RPI wins the Transit Trophy against WPI

TROY – RPI started the game with a strong air attack. Following a twenty-nine yard pass to Danny Calabro, sophomore quarter George Marinopoulos connected with Conor Davies for the first score of the game. On  RPI’s next drive, two carries by Rob Law for fourteen yards set up Marinopoulos to find Nick Smith in the end zone for a ten yard touchdown.

In the second quarter, senior Nick Cella barreled through the defense for fourteen yards on two carries, bringing RPI to the four yard line. On the next play, Marinopoulos found Nick Smith again in the back corner of the end zone for another touchdown. Smith, a sophomore did not get to play his freshman year and was shut down last year with an injury. These two touchdowns were his first two catches of his collegiate career.

Smith said, “That injury was tough, I’d like to thank the rehab team here and clearly I’m making plays now.”

WPI’s first score came in the last two minutes of the first half. Nic Rossi moved them inside the ten on a monster catch and run play. Then on third down, Sean McAllen finally broke into the end zone on a one yard run.

RPI’s defense did a remarkable job of controlling the impact WPI’s Julian Nyland throughout the first half. Nyland, WPI’s junior quarterback threw for over three hundred yards and completed eighty-seven percent of his passes last week against Anna Maria. But Nyland struggled to find a target before meeting RPI’s pass rush, throwing for only ninety-five yards, forty percent completion, and one interception. They also held WPI to twenty-seven yards on the ground and forced a fumble that lead to Nick Smith’s first touchdown.

WPI was the first team to get on the board in the third quarter. After the teams traded interceptions, WPI found themselves inside the RPI five. Sean McAllen punched it in to cut RPI’s lead to five points.

But once again RPI’s defense proves to be too much for Julian Nyland. In the third quarter, John Sadak intercepted a pass at the twenty-eight yard line and brought it back to the house, extending the lead to eleven points. Then with the ball inside the red zone, Nyland was intercepted again but this time by Luke Watanabe for a touchback. Andres Guisasola then picked off another pass with less than two minutes left, effectively ending the game.

Coach Ralph Isernia said, “We knew he would make some throws, make some plays because good quarterbacks do that. But if we can get him off of his spot, and make him go to two or three then maybe we would have a chance to get there pass rush wise.”

With the win today RPI becomes 2-0 this season as they go out to play Utica next Saturday. As for the Transit trophy, RPI holds onto it for the second year in a row while being 26-12-1 in Transit trophy games.

LJ LaFiura

LJ LaFiura is a general assignment sports reporter at the upstate Courier. A Fort Edward native, he attends Saratoga Central Catholic High School.

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