TROY, N.Y. - Four student-athletes scored touchdowns and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) football built a 24-3 second half lead on its way to defeating Hobart College, 31-24, in a Liberty League contest in front of a crowd of 2,280 at East Campus Stadium. The victory improves No. 17/19 RPI's record to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the conference. The Statesmen fall to 4-3 and 2-1.
The Engineers, who are in first place in the Liberty League, scored 24 of the first 27 points for a 21-point lead early in the third quarter. After stalling deep in Hobart's territory on its first series, senior running back Nick Cella finished Rensselaer's second drive when he ran up the middle from two yards out with 4:40 left in the opening quarter for a 7-0 lead. Two series later, sophomore kicker Sanjay Krishnan hit a 20-yard field goal to put the Engineers ahead by 10 points with 8:41 left in the second quarter. Hobart countered with a 29-yard field goal by sophomore Kyle Hackett on its next set of downs to make it 10-3.
Following a punt by the home team, Hobart got the ball back on its own 28-yard line with 1:11 remaining in the second quarter and attempted three passes, all of which fell incomplete. The ensuing punt was blocked by Joe Deptula, who broke through the middle of the line to get his hand on it and set up the Engineers on the Hobart 33-yard line. Four plays later, sophomore quarterback George Marinopolous found classmate Nick Smith open in the end zone for a 17-3 edge with just 27 seconds remaining in the first half.
RPI received the opening kickoff of the second half, which senior Conor Davies returned 35 yards to midfield. A 16-yard run by Cella was followed by a pass interference call, putting RPI on the Hobart 18-yard line. Marinopolous then connected with senior Keaton Ackermann deep in the end zone for a 24-3 advantage just 40 seconds into the third quarter.
Hobart battled back, forcing a pair of punts with the second leading to a quick strike to pull to within 24-10. A 13-yard pass from Ryan Hofmann to AJ Perlino was followed by a 37-yard throw from David Krewson to Ray Conley in the front of the end zone with 51 seconds left in the third.
The fourth quarter was scoreless until only 2:51 remained, after which three touchdowns were scored. Conley scored on an 11-yard pass from Hofmann on the right side of the end zone to make it a one-score game (24-17), but RPI gained possession on the ensuing onside kick and quickly answered. Davies, a wide receiver, put the Engineers ahead by a seemingly insurmountable two scores (31-17) with a 45-yard run out of a Wildcat formation with only 2:10 to play, but Hobart marched down the field with Hofman connecting with tight end Matthew Woods. The touchdown finished a 6-play, 79-yard drive that took only 45 seconds and made it 31-24. However, Rensselaer's Patrick Etter collected the onside kick and RPI ran out the clock.
The Engineers finished with 154 rushing yards, including 80 from Cella on 20 attempts, and 256 passing yards for 410 total. The Statesmen had 449 yards of their own, including 365 through the air. Hofmann was 28 of 43 for 295 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Krewson was 6 of 8 for 70 yards and a score. He also rushed three times for 25 yards. Jake Catalioto had game-highs of nine receptions and 106 yards, while Conley caught five balls for 80 yards.
Marinopolous was 12 of 20 for 210 yards and two touchdowns for RPI. He was intercepted once. Ackermann had four receptions for 74 yards and Davies caught three balls for 63 yards. He also had 69 rushing yards and 66 return yards (59 on kickoffs).
Juniors Andres Guisasola and John Sadak both had 12 tackles in the win with Guisasola collecting eight unassisted and one for a loss of one yard. He also had a pass breakup. Sadak had six solos and two for lost yards (3). Jack Hoggard added nine tackles (2 solo) and Luke Watanabe had seven (4 solo) with an interception and a pass breakup.
Junior David McCarthy had 15 total tackles, including four unassisted and 0.5 for lost yards, to lead all defensive players. Brendan McCloskey added nine stops and Emmett Forde had eight with 2.5 behind the line of scrimmage (6 yards lost) for Hobart, which is on a bye next week.
Rensselaer, which is ranked No. 17 in the AFCA Poll and No. 19 by D3football.com, travels to the University of Rochester for a league game next Saturday (12pm).