Union Claims Shoes Trophy in Dominating Win
TROY, N.Y. -- After a five-year absence, the Dutchman Shoes Trophy will be returning to Schenectady as the Union College Football team defeated No. 14 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 34-10, on Saturday afternoon at East Campus Stadium. The Dutchmen scored three consecutive touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 20-7 lead over the Engineers. Union's defense was brilliant all game, limiting an RPI offense that entered the game averaging 371.4 yards and 30.2 points per game to just 297 yards and one touchdown. With the win, Union caps off the 2018 season with three straight wins, finishing with a 7-2 overall record and a 3-2 mark in the Liberty League. RPI suffers its first loss of the season, dropping to 8-1 (4-1 LL) on the season, but will represent the Liberty League in the NCAA Tournament.
Ike Irabor scored three of Union's five touchdowns. The first-year RB totaled 118 yards on the ground, with two rushing TDs and one receiving TD.
Sophomore DL Daniel Gioioso had a career-best 13 tackles, 3.5 sacks and one interception on the day.
Senior LB Jack Reilly returned an interception 79 yards for Union's fifth and final touchdown. Reilly also had a fumble recovery in the second quarter that led to another score.
Union's defense intercepted three RPI passes while recovering one fumble.
Will Bellamy completed 15 of 26 passes for 200 yards on the day.
Andre Ross Jr. caught his 15th TD pass of the season, second most in program history.
How It Happened Rensselaer opened the scoring on its second possession of the game. The Engineers used a shanked punt to start a drive on the Union 38-yard line before ultimately finding the back of the end zone for the early 7-0 lead. Despite conceding the early score, Union bounced back to score three consecutive touchdowns to jump out to a huge 20-7 lead. The Dutchmen's first TD came on the heels of the RPI scoring drive, as Union drove 75 yards in 11 plays to get on the board. First-year receiver Joshua Shrestha made a 24-yard catch to get into the red zone and set up a one-yard TD rush for Irabor. On the ensuing RPI possession, Gioioso intercepted a deflected pass to return the Dutchmen's offense onto the field. Bellamy only needed two snaps to get Union on top, as the sophomore completed a 24-yard pass to Ross Jr. and a five-yard pass to Irabor for the 14-7 lead. A second straight turnover would end an Engineers drive prematurely again, as Hunter Ordukhanyan forced a fumble and Reilly was there to recover it for the Dutchmen. After a four-yard rush by Irabor, Bellamy hit Ross Jr. up the middle and the first-year receiver completed the 27-yard pass for his 15th touchdown of the season. After the wild second quarter, neither team would find the back of the end zone again until the fourth quarter. In the third, RPI drove 60 yards down the field, but the Dutchmen forced the Engineers to settle for a field goal. In the fourth quarter, the Engineers turned the ball over on downs while on their own seven-yard line. It took just one run by Irabor to find the back of the end zone for his third TD of the day, giving Union a 27-10 lead. With the game all but wrapped up, Reilly intercepted a George Marinopoulos pass at the Union 21, and returned it 79 yards for the final nail in the coffin. The win 34-10 win snaps a five-year losing streak to RPI, and ends Union's season on a three-game winning streak.