TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) football team continued its solid start to the 2023 season, scoring 38 points for the second time in as many weeks in a 38-14 victory over Wilkes University at ECAV Stadium. With the win, RPI improves to 2-0 on the season while Wilkes drops to 0-2.
The Engineers wasted no time getting on the board in their home opener, as Jake Kazanowsky found Hayden Faraday on a 48-yard connection to give RPI a 7-0 lead after its first drive. Kazanowsky continued his strong performance throughout the game, finishing 16-for-24 passing with 236 yards and a trio of scoring passes and one running touchdown.
Wilkes responded with a touchdown on their opening drive as well. Quarterback Isaiah Rodriguez found Jason Dean in the end zone for a six-yard score to even up play at 7-7. Kazanowsky answered the call on RPI’s next drive, quickly finding Sterling Walker-Sutton behind the defense for a 41-yard score to begin a run of four unanswered touchdowns by the Engineers. At the half, RPI led 21-7.
Up two scores, the Engineers kept their foot on the gas as another big throw to Walker-Sutton set up RPI’s first score of the third quarter. A long pass that resulted in a 65-yard play led to a Christian Buckley walk-in running touchdown to make things 28-7. Kazanowsky tossed his final touchdown of the day to Kayden White from 12 yards out with 8:33 left in the third quarter to push the score to 35-7.
Wilkes found a touchdown from Xavier Powell to give them a pair of scores with 1:28 remaining in the third, but the Engineers defense held strong in the fourth and kept Wilkes off the scoreboard.
Walker-Sutton finished with a team-high five receptions for 127 yards, while Buckley led all rushers with 14 attempts for 71 yards. Defensively, Diego Fernandez made a team-high nine tackles – three solo – while Anthony D’Agostino made eight tackles with a team high five solo takedowns.
Tallen Murray made a game-high 11 tackles for Wilkes, and Leroy Marshall made 10 stops. Offensively, Rodriguez finished 13-for-21 for 89 yards. Powell, who saw most of his action in the second half, gained a team-high 52 yards on the ground. Wideout Jimmy Johnson caught four passes for a team-high 27 yards.
RPI returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 16 when it travels to Worcester Polytechnic Institute for the Transit Trophy Game. Kickoff is slated for 5 p.m.