TROY, N.Y. – It looked good early for the MIT football team in its first-ever meeting with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The Scarlet and Grey scored the first time it had the ball, but it was all RPI after that as MIT fell to the Engineers from New York by a 42-7 score.
Getting the opening kickoff, MIT (0-3) needed just five plays to go 75 yards, with senior Danny Callahan (Hinsdale, Ill.) hitting senior Seve Esparrago (St. Louis, Mo.) for a 35-yard scoring strike just 1:48 into the contest. RPI (2-1) came right back on its first drive to tie the game, however. The Engineers picked up a big play when Jeff Avery hit Joey Giacone on a 47-yard pass play, setting up a 14-yard toss from Avery to Logan Gaddar that knotted the score at 7-7.
RPI then went on to score on its next two possessions as well, getting a pair of one-yard TD runs from Mike Tivinis that gave the Engineers a 21-7 advantage after the first quarter. After its opening 75-yard drive, MIT could not solve the RPI defense, with the Engineers totaling just 44 more yards of offense in the first half. Late in the second quarter RPI picked up the first turnover of the day, intercepting Callahan and setting up the Engineers on the MIT eight-yard line. Just two plays later Avery hit Matt Lane from five yards out for a 28-7 lead.
Callahan finished with a 16-for-35 day for 160 yards and one score. The Engineers were held to just 37 yards rushing by RPI, with freshman Adis Ojeda (Springfield, Va.) gaining 31. Esparrago had five catches for a team-high 80 yards, with senior Karson Ota (Katy, Texas) leading MIT with six catches, totaling 43 yards. On defense sophomore Mitch Turley (Westfield, Ind.) led MIT with 10 tackles.
For RPI, Avery finished with 252 yards passing, hitting on 19 of his 30 attempts. Gadder led the team with five catches for 64 yards, while Tivinis paced the ground game with 79 yards. The Engineers totaled 484 yards of offense on the day.
MIT plays its home opener next week on Saturday, September 26, when the Engineers will also open play in the New England Football Conference (NEFC) with a 12:00 p.m. contest against Maine Maritime. RPI will also be in Massachusetts next Saturday as it travels to WPI for a 1:00 p.m. contest that opens the Liberty League schedule for both schools.