The Ithaca College football team lost to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers 10–9 Oct. 6.
Senior quarterback Peter Palczewski started the game this week instead of sophomore Wahid Nabi this week. Palczewski would finish 25–44 for 300 yards with one interception and one touchdown.
RPI entered the game with the No. 1 rushing offense in the Liberty League Conference with 169.5 yards per game, which is led by senior running back Nick Cella, who came into the game averaging nearly 4.6 yards per carry. The Bombers, however, boasted the No. 1 rush defense by only allowing 70 yards per game on the ground heading into the matchup.
The Engineers posted approximately 60 yards below their average on the ground with only 111 total rushing yards. Cella rushed for an average of 3.2 yards on 23 carries.
“I think we adjust to everyone’s offense very well at the beginning of the week,” junior linebacker Nick Garone said. “I give credit to the guys up front who did the dirty work and let me and [Pat] Minogue roam around and make the tackles we needed to.”
After a three and out from RPI, and a turnover on downs for the Blue and Gold, RPI would strike early on their next drive of the game.
After finding themselves on the Bombers’ 22-yard line with 3:13 left in the first quarter, RPI would decide to go for it on 4th and 3. Sophomore quarterback George Marinopoulos found wide receiver Patrick Etter for a 10-yard completion and a first down at the Bombers’ 12-yard line. After two rushes and an incompletion, the Engineers settled for a chip shot to take the lead 3–0.
In the start of the 2nd quarter, Palczewski was intercepted by RPI junior linebacker John Sadak who returned it to the Bombers’ 28–yard line. It was the only turnover of the entire game.
The South Hill squad’s defense was faced with another potential red zone situation, however they came up strong and forced a three and out.
After returning the Engineers punt to the 27-yard line, big plays from junior running backs Kendall Anderson and Nick Cervone, breaking out for 16 and 13 yard runs respectively — helped the Bombers’ offense venture down to the RPI 15-yard line. The Blue and Gold would settle for a field goal and tied the game up at three a piece with 5:24 remaining in the half.
A sack by Engineers sophomore Amaechi Konkwo halted a 4th and goal attempt by the Bombers in the closing seconds of the second quarter, leaving three points on the table for the Blue and Gold.
One of the biggest plays of the day came in the opening minutes of the second half.
After the South Hill squad went three and out, RPI senior wide receiver Conor Davies returned the punt 60 yards to the South Hill squad’s 12-yard line. Four plays later, running back Nick Cella walked into the end zone for the first touchdown in the game. RPI regained the lead at 10–3.
The Bombers dodged a bullet with a missed field goal late in the third from the Engineers, and it set up an intense fourth quarter.
After multiple three and outs from either team, the Bombers were given their final chance of the game when they began their drive with 2:44 remaining the contest at their own 21–yard line.
A 14 play, 79-yard drive with the help of two timeouts concluded in a Palczewski-Gladney connection in the end zone with zero seconds left on the clock. All that remained was the extra point to send the game into overtime.
The Engineers’ special teams came up with an immense play as they blocked the extra point attempt. However, the ball was scooped up by the Blue and Gold but still failed to enter the end zone. An early celebration onto the field by RPI gave the Bombers one last try on the 2-yard line. Palczewski took the snap and rolled to the right, and with his receiver not open enough, took the ball and ran it himself but was short of the goal line.
The Blue and Gold drop to 3–2 on the season, as the Engineers advance to 5–0.
The South Hill squad will face Union College at 1 p.m. Oct. 13 in Schenectady, New York.