TROY, NY (NEWS10) — Senior Dylan Burnett rushed for 133 yards and a touchdown, and he caught three passes for 54 yards and a score to lead the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) football team to a 23-13 victory over Union College in the oldest college football rivalry in New York State.
The Engineers retain the Dutchman Shoes Trophy for the second straight year and the seventh time in the last nine meetings. They conclude the regular season with a 7-3 overall record and a 5-1 mark in the Liberty League and are hopeful of earning a post-season opportunity. Union drops to 6-4 and 3-3.
Burnett got the game’s action going early when he went 54 yards on the second play from scrimmage to set RPI up at the seven yard line. The Engineers moved it to the one on a completed pass and Burnett finished the drive with a one-yard score.
Union’s first drive ended in a punt attempt, which RPI’s Nolan Farina blocked to give the home team the ball at midfield. The Engineers used seven plays to go 53 yards for a 14-0 lead. Sophomore quarterback Jake Kazanowsky completed three passes on the series, including a 21-yarder to Peter Lombardi on a third down play, and a 22 yard strike to Deen Ninche in the end zone for a 13-0 advantage. Aleksandar Maric added his second extra point.
A 27-yard field goal by Maric at 6:54 of the second quarter made it 17-0. Union countered with a 13-play, 81-yard drive to get on the scoreboard. Senior quarterback Donovan Pacatte was the catalyst, hitting throws of 21 yards (Nicholas Dunneman), 13 yards (Ike Irabor), 23 yards (Irabor), and 31 yards, the last going down the left side that was caught by Avery Turton, who bounced away from an attempted tackle and reached the end zone. Pacatte also ran for 11 yards on the drive.
The Dutchmen continued with the momentum to begin the second half when they used just three plays to go 74 yards, highlighted by a 63-yard score by Irabor. The senior running back started left, cut toward the middle of the field, slipped past a would-be tackler, and raced down the left sideline to make it a one-possession game, 17-13. The extra point was blocked.
Following stalled drives on the next three series, two by RPI and one by Union which ended on a Jimmy Leblo fourth down interception in the end zone, the Dutchmen got inside the Engineers’ 10 yard line. An Irabor rush on 2nd and 1 was stopped for no gain by Josh Cohen and a third down run by Pacatte went for a two-yard loss on a tackle by Cole McGrath. Union settled for a 26-yard field goal attempt but it was blocked by Carlos Davis.
Rensselaer’s next possession turned out to be an 8-play, 80-yard drive that Burnett finished with a 32-yard touchdown completion from Kazanowsky. The pass fell into Burnett’s hands as he went down the left sideline and he reached the end zone untouched for a 10-point lead (23-13).
Union’s attempt to answer ended with a Spencer Brockdorff interception in the end zone on a 25-yard pass play and the Dutchmen’s next drive was turned over on downs. Both teams had one possession from that point.
Burnett carried the ball 21 times for the Engineers, who had 195 rushing yards. Kazanowsky threw for 162 yards by completing 14 of 22 pass attempts and he ran for 34 yards on 11 carries. Senior Peter Lombardi had four receptions for 59 yards – both team-highs.
Irabor rushed for 93 yards on 15 carries and Pacatte had 23 on 11. The quarterback completed 20 of 35 passes for 295 yards with Turton collecting the most yards, 101, on five receptions. Defensively, Spencer Goldstein had 11 tackles (6 solo) and Jack Flanagan had nine, including three unassisted and 1.5 for lost yards (4).
Linebackers Joe Deptula, Conner Noyes, and McGrath combined for 26 tackles with two for lost yards (3), a forced fumble, and a pass breakup. Deptula had eight solos (9 total), Noyes had four unassisted (9 total) with a tackle for loss (1 yard), and McGrath had six unassisted (8 total) with a two-yard tackle for loss, a forced fumble, and a breakup.