On two consecutive weekends, the UR football team suffered disappointing losses. The ‘Jackets faced off against the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers in Fauver Stadium on Oct. 4 and at Susquehanna University on Oct. 11. RPI held off UR in the second half, winning 27-17. The next weekend, the Susquehanna Crusaders topped the ‘Jackets, 28-13.
RPI started out the game with a field goal from kicker Peter Nilson. The Yellowjackets didn’t let this early play stop their adrenaline, though, and got back on top with 11:47 left in the second quarter. Sophomore runningback Clarence Onyiriuka ran for five yards to put the ‘Jackets on the scoreboard. His run completed a 13-play, 90-yard drive for UR.
Once it got back on offense, though, RPI showed that they were not going to back down. It drove over 60 yards in 10 plays to get back on top, 10-7. Quarterback Jimmy Robertson’s 23-yard pass to Patrick McCarthy on a fourth down play was key in the drive for the Engineers.
It wasn’t over, however, as UR insisted on regaining the lead. With 2:09 to go in the first half, senior return man Mike Sondericker weaved his way to a 32-yard touchdown to bring the score to 14-10. A hurry-up offensive attack from RPI led to a 54-yard, 10-play drive resulting in a 26-yard field goal from Nilson to pull RPI within a point of UR at the half.
Unfortunately for the ‘Jackets, their momentum was not nearly as strong as the Engineers’ going into the second half. RPI took back the lead on their first play of the third quarter.
The Engineers completed three big-gain completions to put them on the UR 5-yard line. Runningback Nick Costa rushed for four yards and then dove over the pack for the score. UR fought back again, getting sophomore kicker Zach White-Stellato into position for a 29-yard field goal and bringing the score to 20-17.
But the RPI defense was what really made the difference in the second half. A touchdown pass was deflected by Joe Albano on a UR third down, and the fourth down field goal attempt was blocked by Khaly Merot, leaving the ‘Jackets empty-handed after a long drive.
On the Yellowjackets’ next possession, the RPI defense thwarted another scoring attempt and sealed the game. On fourth down and eight, freshman quarterback Braezen Subick’s pass, intended for senior captain and tight end Tom Malczewski was intercepted in the end zone by RPI’s Justin Foglia.
UR came back after a week of hard practice to face off against Susquehanna.
Onyiriuka rushed for a season-high 135 yards on 19 carries but unfortunately that wasn’t enough for the ‘Jackets. Crusader’s tailback Dave Paveletz ran for a school record of 288 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Crusaders to a 28-13 victory over the ‘Jackets.
The tailback carried the ball an impressive 47 times and scored on runs of 1,7, 18 and 20 yards.
Paveletz put the Crusaders ahead late in the second quarter with a 1-yard run that ended a 12-play, 71-yard drive.
The ‘Jackets came right back with a no-huddle offense and pushed their way down the field to within scoring range. Subick’s pass intended for junior wide receiver Zach Ingoldsby was intercepted in the end zone by the Crusaders with less than a minute left in the first half.
Coming back out strong, Paveletz improved the Crusader’s lead to 14-0 with a 7-yard run that ended a four-play rush early in the third.
UR was finally pumped up enough to come right back with a strong drive, resulting in a 1-yard diving touchdown from senior fullback Patrick Till. White-Stellato’s extra point was good, putting the score at 14-7 midway through the third quarter.
The Crusaders recovered a UR fumble late in the third, leading to another Paveletz touchdown that gave them a 21-7 edge going into the final leg of the game. UR came back with a burst of energy to get them another touchdown, this time on a pass from Subick to Ingoldsby.
The snap for the extra point was bobbled, and UR tried to make the best of the mistake by going for a 2-point conversion. Unfortunately, it was unsuccessful, leaving the score at 21-13. The Crusaders had one more touchdown, off of a 20-yard sprint from Paveletz, to clinch the win.
UR returns home this weekend for Meliora Weekend. They will welcome the United States Merchant Marine Academy to Fauver Stadium with a 1 p.m. kickoff.
A number of ceremonies will take place during the game. Surviving members of the ’58 football team will take part in the coin toss prior to the match-up. Hall of Fame inductees will be announced at halftime.
Naval Reserve Officer’s Training Corps will also be honored, as it is its 65th anniversary.
Rogers is a member of the class of 2012.