College Football Season Opens With UAlbany Win, Union Loss
As the RPI football team sat idle this past weekend, the College Football season got underway across the country, including a pair of games here in the Capital Region. The final results from both games were on different ends of the spectrum, as Union suffered a tough 17-14 loss to Salve Regina, while UAlbany opened their final season at University Field with a 41-20 victory over Colgate.
In the early afternoon game at Frank Bailey Field, defense would rule the day as both offenses struggled to put points on the scoreboard. Union would take a 14-6 advantage into the fourth quarter, but the Dutchmen were held scoreless in the closing fifteen minutes as Salve Regina scored 11 unanswered points to leave Schenectady with the victory.
Union's offense was led by wide receiver Jimmer Bennett, as the senior hauled in seven catches for a career-best 172 yards and a touchdown. On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Noah Joseph had a huge day with a game-high 17 tackles, including a pair for losses. Also excelling on defense were senior Brian Daley and junior Jake Lebowitz, who each had nine tackles apiece.
As for UAlbany, the defending co-champions of the Northeast Conference would face an early 10-0 deficit, then score 23 unanswered points to take the lead for good. After a Colgate touchdown early in the second quarter, UAlbany would score their only offensive touchdown of the first half when Kevin Chillis scampered 21 yards for a touchdown, cutting the deficit to 10-7. The Great Danes then capitalized on defense and special teams, forcing a safety and returning a blocked punt for a touchdown, giving them a 16-10 halftime lead.
Colgate would bring the deficit within six points with just under 5 minutes left in the third quarter, when a Jordan McCord 15-yard touchdown run made it a 23-17 UAlbany lead, but that's as close as the Raiders would get. They would be outscored 17-6 the rest of the way, bringing us to our final score of 40-23.
UAlbany was led by tremendous efforts from a tandem of running backs: senior Drew Smith ran for a career-high 174 yards with two touchdowns, while sophomore Omar Osbourne also ran for a career-high with 122 yards. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Will Fiacchi played a relatively smart game, going 16-for-25 with 143 yards passing and one interception.
Looking ahead to next weekend's slate, all three local teams will be in action. UAlbany begins a three-game road trip, as they open their Northeast Conference schedule at Robert Morris - kickoff at 12 p.m. As for Union and RPI, both teams will remain at home. The Dutchmen will host Utica in another non-league game at Frank Bailey Field (kickoff at 7 p.m), while the Engineers will open their 2012 season with a non-league contest against Alfred University (kickoff at 12:30 p.m).