The UR football team arrived in Troy, N.Y. with a clear purpose. In search of its first Liberty League win in the 2011 season, the Yellowjackets were met by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a team also thirsty for its first taste of success within the conference. Only one could emerge with that crucial first victory.
The yellow and blue came out firing on all cylinders. After forcing an RPI fumble on the home team’s first possession of the game, UR senior quarterback Braezen Subick — fresh off a school record-setting performance last week — stepped in to commandeer the offense to the first touchdown of the game. Subick drove the offense 84 yards, compiling three first downs that included a 34-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Garrett Kesel and a 27-yard gain courtesy of junior wide receiver Thomas Hayes.
Graduate student and running back Clarence Onyriuka wrapped up the drive with a seven-yard carry into the RPI end zone with six minutes remaining in the first quarter. Junior kicker Alex Antonucci’s extra-point kick was good, all adding up to a 7-0 UR lead. Subick and the ’Jackets had come to play.
RPI was quick to respond. Engineers’ quarterback Mike Hermann connected with receiver Austin Caswell for a mammoth 50-yard gain, and before the quarter was complete, Hermann found a hole in the UR defense and scrambled through to put his team on the board. RPI kicker Andrew Franks evened the tally at 7-7 with a successful extra-point.
Both offenses were quiet for the rest of the first and second quarters. Early in the third quarter, however, the UR attack returned to form. Sophomore outside linebacker Tony Ortega recovered a fumble by the Engineers’ Steven Burpoe and sprinted to RPI’s one-yard line. It took just one carry — once again on the part of Onyriuka — to put the ’Jackets back on top, 14-7, with 11:34 remaining in the third quarter.
After RPI closed the gap to one point with 7:05 left in the quarter, Subick went right back to work, connecting with three different receivers for three first downs on five attempts in the drive. At the RPI five-yard line, Subick then looked to junior tight end Richard Brunet in the end zone, who reeled in Subick’s bullet of a pass for the third UR touchdown of the game.
Antonucci continued his perfect streak of extra-point conversions to up the score to 21-13 in the Yellowjackets’ favor. Antonucci tacked on some insurance points with an impressive 42-yard field goal with 40 seconds remaining in the quarter.
Unfortunately, it was in the fourth quarter that things began to fall apart for UR, as Hermann led the Engineers to two touchdowns in a span of just over ten minutes to put RPI up for good, 28-24.
Winless in two Liberty League games this season, UR will seek to end the skid when it takes on the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy on Saturday, Oct. 15.
<i> Bernstein is a member of the class of 2014 <i/>