Troy, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Backup quarterback Matt Petercuskie threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Riley Conboy early in the fourth quarter to give the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) football team a 14-3 lead and the Engineers defense made it stand in defeating No. 13/15 Ithaca College 14-11 in a Liberty League game at East Campus Stadium. RPI improves to 7-1 overall and 3-1 in the conference, while the Bombers drop to 7-1 and 4-1.
Leading by three points with 2:23 to play in the fourth quarter, Rensselaer punted the ball to Ithaca, which started the drive on its own 37 yard line. Jalen Hines rushed for 10 yards and A.J. Wingfield completed passes of 14 and nine yards for a 2nd-and-1 at the RPI 30 yard line. Hines and Wingfield were held to a combined 12 rushing yards on the next four plays, which made it 4th-and-3 at the Engineers’ 18 yard line with 34 seconds remaining. Following consecutive timeouts, the Bombers lined up for a 35-yard field goal, but the attempt by Nicholas Bahamonde hooked left of the upright and Rensselaer ran out the clock.
Ithaca had cut into RPI’s advantage less than four minutes earlier when Wingfield found Donte Garcia down the middle for an 11-yard touchdown pass. The ensuing two-point conversion, which was actually a re-try by the Bombers following a Rensselaer penalty, pulled them to within three points. The drive was highlighted by a 40-yard completion from Wingfield to Billy Tedeschi despite two defenders blanketing the senior wide receiver.
Petercuskie, who entered the game in the second quarter following an injury to starter George Marinopoulos, increased RPI’s lead to 11 points (14-3) when he connected with an open Conboy in the right corner of the end zone with 9:16 to play in the fourth. The long pass was the final play of a 6-play, 66-yard drive that featured a 30-yard, high-arching completion to Sterling Walker-Sutton down the right sideline that put Rensselaer on the 27 yard line.
Marinopoulos, a four-year starter, gave the Engineers a 7-0 lead with a 29-yard pass in the end zone to Vinnie McDonald on RPI’s first series. The drive, which covered 46 yards on six plays, was set up by a Conner Noyes interception, which he ripped away from the receiver on the fourth play of the game.
Ithaca was held off the scoreboard until 6:28 remained in the third quarter when Bahamonde split the uprights on a 40-yard field goal.
Austin Charles led the Engineers’ defense with 12 tackles, while Cam Younginer, Josh Cohen and Noyes each had 10. Cohen added a forced fumble. Petercuskie completed 7 of 11 passes for 86 yards, while Marinopoulos was 4 of 5 for 46 yards. McDonald had four receptions for 51 yards and Conboy had two for 32.
Wingfield connected on 20 of 31 passes for 184 yards with seven of his completions going to Andrew Vito, who had seven receptions for 53 yards. Hines rushed for 73 yards on 18 carries and Garcia had 50 on 10. Ben Stola led the Bombers with 10 tackles, two of which were for lost yards, and a pass breakup.
With the win, RPI remains alive for the league championship. It returns to action on Saturday at conference foe St. Lawrence, while Ithaca, which is also still alive for the conference title, hosts Union on Saturday. Both games begin at 1pm.