championship with a week to go in the regular season.

Ten WPI seniors and graduate student Gallagher Hogan (Portsmouth, NH) took the field for the first offensive play of the game. Two plays later, Rochester senior Zach Cicero (Fairport, NY) picked off Antonopoulos on a third-and-six, with the Crimson and Gray regulars on the gridiron, to take over on the WPI 47. The two teams then traded three-and-outs before the Yellowjackets took a 7-0 lead with 4:34 left in the opening quarter.  Senior Dean Kennedy(Scituate, MA) led the Rochester offense down the field on a 16-play, 67-yard drive that chewed up 6:26. Senior Mark Torosian (Boston, MA) converted the extra point. 

On the ensuing kickoff, sophomore Sean Murphy (Mattapoisett, MA) put the hosts in great field position following a 74-yard return to the Yellowjackets 31 yard line. Gallagher completed the drive with a 13-yard reception from Antonopoulos and, coupled with freshmanBlaine Bursey's (Middleburg, FL) PAT, brought the game even at 7-7 with 2:08 remaining in the frame.  

Rochester was forced to punt after a six-play drive as the first quarter expired. Grasis then accounted for 77 rushing yards on a 98-yard, five play drive that saw the running back go 70 yards to give WPI its first lead of the day. Bursey converted his second extra point as the Engineers held a 14-7 advantage with 12:39 left in the half. In the middle of the stanza, junior Ryan Mathie (Smithtown, NY) picked off Kennedy only to have the Engineers turn the ball back over on downs.   Rochester looked to have tied the game on the final play of the half but a potential 25-yard touchdown heave was broken up at the last second by Crimson and Gray freshman Kevin Lynch (East Bridgewater, MA). 

The U of R did even the score on the opening drive of the second half when Myles Allen(Bethesda, MD) dashed in from 18 yards out to cap a nine-play, 82 yard drive.  WPI answered right back with a 10-play, 58-yard jaunt of its own, finished off by a 3-yard touchdown pass from Antonopoulos to Ehab Hamdan (Revere, MA) to give the Boynton Hillers a 21-14 advantage.  

The Yellowjackets were poised to tie the game on the ensuing drive, marching down to the WPI 10, but Eric Lacroix (Methuen, MA) forced a fumble after a 10-yard pass that was recovered by Murphy.  WPI's next drive stalled after a first down but Vinny Tavernelli's(Plymouth, MA) 56-yard punt pinned Rochester back to their own 11.  Three plays later, on the first play of the fourth quarter, Nate Martel (Steep Falls, ME) forced a fumble that was recovered by Jerrod Heiser (Wynantskill, NY) at the U of R 19.  It took the Engineers just two Grasis' rushes, the last of which a five yard scamper, to put the hosts up 28-14. 

Rochester cut into the WPI advantage on its next possession, with Kennedy connecting withDerek Wager (Palmyra, NY) on a five-yard scoring strike with 11:47 remaining.  WPI went back up by two scores when Bursey drilled a 20-yard field goal with 6:13 remaining to finish off an 11-play, 62-yard drive.   The Yellowjackets mustered one final drive but Murphy picked off Kennedy at the WPI five yard line to dash the U of R's title hopes.   

Grasis and Antonopoulos each carried 22 times for WPI for 155 and 80 yards respectively.  Grasis reached the 100-yard milestone for the sixth time this season and eighth of his career.  His 70-yard touchdown made him just the sixth player in the 124 year history of WPI football to reach 1,000 yards in a season.  The junior enters next week with 1,080 yards in 2013, fifth all-time in school history.  

Antonopoulos was 14-for-24 for 99 yards, including the two touchdowns.  Anthony Andre(Chelmsford, MA) hauled in six catches for 33 yards while Hamdan notched five catches for 30 yards and the touchdown. 

Kennedy completed 22-of-41 passes for 276 yards and added 40 yards on the ground.   Thomas Hayes (Syracuse, NY) was his favorite target, nabbing nine balls for 122 yards while Allen led the ground attack with 15 carries for 64 and the touchdown. 

Mathie and Murphy stuffed the defensive stat sheets for WPI.  Mathie had five solo stops, two tackles-for-loss, including a sack, a forced fumble, an interception, a pass break up and a QB hurry.   Murphy had five solo stops as well to go along with his recovered fumble, interception, two pass breakups and key first quarter kickoff return.  Freshman Brian Murtagh (Wayland, MA) totaled nine tackles and a pair of pass breakups while Heiser and Lacroix both recorded seven stops.  

James Barrett (Chicago, IL) was force defensively for the visitors.  The junior registered sacks on back-to-back plays in the second quarter along with an additional tackle for loss and a pass breakup.  Shawn Burke (Webster, NY) tallied a team-best 10 tackles, including one for loss. 

Tavernelli had a strong day punting, placing three of his five boots inside the 15 yard line. 

WPI was plus four in the turnover margin and held a slight advantage in time of possession (31:46 to 28:14) while Rochester held the edge in total yards (437 to 347) and first downs.    

