RPI Defeats MIT, 42-7

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TROY, N.Y. - Jeff Avery threw for three touchdowns, Mike Tivinis ran for a pair of scores and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) defense held Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to just 37 yards rushing as the Engineers defeated the Engineers 42-7 in a non-league game at East Campus Stadium. RPI improves to 2-1, while MIT falls to 0-3. The meeting was the first between the two schools.

Avery (White Plains, NY / White Plains), a senior, connected on scores of 14 yards, five yards and 23 yards - to three different receivers - and Tivinis (Middleton, MA / Masconomet Regional), a sophomore, scored both of his touchdowns from a yard out. Two of Avery's touchdowns and both runs by Tivinis came in the first half as Rensselaer built a 21-7 lead after the first quarter and 28-7 bulge at halftime. 

MIT, which went 75 yards on five plays in 1:48 to take a 7-0 lead on the game's opening possession, was held to a total of 210 yards with 37 coming on the ground. RPI's defense was balanced as 13 different players had at least three tackles, led by senior linebacker Mark Grimes (Hackettstown, NJ / Hackettstown). He had seven stops including four unassisted. Classmate Teague Florio (Southampton, NY / Southampton), a cornerback, had five unassisted tackles and two pass breakups, while fellow cornerback and senior Philip Lanieri III (Miller Place, NY / Earl L. Vandermeulen) also had five tackles (2 solo). As a team the Engineers made six tackles for lost yards (23) and intercepted two passes with 23 return yards.

The visiting Engineers began the game with senior quarterback Danny Callahan (Hinsdale, IL / Hinsdale Central) connecting on all four passes he threw including a 36-yard touchdown down the left sideline to classmate Seve Esparrago (St. Louis, MO / St. Louis Priory). From that point, MIT managed only 33 rushing yards, 97 passing yards and nine first downs. 

RPI answered by scoring on its three first quarter possessions. Just 2:41 after MIT took the lead, Avery connected with senior Logan Gaddar (South Portland, ME / South Portland), who made a diving catch in the front right corner of the end zone. Tivinis then scored from a yard out to end a five play, 44 yard drive that was highlighted by a 17 yard run by Austin Amery (Castleton, VT / Fair Haven) and a 21 yard reception by Matt Lane (Hanover, MA / Hanover). The Engineers' third scoring drive, capped by a Tivinis score, covered 57 yards on nine plays with sophomore Johnny Ramsdell (Haverhill, MA / Haverhill) accounting for 33 yards thanks to a 16 yard run and a 17 yard run. 

Lane, a running back, scored the only points of the second quarter when he caught an eight yard pass in the back of the end zone late in the frame. RPI was set up at the MIT eight thanks to an interception with an 18 yard return by sophomore linebacker Brandt Beck (Mohnton, PA / The Hill School).

Rensselaer made it 35-7 on the first drive of the second half when Avery and Ramsdell hooked up from 23 yards out down the middle of the field. Freshman Hunter Costlow (Katy, TX / Houston Christian) added a 19-yard run to complete the scoring with 2:40 remaining in the fourth quarter. 

Avery finished with 252 yards passing on 19 of 30 passing. He was not sacked, nor was he intercepted. He also rushed seven times for 24 yards. Tivinis had 79 yards on the ground and 20 on receptions. Ethan Wells (Windsor, MA / Wahconah Regional) had 41 rushing yards, Ramsdell finished with 33 and Costlow had 29. Gaddar caught a team-high five passes for 64 yards while also returning three punts for 25 yards and two kickoffs for 43 yards. Lane had three catches for 34 yards.

Callahan was 16 for 35 for 160 yards with an interception and two sacks for MIT. Senior Karson Ota (Katy, TX / Seven Lakes) caught six passes for 43 yards and Esparrago had five receptions for 80 yards. Freshman Adis Ojeda (Springfield, VA / West Springfield) rushed for 31 yards on 14 attempts. Sophomore linebacker Mitch Turley (Westfield, IN / Westfield) had a game-high 10 tackles (6 solo) while Charles Bachmeier (Bethpage, NY / Bethpage), a sophomore defensive lineman, had eight tackles (4 solo).

RPI opens its Liberty League schedule next Saturday when it plays at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) - also known as the Engineers - in the Transit Trophy Game (1pm). MIT hosts Maine Maritime Academy next Saturday at noon.

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