With a two-game winning streak, the UR football team headed into this weekend’s contest at Worcester Polytechnic Institute with high hopes, only to have them dashed with a 34-10 loss.UR started quickly, taking an early 10-point first-quarter lead. Junior quarterback Aaron Molisani wrapped up a 10-play, 63-yard drive with a 10-yard run with 8:25 left in the quarter. On the ensuing extra point attempt, freshman holder wideout JJ Vanderstyne took the snap in for a two-point conversion.Later in the quarter, UR struck again, this time on special teams. After a defensive stand, WPI was forced to punt from its own 35 yard line. A botched snap went over the head of WPI punter Jermey Griffin, causing him to down it in his own end zone for the safety.UR’s defense controlled the first quarter, holding WPI to five three-and-outs. On the final play of the second quarter, senior defensive lineman Benji Waller sacked opposing quarterback Ryan Jennette. Injured on the play, Jennette was forced to leave the game, which proved to be a blessing in disguise for WPI.Jennette’s replacement, Rob Pantelone, proceeded to lead WPI on a nine-play, 63-yard drive on the team’s first full series of the second quarter. However, the UR defense forced a fourth and goal when junior defensive back Pat Manuel stopped WPI running back Billy Orfalea just before he could cross the goal line on. WPI successfully converted on fourth and goal to change the score to 10-7.The next three and a half quarters were all WPI. During that time, UR managed to get only three drives into WPI territory, while the defense gave up 34 unanswered points.WPI was led by a ground game that rushed for nearly 230 yards and accounted for three of the team’s five touchdowns, including a 54-yard run in the final quarter by running back Preston Roberts, who rushed for over 100 yards on the day. Offensively, UR was paced by sophomore back Pat O’Brien, who had 16 carries for 71 yards, and Molisani who picked up 96 yards on 19 attempts. Molisani also passed for 123 yards by completing 16 of 34 attempts. The receiving corps was led by junior David Ferris’ five catches for 43 yards and senior tight end Dave Sanok’s three catches for 47 yards. Defensively, UR was led by sophomore linebacker Peter Kum-Nji, who had eight tackles including six unassisted. Waller contributed five tackles and two and a half sacks.With the loss, UR falls to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in Liberty League play, dropping them to third place in league standings. UR can regain its winning ways as it travels to New London, Conn. for a 1 p.m. kickoff versus the United States Coast Guard Academy.Allard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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