Troy, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Graduate student George Marinopolous connected on 21 of 25 passes for 252 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) football team to a 41-7 victory over St. John Fisher College in the final non-league game of the regular season for both teams. The Engineers remain perfect at 4-0, while the Cardinals lose for the second straight week and fall to 2-2.
Marinopolous missed on only four passes for an .875 completion percentage, which is the third best in a single game in school history. He entered the season with the second and third best single season completion percentages in school history and is currently first in career completion percentage (.605). On Saturday, he connected with a dozen different receivers, including senior Peter Lombardi, who had 10 receptions for 86 yards and three touchdowns. D.J. Palmer, another senior, had a 24-yard touchdown catch and junior Gil Goldsmith added a nine-yard TD.
After St. John Fisher deferred on the coin toss, the Engineers opened the contest with an eight-play, 66-yard drive that culminated in an eight-yard scoring strike to Lombardi. Senior safety Francis Perry ended the Cardinals ensuing drive on their second play when he intercepted a pass at the RPI 42-yard line. It was his first of two INTs on the day.
The teams traded punts and then Marinopolous and Lombardi closed a five-play, 39-yard drive with a 10-yard score that put the Engineers ahead 13-0 with 1:27 to play in the first quarter. Perry’s second pick set up the Engineers at their own 32 yard line just 14 seconds later and Rensselaer made it 20-0 when Marinopolous dropped a pass into Palmer’s arms in the end zone 45 seconds into the second quarter.
St. John Fisher followed with its best drive of the game to that point, marching to the Engineers’ eight yard line, but a 4th-and-1 stop by defensive linemen Magnus Wamble and Josh Cohen on a running play turned the ball over on downs. Marinopolous then drove the Engineers 92 yards on only nine plays – the highlight was a 31-yard reception from Deen Ninche – for a 27-0 lead. A 1-yard pass that Lombardi caught in the flat and ran into the corner of the end zone as time expired in the first half made it 34-0 at the break.
Senior Dylan Burnett rushed in from two yards out at 11:00 of the third quarter for a 41-point lead before St. John Fisher got a 4-yard touchdown run from Peyton Nolan with 1:25 to go for the final margin. The Cardinals drive, which was led by quarterback Joseph Torrillo, covered 70 yards on nine plays.
Torrillo and starter Michael Krafty combined to complete 14 of 26 passes for 185 yards and three interceptions. TySean Sizer had 50 yards on three receptions, while Richie Quinn had 46 yards on three catches. Malachi Duvall led all rushers with 83 yards on 11 attempts.
Spencer Merkel paced the RPI ground game with 72 yards on two attempts, including a 69-yard long that began with him going to his left before reversing field and scampering down the right side, only to be caught from behind at the eight yard line. The Engineers racked up 472 yards of total offense on 65 plays for an average of 7.3 yards per play. The Cardinals managed 335 yards on 62 plays.
Lou Vigeant led Rensselaer in tackles with seven, including five unassisted and 0.5 for lost yards (1). Joe Deptula had six stops and Perry had two tackles to go with his two interceptions. Joe Miscia had 16 tackles for the visitors, including seven unassisted. Jason Rodriguez added seven (3 solos).
The Cardinals return to action next Saturday when they face Empire 8 rival Brockport in the Courage Bowl at 6pm in Pittsford, N.Y. Rensselaer hosts Liberty League foe Rochester next Saturday at noon.