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Defense propels RPI to victory

Troy—After easily taking care of Anna Maria College 38-0, the RPI Engineers looked to capitalize on their momentum against the University of Rochester. Great defense created offensive opportunity and the Engineers came out with another 38-0 result.

“It’s all about us executing our offense because when we execute our stuff we’re pretty good. We just have to keep doing that in conference play,” said quarterback George Marinopoulos.

Conversely to the Anna Maria game, the Engineers had a tough fight in the first quarter. Thanks to some execution mishaps RPI was held scoreless and just 95 yards in the first quarter. The defense held the Engineers up though holding the Yellow Jacket to a mere 44 yards.

The RPI offense finally came to life at the end of the first quarter when Marinopoulos unloaded to Nick Smith down the sideline for a thirty yard gain. Then early in the second quarter Marinopoulos found Smith yet again, this time shrugging off a defender in the end zone for a 24 yard touchdown. Just like that, the flood gates had been opened.

“They were both audibles George gave me. He’s reading the coverage, I’m reading the coverage we both see it and rep it everyday at practice. It’s just a long ball long and I go up and grab it,” said Smith.

The defense knew just how to help fan the flames. They put pressure on Rochester’s formerly third-string quarterback Derek Bufano with enormous success. The RPI defensive line got their hands on two passes in the second quarter that popped up in the air and into the hands of Grant Tragni and Josh Cohen respectively. These turnovers as well as a muffed punt recovery gave the Engineers excellent field position inside Rochester territory. RPI’s offense did not disappoint their defense, scoring on each of the opportunities including touchdown passes to Vinnie McDonald and Spencer Merkel as time expired. The Engineers found themselves up 24-0 by halftime.

Coach Ralph Isernia mentioned the Merkel score saying, “They called a timeout because it wasn’t what they expected and then we finally had some good execution at the end of the first half.”

It was smooth sailing in the second half where another tipped interception and a muffed punt recovery helped Maliek Kelly and Peter Lombardi to score and extend the lead to 38.

The RPI Engineers will head out on the road to play their first ranked opponent of the season in Hobart. The Statesmen suffered their first loss today to Union 23-7.

Marinopoulos commented, “We’ve just got to come out excited everyday and just have fun with it.”

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