Rensselaer Defeats Husson, 38-14, to Advance

Game Highlights

TROY, N.Y. - The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) offense compiled 446 yards, while the defense held Husson University to 48 yards rushing and scored a touchdown of its own as the Engineers defeated the Eagles, 38-14, in an NCAA Playoffs First Round contest at East Campus Stadium. No. 23 RPI improves to 9-1 and advances to play No. 4 The College of Brockport on November 24. Husson finishes the season at 8-3.

Rensselaer had 173 rushing yards (36 attempts) and 273 yards through the air with sophomore George Marinopoulos (16 of 26) throwing three touchdown passes. Senior Nick Cella gained 123 yards on 18 carries and classmate Keaton Ackermann caught six passes for 150 yards. Defensively, senior Luke Watanabe had an 89-yard interception return for a touchdown along with five tackles. Linebacker Jack Hoggard also had an interception, which he returned 26 yards, with 10 tackles (3 solo). Junior linebacker John Sadak led all players with 16 tackles, including seven unassisted.

Husson was paced by Elvin Suazo, who made 14 tackles, including three unassisted and one for a loss of two yards. Zach Connolly (4 solo) and Kaleb Caron (2 solo) both had 10 tackles. On offense, senior quarterback Cory Brandon completed 30 of 44 passes for 288 yards with a touchdown. Keyshawn Robinson caught nine passes for 103 yards.

The Eagles began the game with a 7-play drive that brought them to the RPI 20-yard line but the series was stopped when RPI senior defensive back Sean Egan stripped the ball and recovered the fumble. The Engineers moved down the field on seven plays, highlighted by a 56-yard completion from Marinopoulos to Ackermann and a 20-yard reception from Cella, to eventually take the lead. Tommy Avery finished the drive with a 1-yard run. 

Husson tied the game five minutes into the second quarter when Brandon found Kyle Gaudet from 35 yards out to finish a 6-play, 67-yard drive. 

The score remained tied at 7-7 until late in the second quarter when the Engineers took over at its own 19 yard line with 1:02 to play. Following a seven yard rush, Marinopoulos and Ackermann connected for 32 yards to get near midfield. An 8-yard completion put RPI at the Husson 34-yard line with six seconds remaining and on the ensuing play, sophomore wide receiver Nick Smith came down with a jump ball in the end zone for a 14-7 lead.

Rensselaer increased its lead to 17-7 with a 22-yard field goal by Sanjay Krishnan to open the third quarter and made it 24-7 late in the frame when Marinopoulos found Conor Davies in the end zone from 16 yards out. RPI had a short field on its touchdown drive after a 15-yard punt followed by a 10-yard holding penalty. 

Husson found the end zone at 7:57 of the fourth quarter on an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown from Quan Soyini to pull to within 10 points, 24-14. The Eagles then forced another punt but Hoggard's interception and return gave RPI the ball on the 12-yard line. Marinopoulos promptly hit Ackermann in the end zone for a 31-14 lead.

Watanabe finished the scoring when he jumped a route and returned the ball 89 yards down the left sideline with eight seconds remaining. The INT for a score was the fourth for RPI this season - by four different defensive backs.

The Engineers and Golden Eagles (10-0), who defeated Framingham State University, 40-27 on Saturday, have met twice, but not since 1986.

Dec. 14: All times Eastern
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 24, Mount Union 16
@ Woodforest Bank Stadium; Shenandoah, Texas
Box Score Recap Photos
Dec. 8: All times Eastern
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 31, UW-Whitewater 14
Box Score Recap Photos
at Mount Union 28, Johns Hopkins 20
Video Box Score Recap Photos
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