CASTLETON, Vt. – Shane Brozowski (Rensselaer, N.Y.) set a new Castleton State College record with 41 completions, and threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns for the fifth time in his career, but Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute quarterback Mike Hermann (Hardeeville, S.C.) proved to be too much in a 56-35 setback Saturday afternoon at Spartan Stadium.
Hermann was on target all day, completing 16-of-24 passes for 331 yards and five touchdowns. The senior quarterback also rushed nine times for 66 yards and a pair of scores in leading the Engineers to their second-straight win to start the season.
Brozowski finished 41-for-56 for 403 yards, four touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.
The Spartans got on the scoreboard first after RPI's opening drive ended with a missed 23-yard field goal. Brozowski connected with Brandon Boyle (Springfield, Vt.) from 25 yards out to cap a 14-play, 80-yard drive that spanned more than five minutes. Brozowski kept the drive alive with a fourth-and-one conversion at his own 29-yard line and converted on a pair of third downs en route to the score.
Hermann answered on the ensuing drive, connecting with Nick Weber (Winchester, Mass.) for a 51-yard touchdown on third-and-nine as the first quarter expired. The touchdown was the first of three long strikes to Weber as Hermann worked the play-action fake to perfection, freezing the Spartan secondary and allowing Weber to work behind the defense.
RPI stretched its lead to 21-7 midway through the second quarter on the strength of a 26-yard Hermann run and a 44-yard Hermann-to-Weber hook up. Both drives started with the Engineers facing a short field as Hermann's scamper capped a four-play, 52-yard drive and the toss came at the end of a three-play, 48-yard foray.
The Spartans cut the lead to 21-14 with another lengthy scoring drive, capped by a Tyler Carpenter (Fort Edward, N.Y.) plunge from one yard out. Brozowski found Kevin Alberque (Ridgefield Park, N.J.) on a pair of big plays during the drive including a third-and-one bubble screen that Alberque shook and shimmied into a 17-yard gain down to the RPI 12 yard line.
The Engineers answered quickly yet again, this time with a three-play, 65-yard drive that ended with a T.J. Strunk (West Palm Beach, Fla.) five yard touchdown run. Facing a first-down and 12, Hermann threw a backward pass to Austin Caswell (Round Rock, Texas) on the right sideline and Caswell fired a strike to Steven Burpoe (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) for a nifty 55-yard pick up to set up the scoring play and give RPI a 28-14 lead entering halftime.
Castleton's opening drive of the second half stalled at the RPI 28 and the Engineers marched 72 yards on eight plays to stretch its lead to 35-14 on a Hermann touchdown run from four yards out.
The Spartans reeled off 14-straight points on a pair of Brozowski touchdown passes, one to Boyle and the other to Denny Wilhelm (Glens Falls, N.Y.), cutting the deficit to 35-28 entering the fourth quarter.
The momentum was short-lived however, as RPI intercepted Brozowski twice and rattled off three-straight touchdown drives to put the game out of reach.
Weber's three touchdown catches led to a team-high 135 yards, while Burpoe hauled in a team-best five catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. Caswell added three catches for 68 yards and a touchdown to his 55 yards passing.
Strunk finished with a game-high 91 yards on 18 rushes and a touchdown, while Matt Wood (Skaneateles, N.Y.) chipped in 38 yards on seven carries.
Boyle proved to be Brozowski's favorite target all day, hauling in a Castleton-record 17 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Wilhelm caught ten balls for 76 yards and a pair of scores, while Carpenter added six catches for 38 yards and Alberque racked up 90 yards on four catches.
The Engineer defense was led by Jay Cavanagh's (Phippsburg, Maine) 10 tackles, while Nick Borkowski (Fort Salonga, N.Y.), Matthew Day (Claremont, N.H.) and Austin Nelz (Marco Island, Fla.) each chipped in nine. Jacob Meyers (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) and Wade Hansen (Troy, N.Y.) each added a sack, while Corey White (Taberg, N.Y.) chipped in five quarterback hurries and an interception to the stat sheet.
Todd Carr (Ticonderoga, N.Y.) had a Spartan-best 10 tackles and forced a fumble and Cameron Laundry (Hartford, Vt.) added eight tackles and a sack. Mick Wong (Hartford, Vt.) stood out with nine tackles (seven solo) including three for a loss.
Castleton falls to 1-2 and will open its Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) slate next Saturday versus SUNY-Maritime as part of homecoming weekend at 1 p.m.