/seasons/2011/contrib/20110924c5bq13

Mello's Four Touchdowns Helps WPI Keep the Transit Trophy in Worcester

More news about: WPI

Worcester, MA --- Ernie Mello (Wilmington, MA) rushed for 166 yards and four touchdowns and the WPI defense forced five turnovers as the hosts held off a furious fourth quarter rally to defeat Rensselaer 34-31 in the annual Transit Trophy rivalry game between the two schools.  WPI levels its record at 2-2 and opens Liberty League play at 1-0 while RPI dips to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in conference play. 

Coupled with last year's 24-10 win in Troy, Worcester's Engineers have now won consecutive games in the series for the first time since 1995 and 1996, while RPI leads the all-time series 55-45-5. 

WPI scored on the opening drive of the game as Mello snuck in from a yard out after he and quarterback Johny Antonopoulos (Cambridge, MA) posted long runs of 35 and 32 yards respectively.  RPI answered right back, aided by a roughing the kicker call on a punt, to tie the score at 7-7 when quarterback Mike Hermann(Hardeeville, SC) tallied the first of his three rushing touchdowns when he scampered in from six yards out.  

The hosts rattled off the next four scores to open up a seemingly insurmountable 34-7 advantage.  Mello sandwiched touchdown runs of 1 and 19 yards around the end of the first quarter and start of the second and Antonopoulos found Trevor Dunne (Cedar Knolls, NJ) on a five-yard touchdown strike just 17 seconds before intermission to enter the locker room with a 27-7 lead. After a Hussein Yatim (Shrewsbury, MA) interception on RPI's opening drive in the second half, Mello waltzed in from 26 yards out to push the lead to 27 points just 4:57 into the third quarter. 

RPI began its comeback late in the third quarter, embarking on a 12-play 43-yard drive that found the end zone 29 seconds into the fourth when Hermann plunged in from a yard out.  After the teams traded punts, WPI was in great position to put the game away following a 41-yard punt return from Matt Cyr (Dracut, MA) but a fumble deep in RPI territory helped the visitors begin a 13-play drive that covered 95 yards culminating in a 3-yard Hermann scoring run that sliced the WPI lead to 34-21. 

Andrew Franks (Carmel, CA) booted that ensuing kickoff into the end zone for a touchback that eventually led to a safety when Chazz Pillam(Chandler, AZ) tackled the WPI punter in the end zone following an errant snap.  RPI took the ball following the free kick and drew closer when Hermann found Austin Caswell (Round Rock, TX) in the back of the end zone for a 4-yard pass with 2:57 remaining.  The duo connected again on the two-point conversion to draw the visiting Engineers to within 3 at 34-31. 

Manny Cambra (Bethel, CT) recovered an onside kick for WPI and Mello put the game away with a seven-yard run on 3rd-and-4 to ensure the Transit Trophy would remain in Worcester. 

John Perron (Worcester, MA) led the defensive charge for WPI.  The senior captain registered a pair of interceptions, recovered and shared in a tackle-for-loss while racking up five tackles.  William Alves (West Warrick, RI) paced the Engineers with eight tackles to go along with a pass break up.  Shaine Grogan (Peru, MA) added seven tackles, including a sack. 

RPI's Zac Borrelli (Methuen, MA) notched a game-best nine tackles and forced and recovered the fourth quarter fumble.  Zach Scruggs (Auburn, GA) and Matthew Day (Claremont, NH) both chipped in with eight tackles for the guests while Ted Abriel (Slingerlands, NY) recorded RPI's lone sack of the day. 

Mello took home the Robert Pritchard Award as the Most Outstanding Back while Joe Everett (Columbia, CT) won as the Most Outstanding Lineman.  Mello's 166 yards and four scores on 32 carries were both career highs while Everett tallied five tackles and forced a fumble.  

Antonopoulos ended up with 62 yards on the ground and 41 yards through the air.  Nick Bean (Middleboro, MA) hauled in three of WPI's six receptions for 31 yards. 

Hermann had an outstanding day for RPI.  The junior signal-caller completed 23-of-36 passes for 230 yards and added 69 yards on the ground, including three scores.  Steven Burpoe (Saranac Lake, NY) caught eight passes for 81 yards while Caswell nabbed seven catches for 41 yards and the touchdown.  

Both teams continue their Liberty League schedule next Saturday at 1pm.  WPI is at Union while RPI entertains Rochester. 

