The Yellowjackets put together one of their best performances of the year on both sides of the ball as they manhandled Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass. this past Saturday, 34-7. The win was the third straight for the team as they improved their record to 5-2 and 3-1 in Liberty League play.
The UR defense was too much for WPI as they held them to just one score and only 257 total yards on offense. Senior linebacker Jason Goeller turned in another impressive performance, finishing the game with two sacks and an interception. The defense amassed six sacks and two interceptions and kept the WPI offense out of the red zone all but five times during the course of the game.
The ‘Jackets started the game on their own 27-yard line. Ten plays and 73 yards later, Rochester got on the scoreboard thanks to a three yard run into the end zone by junior running back Matt Bielecki. A missed extra point kept the score at 6-0.
The defense set the tone early during the ensuing kickoff to WPI. Senior linebacker Osaze Ogbahon forced a fumble by the WPI return man that was nearly recovered by the ‘Jackets. WPI drove down the field only to have their field goal attempt blocked.
The next possession for the UR offense featured more touches for Bielecki. The WPI defense couldn’t seem to stop him as he ran the ball five times for 42 yards on that drive alone. Bielecki capped off the drive with another score, this time from two yards out. He finished the game with 177 yards rushing. At the end of the first quarter, the Yellowjackets had a comfortable 13-0 lead.
The Engineers earned their only score of the game in the second quarter, but from then on it was all Yellowjackets. They responded to the WPI touchdown with a score of their own, working with a short field thanks to a long kickoff return by freshman wide receiver Zach Ingoldsby. Following a couple of long gains on the ground by Bielecki, senior quarterback Aaron Molisani found fellow senior running back Pat O’Brien for a 10-yard touchdown pass. The first half closed with the ‘Jackets comfortably ahead, 20-7.
WPI got the ball to start the second half and essentially wasted their possession when Goeller intercepted a pass attempt on the very first play of the drive. The Yellowjackets ran the ball a whopping seven times during an eight play drive, effectively shortening the duration of the game by letting the clock run. Though they were forced to punt, they allowed WPI the opportunity for only one more possession the rest of the third quarter. The Engineers drove the length of the field, and they found themselves in a fourth down situation at the two-yard line. Instead of kicking a field goal, WPI went for the touchdown, but their rush attempt was stuffed for a five-yard loss by junior defensive back Jim Milks.
The offense took over on their own seven-yard line. Just like their previous possessions, the ‘Jackets continued to pound the ball on the ground using both Bielecki and Molisani. The WPI defense simply couldn’t stop the running game, resulting in solid gains and many first downs, as well as taking large chunks of time off the game clock.
The drive ended with two consecutive completions by Molisani, one to sophomore running back Patrick Till and the other to junior wide receiver Jay Jay Vanderstyne for the score. The touchdown gave the Yellowjackets a commanding 27-7 lead.
Molisani would get his third touchdown pass of the day and eleventh of the season later in the fourth quarter. He connected with senior tight end Pat McCarthy for the touchdown to make the score 34-7.
The game would end that way as the Yellowjackets left Worcester with the blowout victory. The offense was clicking on all cylinders and the defense dominated the entire afternoon.
The Yellowjackets will look to continue their success with a fourth win in a row this Saturday when they face Grove City College in Pennsylvania. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.
Brackney is a member of the class of 2007.