WPI closes out its season next Saturday with a noon game at Springfield while Rochester hosts Hobart in its regular season finale at the same time.

Click HERE if the video does not appear below.

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Bridgewater State 34, Fitchburg State 25
Box Score
Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
Box Score Recap
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Massachusetts Maritime 32, Worcester State 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Endicott 37, Nichols 0
Box Score
Final
MIT 30, at Maine Maritime 13
Box Score
Final
at Buffalo State 40, Morrisville State 24
Box Score Recap
Final
at Salve Regina 48, Coast Guard 10
Box Score
Final
St. Lawrence 20, at RPI 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Framingham State 23, Western Connecticut 17
Box Score
Final
at Montclair State 21, Rowan 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
Box Score Recap
Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 38, Bates 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Western New England 59, Curry 28
Box Score
Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Colby 9, at Williams 7
Box Score Photos
Final
at Middlebury 40, Bowdoin 3
Box Score
Final
at Amherst 34, Hamilton 0
Box Score
Final
Kean 24, at William Paterson 13
Box Score Recap
Final
at DePauw 66, Hiram 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Franklin and Marshall 45, at Juniata 22
Box Score
Final
at Kenyon 31, Allegheny 7
Box Score
Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
Box Score
Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Lycoming 28, at Misericordia 24
Box Score
Final
at Plymouth State 30, Mass-Dartmouth 14
Box Score
Final
at Husson 35, Alfred State 0
Box Score
Final
at Springfield 28, WPI 23
Box Score Recap
Final
at Moravian 24, Dickinson 10
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Denison 45, Wooster 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
Box Score
Final
at St. Vincent 57, Grove City 32
Box Score Recap
Final
at Susquehanna 55, Gettysburg 40
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at King's 21, Lebanon Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Alfred 20, Ithaca 6
Box Score Recap
Final
at Widener 25, Wilkes 23
Final
at McDaniel 30, Ursinus 27
Box Score Recap
Final
at Muskingum 28, Marietta 10
Box Score Photos
Final
at Minnesota-Morris 28, Iowa Wesleyan 27
Final
at John Carroll 42, Heidelberg 14
Box Score
Final
Ohio Northern 16, at Otterbein 10
Box Score Photos
Final
Case Western Reserve 35, at Waynesburg 7
Box Score
Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Rose-Hulman 23, at Defiance 15
Box Score
Final
at Centre 49, Chicago 27
Box Score
Final
at Mount St. Joseph 38, Manchester 19
Box Score Recap
Final
Hanover 49, at Anderson 25
Box Score
Final
at Merchant Marine 55, Rochester 7
Box Score
Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
Box Score Recap
Final
Concordia-Chicago 42, at Maranatha Baptist 10
Box Score Photos
Final
Washington U. 36, at Birmingham-Southern 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
Box Score
Final
at Northwestern (Minn.) 38, Martin Luther 20
Box Score
Final
at Eureka 28, MacMurray 13
Box Score
Final
at Westminster (Mo.) 35, Greenville 14
Box Score
Final
Dubuque 30, at Luther 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Monmouth 52, at Lake Forest 6
Box Score Photos
Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Augsburg 49, Carleton 17
Box Score Photos
Final
Bethel 44, at St. Olaf 7
Box Score
Final
at Hamline 42, Gustavus Adolphus 40
Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
Box Score Photos
Final
at UW-River Falls 42, Southwestern 22
Box Score
Final
Simpson 17, at Buena Vista 9
Box Score
Final
at St. Scholastica 49, Crown 13
Box Score Recap
Final
Cornell 46, at Beloit 41
Box Score
Final
at Carthage 27, Augustana 24
Final
Coe 48, at Nebraska Wesleyan 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wartburg 56, Finlandia 0
Box Score
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
Recap
Final
Hendrix 42, at Millsaps 14
Box Score
Final
Illinois Wesleyan 45, at North Park 10
Final
at Macalester 34, Grinnell 0
Box Score
Final
at Ripon 33, Knox 19
Final
Illinois College 40, at Lawrence 15
Final
UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
Box Score
Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
Box Score Recap
Final
at Geneva 35, Thiel 27
Final
UW-Eau Claire 40, at Wisconsin Lutheran 14
Box Score
Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Stevens Point 44, at Adrian 19
Box Score
Final
UW-La Crosse 41, at Carroll 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Berry 41, Sewanee 3
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Westminster (Pa.) 38, at Bethany 9
Final
Ohio Wesleyan 29, at Oberlin 16
Box Score
Final
at Tufts 17, Wesleyan 14
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Capital 35, Wilmington 21
Box Score
Final
at Southwestern Assemblies 23, Austin 17
Photos
Cancelled
Langston at McMurry
Video Live Stats
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Chapman 19, Trinity (Texas) 17
Box Score Recap
Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
Box Score Recap
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
Box Score
Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
Box Score
Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
Box Score Recap
Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
Box Score Recap
Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
Recap
Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
Box Score
Final
UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
Box Score
Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
Box Score Recap
Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
Box Score Recap