Oct. 20: All times Eastern
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at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
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at Framingham State 29, Westfield State 14
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Moravian 20, at Juniata 17
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at Salve Regina 41, Endicott 14
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at Thomas More 63, St. Vincent 13
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at Union 28, Hobart 23
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at Hamilton 27, Colby 24
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at Christopher Newport 27, William Paterson 19
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at Ithaca 35, St. John Fisher 10
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at Allegheny 44, Kenyon 35
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SUNY-Maritime 21, at Mount Ida 13
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Middlebury 43, at Bates 14
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at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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at Amherst 23, Wesleyan 19
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at Trinity (Conn.) 63, Bowdoin 14
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Husson 48, at Gallaudet 21
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Wabash 35, at Oberlin 21
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at Utica 34, Buffalo State 12
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Ohio Northern 7, at Muskingum 6
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at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
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at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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at Stevenson 26, Albright 23
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Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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at Albion 31, Alma 28
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at Guilford 45, Shenandoah 20
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Plymouth State 40, at Massachusetts Maritime 14
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Wooster 58, at Hiram 25
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Washington and Lee 36, at Hampden-Sydney 6
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at Anna Maria 36, Alfred State 34
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Bridgewater 31, at Emory and Henry 23
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Lebanon Valley 17, at Misericordia 0
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RPI 30, at Alfred 15
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at Curry 46, Nichols 16
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Ferrum 27, at Brevard 24
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Randolph-Macon 63, at Apprentice 14
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Cortland 34, at Morrisville State 20
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at Trine 50, Hope 14
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Trinity (Texas) 27, at Sewanee 21
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at Franklin and Marshall 56, Dickinson 0
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Tufts 21, at Williams 13
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Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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MIT 30, at Coast Guard 21
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at Norwich 24, Maine Maritime 22
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at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
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Franklin 29, at Rose-Hulman 22
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John Carroll 48, at Capital 21
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at Manchester 28, Bluffton 21
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Mount St. Joseph 71, at Anderson 27
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UW-Whitewater 20, at UW-River Falls 7
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Kean 26, at TCNJ 3
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at LaGrange 59, Greensboro 10
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at Worcester State 45, Mass-Dartmouth 40
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Muhlenberg 40, at McDaniel 13
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Western New England 45, at Becker 0
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at Maryville (Tenn.) 35, Methodist 14
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Adrian 36, at Kalamazoo 22
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Denison 31, at Ohio Wesleyan 20
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at Washington and Jefferson 34, Westminster (Pa.) 33
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Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
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at Benedictine 43, Olivet 37
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Birmingham-Southern 31, at Austin 24
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
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at UW-Stout 23, UW-Stevens Point 17
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Eureka 37, at MacMurray 20
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at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
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Nebraska Wesleyan 14, at Buena Vista 13
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Lakeland 48, at Wisconsin Lutheran 0
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at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
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St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
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Westminster (Mo.) 24, at Greenville 14
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at Loras 44, Coe 38
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Monmouth 61, at Cornell 10
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Wheaton (Ill.) 56, at North Park 0
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Northwestern (Minn.) 30, at Martin Luther 14
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Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
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at Lake Forest 70, Grinnell 6
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at Macalester 47, Ripon 31
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at Iowa Wesleyan 24, Minnesota-Morris 17
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UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
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Hanover 49, at Earlham 14
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15:00, 4th Qtr.
42 UW-Oshkosh
28 UW-La Crosse
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Simpson at Dubuque
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2 Augustana
54 North Central (Ill.)
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East Texas Baptist at Louisiana College
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0 Hartwick
24 Brockport
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24 Chapman
9 La Verne
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7 Lewis and Clark
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21 Pacific Lutheran
0 Willamette
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31 Whitworth
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18 Redlands
17 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
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6 Linfield
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Oct. 20: All times Eastern
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at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
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at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
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Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
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Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
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at Washington and Jefferson 34, Westminster (Pa.) 33
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Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
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St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
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at St. John's 41, Gustavus Adolphus 17
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at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
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at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
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Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
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UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
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15:00, 4th Qtr.
42 UW-Oshkosh
28 UW-La Crosse
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2:20 4Q
2 Augustana
54 North Central (Ill.)
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10:30 2ndQ
0 Hartwick
24 Brockport
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0 George Fox
6 Linfield
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7:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Geneva
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