The Yellowjackets easily outmatched visiting Carnegie Mellon University, steamrolling the Tartans 21-9 in their final game of the season on a crisp autumn afternoon at Edwin Fauver Stadium. UR finished the season second in the UAA with a record of 3-1 and an overall record of 5-5.
UR established a dominating air early in the contest, scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter and keeping the Tartans off the scoreboard until a late second- quarter field goal ended the Yellowjackets’ shutout.
Senior running back Gerard Hopkins led the way for the home team, rushing for a career-high 206 yards on 26 carries with a touchdown. Sophomore quarterback Aaron Molisani and senior wide receiver Brian Ferris also scored in what was the Yellowjackets’ third win of the last four games.
“We set the tone for the game early,” Head Coach Mark Kreydt said. “We walked out of the locker room and made a strong statement that we were going to play a physical game. We controlled the line of scrimmage and we controlled the game.”
Receiving the opening kickoff, the Yellowjackets started their opening offensive drive at their own 29-yard line with an incomplete pass from Molisani intended for Ferris.
Quickly shifting to a run-based offense, Hopkins then burst 20 yards through the middle towards midfield and was followed by a 17-yard quarterback keeper that brought UR well into Carnegie Mellon territory.
Then it was back to Hopkins, who darted 26 yards in four plays to place the Yellowjackets within eight yards of the goal-line. Remaining true to the run, Molisani converted the last eight yards easily to score UR’s first touchdown of the game. Senior kicker Chris Johnston kicked the extra point with ease.
With the defense blocking any attempts by the Tartans to launch an offensive attack, UR soon found itself in a position to increase its lead. Hopkins scored with less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter, breaking free from the line of scrimmage and taking the ball 65 yards back into the visitor’s end-zone. The PAT by Johnston was good, bringing the score to 14-0.
Leading by two touchdowns, the Yellowjackets felt free to mix up the offensive formula, complementing Hopkins and sophomore running back Pat O’Brien with an aerial attack.
A punt from the Tartans was downed at the Carnegie Mellon 34-yard line,closing in on another Yellowjacket score. Molisani hit O’Brien with a 17-yard spiral that brought UR into the red-zone, and then connected with Ferris for another 10 yards for a touchdown. The Yellowjackets now controlled the contest with a commanding 21-0 lead.
Carnegie Mellon scored its only touchdown of the afternoon off a drive resulting from a fumble from O’Brien near midfield that was recovered by Tartan Adam Wirth. Starting from within Rochester terrain, Brad Stanley and Ricardo Clarke frustrated the defense, inching towards the end zone and completing the drive with a two-yard touchdown run by Stanley. The two-point conversion attempt by Stanley was stopped, leaving the final score 21-9.
Defensively, senior captain and lineman Sam Snowden highlighted the UR effort with seven tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. Linebacker Kevin Burns also had seven tackles and broke up two passes to contribute to the Yellowjackets’ win.
Kreydt is satisfied at where the Yellowjackets have found themselves.
“No one starts the season hoping to go 5-5, but given where we came from I feel good about the way we ended the season. This group has really battled through a decent amount of adversity. We only had four home games, we were away for Meliora Weekend, we struggled a bit with our confidence, but along the way we became a good football team. We set the bar higher for next year and we will have to work hard to get over it. But I’m extremely excited because of that.”
Schloss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.