No. 21 Football Wins in 3OTs
UTICA, N.Y. - Sophomore kicker Sanjay Krishnan made two field goals in overtime and senior defensive back D.J. Stefonsky sealed the win with an interception in the end zone as the No. 21 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) defeated Utica, 23-20, in non-league game. The Engineers improve to 3-0, while the Pioneers fall to 2-1. The Pioneers had a chance to win the game with just four seconds left in regulation, but RPI's Magnus Wambleblocked a 32-yard field goal attempt to send the game to overtime. Despite Utica shutting down the Engineers offense on its first possession in overtime, the Pioneers were not able to come away with any points, resulting in a second overtime period. Utica's Dan Tette nailed a 37-yard field goal to give the Pioneers a 20-17 lead in the second overtime and put the pressure back on RPI. The Engineers picked up a big third down conversion to set up a first and goal from the nine yard line, however the Utica defense stood strong and forced RPI to settle for a field goal. It appeared that Utica would once again hold RPI scoreless in the third overtime as Krishnan's 40-yard field goal attempt was no good, but a penalty on the Pioneers gave the Engineers new life. Krishnan did not miss on his second attempt from 35 yards to give the lead to RPI. On its ensuing possession and facing a third down and six to go on the 21-yard line, Utica freshman quarterback Logan Wilcox threw a ball towards the end zone, but Stefonsky was able to jump in front of the Utica receiver to snag it and secure the RPI victory. The teams combined for just ten points in the first half as RPI took a 3-0 lead at 11:13 of the first quarter thanks to a 24-yard field goal by Krishnan. With just under five minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Pioneers marched down the field and capped off an 80-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown reception by Imani Vincent to go ahead 7-3 at the break. The Pioneers tacked on a field goal of their own in the third quarter to take a 10-3 lead into the final frame. RPI evened the score at 11:33 of the fourth when Sean Egan picked off a Wilcox pass and returned it 22 yards for the score. Utica regained the lead with 6:33 remaining as Shane Walpole sacked quarterback George Marinopoulosand forced a fumble that was recovered in the end zone by Xyier Woodard to put the Pioneers up 17-10. RPI would not back down as the Engineers capped off a nine-play 84-yard drive with a 21-yard run by Dylan Burnett to knot the score at 17-17. With one last shot to end it, Utica's upset hopes were spoiled with Wamble's field goal block as time expired, leading to the extra frame. Wilcox was 24-for-55 for 213 yards and one touchdown, marking his second straight start with over 200 passing yards. Senior Malcolm Stowe had 158 yards on 27 carries, including a season-high 53-yard rush. Stowe also had four catches for 17 yards to lead the offense. Junior Peyton Miller had nine catches for 89 yards, while Vincent totaled three catches for 34 yards and a touchdown. Kwasi Addo and Antonio Scala led the Utica defense with 12 tackles each, while Anthony Beaubrun had 10 tackles and one interception. Marinopoulos threw for 198 yards on 25-of-45 completions, while Burnett had a team-high 72 yards on 13 carries and one TD. Stefonsky finished the day with two interceptions, while Jack Hoggard had a game-high 16 tackles, including one tackle for loss. The Pioneers have a bye week next week, before returning to action on Saturday Sept. 29 against SUNY Cortland. RPI, meanwhile, returns home to face Buffalo State next weekend. Game time is scheduled for 12 p.m.