/seasons/2017/contrib/201710213wzi8y

Turnovers plague AU at home against RPI

More news about: Alfred

ALFRED, NY – The No. 25 Alfred University Saxons (5-2, 3-1 Empire 8) turned the ball over seven times in a 30-15 loss to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Yunevich Stadium on Saturday.
 
The Saxons totaled six interceptions and a fumble in the nonconference match up, falling for the second game in a row. AU had not lost back-to-back games since 2014 when it closed out the season with losses to Utica College and St. John Fisher College.
 
Senior A.J. LiCata (Lake View, NY/Frontier) set a new standard in career tackles at Alfred University, surpassing Nick Clark '11 (377 career tackles). LiCata now stands at 382 career tackles in his collegiate career. He is only 69 tackles short of the NCAA Division III top-10 career total tackles list (Adrian Pynenberg, Wabash – 451).
 
The Saxons were the first team on the board, scoring with 8:21 left in the first quarter. AU marched 72 yards on four plays to earn the 7-0 lead when first-year Nas Smith (Auburn, NY/Auburn) barreled his way into the end zone from seven yards out for his fourth touchdown of the year.
 
The Engineers replied with a scoring drive on their next possession, carrying the ball 44 yards on 15 plays. Kicker Christian Kapp nailed a 44-yard field goal, bringing RPI within four points of the Saxons to close out the first stanza.
 
The second quarter was a defensive battle, with the Engineers taking away the only points in the period. Kapp struck again from 30 yards out with 2:17 left on the clock in the opening half. As both teams headed to their locker rooms for the intermission, the scoreboard read, 7-6, in favor of AU.
 
The Saxon received the second half kickoff, taking over on their own 25-yard line. However, junior Bryce Morrison (Kennedy, NY/Randolph)looked to find E.J. Staniszewski (South Wales, NY/Holland) in the middle of the field, but RPI's Oliver Kaija came away with an interception, marking the second turnover in the game for AU. The Engineers wasted no time, scoring on the next play when George Marinopoulos hit Keaton Ackerman in stride for the 25-yard touchdown and the lead, 13-7.
 
RPI capitalized on another interception to increase the lead with 9:03 left in the third quarter. Sam Barrett ripped down a Morrison pass for a pick-six from 50 yards out. The Engineers held onto a 20-7 lead.
 
AU fought on the next drive, travelling 63 yards on 15 plays over 8:30 before being intercepted on the 12-yard line. RPI's D.J. Stefonsky took the ball 85 yards in the opposite direction, setting the Engineers up for another score and 27-7 lead. RPI added another field goal from 26 yards out with 8:39 left in the game to expand the lead yet again, 30-7.
 
The Saxons bounced back and added a score at the end of the game when Morrison found first-year Kenny Speed (Rochester, NY/Greece Athena) on a five-yard touchdown pass. AU converted the two-point conversion to get back into striking distance with time waning.
 
AU's final opportunity was squashed following an unsuccessful onside kick with 1:09 left on the clock. The Engineers exhausted the remaining time and earned their fifth win of the season.
 
 "We need to get better and we need to do it in a hurry,' stated AU head coach Bob Rankl. "We can't feel sorry for ourselves and we have to get right back to work and prepare to play a very good Morrisville team that is coming in next week."
 
Morrison threw for 308 yards and a touchdown on 26-of-44 (59.1%) throwing. RPI's Marinopoulos accumulated 104 yards and a touchdown on 10 completions, with no interceptions.
 
Senior Maleke Fuentes (Olean, NY/Olean) led the Saxons on the ground with 52 total yards. Smith had 29 yards and a touchdown on the day. The Engineers were determined to pound the ball over the course of the game, rushing 52 times for a total of 136 yards. Ethan Wells paced the team with 34 yards. Nick Cella had RPI's lone rushing touchdown on the day.
 
Junior Jayden Gavidia (Homer, NY/Homer) racked up a game-high 192 yards on 11 receptions while Speed caught the only touchdown for AU. Gavidia was only 15 yards short of his career-high (207 yards), set against Utica earlier this year. The performance ranks fourth all-time in single-game receiving yards at Alfred University. Ackerman led the visitors with 55 yards and a touchdown.
 
LiCata was a dominant force on the day, amassing 18 total tackles (seven solo; 11 assisted) and three tackles for a loss. Sophomore linebacker Nick Milgate (Hilton, NY/Hilton) chipped in with 10 total tackles (four solo; six assisted). Junior Cole Reed (Gratz, PA/Upper Dauphin Area) and sophomore Justin Mosley (Long Beach, NY/Urban Assembly) had a sack each. Jack Hoggard led RPI on defense with an interception and a fumble recovery. Rory McCarthy had nine tackles (four solo; five assisted).
 
The Saxons remain at home next week, hosting Morrisville State in an Empire 8 showdown kicking off at 1PM in Yunevich Stadium. 

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