TROY, NY (NEWS10) — Behind a defense that allowed only 105 yards, including -14 on the ground, and 130 yards rushing from senior Dylan Burnett, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) football team defeated Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) 37-0 in the annual Transit Trophy Game held at East Campus Stadium. The Engineers from Troy are now 28-13-1 in the trophy game and 62-48-5 overall.
Rensselaer held WPI to seven first downs, -14 rushing yards on 23 attempts and 119 yards passing while forcing two turnovers. Nine players had at least three tackles, led by senior Conner Noyes, who had nine, including five unassisted, two for lost yards (10) and an 8-yard sack. He also intercepted a pass that he returned 12 yards. Nate Sicard, a sophomore, added five solo stops with three being sacks (25 yards lost).
RPI converted on its first three drives to take a commanding lead. On its initial series, senior quarterback Matt Petercuskie found slot receiver Peter Lombardi on a 10-yard pass up the middle for a touchdown just 4:32 into the game. Burnett accounted for 40 of the 67-yard drive with carries of 10, 8, 19, and 3 yards.
The score became 13-0 when Petercuskie hit Lombardi again, this time down the left side from 21 yards out. Lombardi caught the pass at the goal line despite blanket coverage from the defender. The series covered 75 yards on seven plays.
Following a three-and-out by WPI, RPI marched 60 yards on 11 plays, culminating with receiver Sterling Walker-Sutton reaching the end zone on a 2-yard keeper from the Wildcat formation. Aleksandar Maric made his second extra point for a 20-0 lead at 10:46 of the second quarter.
The home team went most of the third quarter without scoring but got back on the board when Burnett went up the middle and eluded a couple of defenders on his way to a 31-yard touchdown run. The series was set up by an interception by C.J. Schumaker, who returned it into WPI territory. The score became 34-0 when sophomore quarterback Jake Kazanowsky found D.J. Palmer behind two defenders down the middle of the field for a 45-yard touchdown strike.
Maric added a 26-yard field goal with 6:17 to play in the fourth quarter.
Burnett paced the offense with 130 rushing yards on 16 attempts. Christian Buckley added 46 yards on eight carries. Petercuskie completed 9 of 17 passes for 106 yards.
WPI rotated three quarterbacks, who completed 20 of 33 attempts for 119 yards. They were sacked eight times and had two interceptions. Tommy Emrick made eight catches for 51 yards.
Defensively, the Engineers got 14 tackles from Evan Wertz and 11 from Gavin Chieff.