Springfield, Mass. -- November 3, 2012 -- Joel Altavesta, Jonathan Marrero, and Sam Weiss played key roles in leading their Springfield College football team to a 42-21 Liberty League victory over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute this afternoon at SC's sunny Amos Alonzo Stagg Field. The win was the third straight for the Pride and upped its record to 6-3 overall, 4-2 in conference play.
RPI fell to 5-3 overall, and evened its record to 3-3 in the Liberty League.
It was also Senior Day for the Pride, as SC said its farewells to 12 seniors.
The score was 21-all at the half with offense aplenty on both sides. But the game became more of a defensive struggle through much of the third and fourth quarters, with SC scoring one touchdown in the third period to take a 28-21 lead before adding two more TD's in a 36-second span with less than three minutes remaining in the game.
Springfield did produce 503 yards of total offense, including 407 yards in rushing offense, and had its chances in the second half to break the game open before it actually did. SC was averaging 309 rushing yards per game, fourth in the nation, entering the contest.
RPI gained 294 yards of total offense, including 150 through the air and another 144 on the ground.
For the Pride, senior fullback Joel Altavesta (Tewksbury, Mass.) rushed for a game-high 170 yards and one touchdown. Freshman quarterback Jonathan Marrero (Boston, Mass.) was right behind with 104 yards rushing and two TDs. Senior halfback Mike Davis (Madison, Conn.) added another 62 yards and one TD overland.
Marrero also completed five passes in seven attempts for 96 yards and two more TDs through the airways. Receivers James Poggio, a junior from East Granby, Conn., caught three passes for 39 yards and one TD, and Phil Baier, a senior from Braintree, Mass., caught two more passes for 57 yards and one TD.
For RPI, senior quarterback Mike Hermann (Hardeeville, S.C.) ran for 90 net yards on 14 carries. He also completed 13 passes in 32 attempts for 150 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted twice and sacked twice.
Junior RB Andrew Armato (Staten Island, N.Y.) also ran for 44 yards on 13 attempts. Senior WR Nick Weber (Winchester, Mass.) caught seven passes for 106 yards and one TD. Senior WR Steve Burpoe (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) caught three more passes for 32 yards. Senior RB Matt Wood (Skaneateles, N.Y.) caught one more pass for six yards and a TD.
On the defensive side of the ball, for SC, junior safety Sam Weiss (Hoptacong, N.J.) had a superb game, leading the Pride with a game-high eight tackles, seven of which were unassisted and of the bone-jarring variety. He also had one interception and two pass break-ups.
Others who played well for the Pride included sophomore LB Mike Dublin (Portsmouth, R.I.) and senior CB Brian Staub (Brick, N.J.) with seven tackles each. Dublin had one forced fumble, and Staub had one fumble recovery. In addition, sophomore DE Max Nacewicz (Newtown, Conn.) had six tackles, including 1.5 tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks. Nacewicz was fifth in the nation with 1.38 sacks per game entering the contest.
For RPI, senior DB Joe Tedder (Stamford, Conn.) led all tacklers with 10. Senior LB Austin Nelz (Marco Island, Fla.) and senior DL Corey White (Taberg, N.Y.) had nine stops apiece. And junior LB Zac Borrelli (Methuen, Mass.) had eight tackles for the Engineers.
Springfield had possession of the ball first, but it was RPI's White who scooped up a fumble and ran it back 34 yards for the game's opening score with 12:50 left in the first quarter.
On the Pride's next possession, it tied the score at 7-all with 10:17 left in the first, after Davis culminated an 8-play, 80-yard march with a five-yard run around left end. Senior placekicker Ricky Peacock (Tucker, Ga.) hit the first of seven straight point-afters.
Wood then made it 14-7, RPI, with his 6-yard TD reception from Hermann, which finished a 12-play, 66-yard march.
Marrero then found Baier on a third-and-11 from he RPI 15-yard line for a nice TD catch, and it was 14-all with 1:08 left in the first.
Senior Austin Caswell (Round Rock, Tex.) ran the ensuing kickoff back 71 yards to set up RPI's next score, a four-yard pass from Hermann to Weber, making it 21-14 with 13:40 left in the second.
But SC tied it once again, this time with just 20 seconds left before halftime, when Marrero hit Poggio with a nice 10-yard catch on a third-and-goal. And it was 21-all at the intermission with neither team having punted at that stage.
In the second half, it was SC striking first when Marrero ran one in from 14 yards out with 5:43 left in the third. That finalized a 6-play, 93-yard drive with Marrero completing two passes for 56 yards in that march. That would prove to be the winning score.
It was still very much a game until just 2:58 remained in the fourth quarter. At that point, Marrero tallied his second TD on a seven yard run. In 3:54, that culminated an 8-play, 48-yard drive.
A Hermann fumble gave SC the ball right back at his own 15-yard line. Two plays later, Altavesta scored on a 1-yard plunge with 2:22 remaining.
SC will finish its regular season next Saturday, November 10 at WPI with hopes that a victory will still put it in line for an ECAC post-season playoff berth.