The Yellowjacket football squad suffered a tough defeat at the hands of the Worchester Polytechnic Institute Engineers in Worcester, Mass. this past weekend and dropped to 2-5 on the season. The game was a defensive battle, with neither team being able to produce much offensively. UR struggled to move the ball, posting only 227 yards on offense and scoring just one touchdown.

Heading the offense, freshman quarterback Braezen Subick finished the day 20-33 with two interceptions.

Defensively, the ‘Jackets played extremely well, holding the top-ranked Liberty League team to only 239 yards of total offense. Senior defensive back and captain Sean Simpson led the team defensively with 6.5 tackles.

Coming into this week’s game, WPI boasted the top-ranked offense in the Liberty League. The ‘Jackets defense showcased its ability to step up and make big plays against an offensive powerhouse. The Yellowjackets were solid against both the passing and rushing attack and relentless in their pass rush, putting up a total of three sacks.

A standout player who contributed heavily to the defensive success was freshman defensive tackle Bill Campi. The 6-foot, 285-pound lineman finished the day with a total of four solo tackles. In a 3-4 defensive scheme, the defensive tackle is no glory position. His job is to eat up double-team blocks and allow the linebackers to run free and make tackles. Campi did an excellent job Saturday afternoon in doing just that, aiding the ‘Jackets’ defense in holding WPI to only 89 yards rushing on the day.

Although UR’s defense played exceptionally well, it was unable to overcome the adversity it faced on the offensive side of the ball. Penalties and red-zone breakdowns deterred the ‘Jackets from putting up the points they needed in order to win.

UR had a total of five penalties for 50 yards and was only able to convert on one of its three trips to the red zone.

‘We struggled to get things going on offense,” senior running back Mike Sondericker said. ‘To beat a good team like WPI, we needed to convert in the red zone and be disciplined, [meaning] not getting penalties.”

After an early score by WPI that gave the Engineers a 7-0 lead, the ‘Jackets responded with a touchdown at the end of the first quarter on a blocked punt by senior defensive back Matt Stack. The ball was recovered in the end zone by freshman inside linebacker Dan Reynolds, and sophomore kicker Zach White-Stellato’s extra point tied the score.

UR’s special teams have played exceptionally well this season under the leadership of second-year special teams coordinator Cory Vartanian. This was the second special teams touchdown scored this year by the ‘Jackets.

UR’s only offensive touchdown of the day was a 5-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Zach Ingoldsby. Subick’s pass to Ingoldsby brought the ‘Jackets within one touchdown of WPI with 8:46 to play in the game.

Ingoldsby finished the day with a total of six catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. With those receptions, Ingoldsby joins an elite group of receivers in UR history and is now in the top 10 in career catches.

On the ensuing possession, the ‘Jackets’ defense was once again successful in shutting down the Engineer’s offense, forcing it to punt and giving UR a shot at a late fourth-quarter comeback. However, UR was unable to mount an offensive attack and turned the ball over on downs.

The Yellowjackets have three games left to play in the regular season and are in need of a win. They return home this upcoming weekend for a game against nonconference opponent Alfred University.

‘We still have to work hard and keep our heads up,” Sondericker said. ‘As seniors, we have three games left in our careers and it would be nice to go out with a few wins.”

The game against Alfred will not be a cakewalk, however, as Alfred sits at 5-2 in the Empire Eight Conference. Kickoff is at noon in Fauver Stadium.

Next week, the ‘Jackets will remain home to face St. Lawrence University for their final home game of the season.

Horowitz is a member of the class of 2009.

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