RPI's Franks '15 & Patricia '96 to Meet in NFL

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FOXBORO, Mass. - A pair of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) alumni meet for the first time in the National Football League when the Miami Dolphins visit the New England Patriots on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium. Andrew Franks '16 is the kicker for the Dolphins and Matt Patricia '96 is the defensive coordinator for the Patriots, who host the key AFC East matchup. The game will be aired live on CBS and the NFL Network at 8:30pm.

A rookie, Franks has made 5 of 6 field goals for Miami, including a career-best 53 yarder in Sunday's 44-26 win over the Houston Texans. He has made 16 of 18 point-after-touchdowns and has a team-high 31 points through the first six games. On 30 kickoffs, he has averaged 64.1 yards per with 18 touchbacks. The Dolphins have won two straight games and are 3-3.

Patricia, a former offensive lineman and assistant coach with the Engineers, is in his fourth year as the defensive coordinator with New England and 12th in the NFL. The Patriots have followed last year's Super Bowl Championship season by winning their first six games. They have allowed only 110.3 rushing yards per game and 271.5 passing yards per contest. New England is fourth in the league in sacks with 21.

Patricia spent five seasons as the Patriots' linebackers coach and one season coaching the safeties. Since moving to coach the Patriots on defense in 2006, the team has finished in the top-10 in fewest points allowed in eight of his nine seasons with the defense. Patricia's 2014 defense finished in the top 10 in the NFL in points again en route to a victory in Super Bowl XLIX. Patricia has also helped the Patriots lead the NFL in turnover differential in 2012 (+25) and 2010 (+28) and finished first in the AFC in 2011 (+17). The plus-28 turnover differential in 2010 is tied with the 2011 San Francisco 49ers for the second highest single-season differential in the NFL since 1970.

Patricia joined the Patriots in 2004 as a coaching assistant and enjoyed immediate success, by helping coach the Patriots to a victory in Super Bowl XXXIX. The following season, Patricia aided Dante Scarnecchia as assistant offensive line coach in a season which the injury-riddled running back corps combined to rush for 1,388 yards on 395 carries.

Prior to joining the Patriots, Patricia spent six seasons in the college ranks. Immediately preceding his move to the NFL, he was an offensive graduate assistant at Syracuse for three seasons. Prior to joining the Orange, he spent two seasons (1999-2000) as the defensive line coach at Amherst College. Patricia worked as an aeronautical engineer for two years before returning to coaching at Amherst in 1999. Patricia's first coaching experience came in 1996, when he served as a graduate assistant at his alma mater.

As a player at RPI, he played center and guard, helping his class to an overall record of 31-8 and three ECAC Championships. He graduated from Rensselaer with an aeronautical engineering degree.

Franks, who graduated with a biomedical engineering degree in May, was signed by the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent after a stellar career as a kicker and punter for the Engineers. 

He had an outstanding training camp, consistently making field goals and drawing touchbacks on kickoffs. His longest field goal in preseason was 51 yards, which came on August 29 against the Atlanta Falcons. 

Franks was a multiple National All-America as a senior, earning Little AP, American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and D3football honors. Franks was the Liberty League Special Teams Player of the Year for two seasons and a unamimous All-League First Team selection as a kicker. He was All-Liberty League Second Team as a punter in 2014. He was also named to the D3football.com All-East Region First Team for the third consecutive season and was selected to participate in the National Bowl.

For his career, Franks made 37 of 56 field goals and 115 of 123 point-after-touchdowns for 226 points. He averaged 61.2 yards on 202 kickoffs with 85 touchbacks. He established school records for career field goals (37), career touchbacks (85) and touchbacks in a season (33). A three-time Liberty League All-Academic honoree, he compiled 3,796 yards on 102 punt attempts with 31 that landed inside the 20-yard line. 

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