Rensselaer Defeats USMMA, 27-7

More news about: RPI

TROY, N.Y. - Jeff Avery and Logan Gaddar connected for three touchdowns and Thomas Bennett, Anthony Pilla and Alexander Greenidge combined for 43 tackles to lead the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) football team to a 27-7 win over the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) in a Liberty League contest at East Campus Stadium. The Engineers have now won three straight games to improve to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the league. The Mariners fall to 1-3 and 0-2.

Avery (White Plains, NY / White Plains) and Gaddar (South Portland, ME / South Portland) hooked up from 11 yards, 33 yards and 17 yards, while Bennett (St. Petersburg, FL / St. Petersburg) had a game-high 15 stops, including six solo. Pilla (Tamaqua, PA / Marian Catholic) and Greenidge (Miller Place, NY / Miller Place) both had 14 tackles with seven and four unassisted, respectively. 

RPI got on the scoreboard on its first drive, culminated with a 20-yard field goal from sophomore Christian Kapp (Amawalk, NY / Iona Prep). The Engineers had a chance to punch the ball into the end zone on its next possession, but a fumble at the USMMA one yard line was recovered by Jacob Hill (Glen Burnie, MD / Glen Burnie) and the Mariners took over. Rensselaer forced a punt and had another solid opportunity for points, but a 28-yard field goal went wide left. 

The teams traded punts on the next three possessions and then exchanged the ball on fumbles with the Engineers taking over on the USMMA 31-yard line with 1:10 to go in the first half. Following a 12-yard run by Nick Schlatz (Bridgewater, MA / Bridgewater-Raynham) and a completion by Avery to Matt Lane (Hanover, MA / Hanover), Gaddar caught a fade in the back corner of the end zone for a 10-0 lead with 39 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

Rensselaer made it 17-0 in the third quarter when Gaddar caught a pass over the middle with one hand, ran to the right side of the field and away from the defense. Avery made the pass after eluding a defender and throwing on the run. 

Kapp kicked a 28-yard field goal just nine seconds into the fourth quarter and USMMA answered with an 8-play, 63-yard drive that ended with freshman Wiley Martin (Polo, MO / Polo) scoring from two yards out, running up the middle. The Engineers took the ball on the next series and went 13 plays and 77 yards with Gaddar catching a 17 yard pass down the right sideline for the final score of the game.

Avery completed 23 of 30 passes for 382 yards and the three touchdowns. He now has 13 TD passes and no interceptions in five games. Gaddar had eight receptions for 131 yards, while Lane caught five passes for 89 yards. Schlatz led the Engineers, who had 487 yards of total offense, with 39 rushing yards on 11 carries. 

Bennett, a down lineman, had a one-yard sack and two tackles for lost yards (2),while Pilla, an outside linebacker, had 1.5 sacks (7 yards), 2.5 tackles for lost yards (9) and a forced fumble. Greenidge, who plays inside linebacker, had a six-yard sack and two tackles for lost yards (7). As a team, the Engineers had five sacks (21 yards lost) and 10 tackles for lost yards (28).

Merchant Marine was led on defense by defensive back Skyler Stone (Glen Allen, VA / Deep Run), who had 10 tackles, including seven unassisted, along with a fumble recovery. Josh Woodburn (Huntingtown, MD / Huntingtown) had nine tackles (4 solo) with one for a one-yard loss and a forced fumble. 

Offensively, the Mariners were held to 246 yards of offense, including only 55 through the air. Senior quarterback Matt McDaniels (Malverne, NY / Kellenberg Memorial) rushed for a team-best 64 yards on 29 carries, while completing 5 of 15 passes for 55 yards. He was sacked five times. Martin had 35 yards on nine carries. 

Merchant Marine returns to the road next Saturday, traveling to the University of Rochester. RPI heads to St. Lawrence University next Saturday. Both games are Liberty League contests that begin at 1pm.

Dec. 14: All times Eastern
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Dec. 8: All times Eastern
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 31, UW-Whitewater 14
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