Union Col­lege shocks RPI in ‘Shoes Game” 34-10

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - By Stan Hudy shudy@sarato­ @StanHudy on Twit­ter

TROY, N.Y. >> For the first time in six years “The Shoes” will have a new home as Union Col­lege foot­ball up­set No. 14 Rens­se­laer Polytech­nic In­sti­tute in the Lib­erty League fi­nal Satur­day af­ter­noon at RPI’s East Cam­pus Sta­dium, 34-10.

The win, the reg­u­lar sea­son fi­nale for both, saw the cov­eted Dutch­man Shoes Tro­phy ex­change hands and re­ceive a new ad­dress for the next year.

“It’s emo­tional for the team, but more im­por­tantly for the se­niors,” Union Col­lege foot­ball coach Jeff Behrman said. “They hadn’t won the shoes and I don’t be­lieve any­one but us be­lieved that we’d win them and they came out and they proved it.

“They were fired up and they got it done. Proud that they stuck with it and kept play­ing.”

The Dutch­men were a force on de­fense, forc­ing five turnovers, in­clud­ing a 79-yard in­ter­cep­tion re­turn by Jack Reilly late in the con­test. His day in­cluded a fum­ble re­cov­ery and a sub­se­quent score.

“It’s what they’ve been do­ing all year,” Behrman said. “They’re a vet­eran group over there and they showed why they’re one of the top de­fenses in the league.

Big plays by Dan Gioioso, sack­ing the quar­ter­back and a big play by (Jack)Ri­ley. I’m not sure how many turnovers we

we had, but they took ad­van­tage of their op­por­tu­ni­ties. All week we talked about do your job, no more, no less, just make the big play when the op­por­tu­nity is there and they did.”

Union Col­lege fresh­man Ike Ira­bor scored three touch­downs in the ri­val game, lead­ing the Dutch­men (7-2 over­all) and send­ing off his se­niors in style.

“Rens­se­laer jumped out to a 7-0 lead at 3:56 of the first quar­ter when se­nior Nick Cella com­pleted a 5-play, 38-yard drive with a one-yard carry. RPI was set up with short field po­si­tion af­ter a 20-yard punt and even­tu­ally got to the one yard line on a 31-yard pass from Ge­orge Marinopou­los to Conor Davies. Cella fin­ished the se­ries with his fifth touch­down of the sea­son.

Union an­swered im­me­di­ately with Ira­bor scor­ing from a yard out and then took ad­van­tage of con­sec­u­tive En­gi­neers turnovers to take a 13-point lead. Gioioso in­ter­cepted a de­flected ball to put Union at the 32yard line and two plays later Ira­bor scored from five yards away on a re­cep­tion from sopho­more quar­ter­back Will Bel­lamy for a 14-7 lead at 13:41 of the sec­ond quar­ter - just 53 sec­onds af­ter ty­ing the game. RPI’s next pos­ses­sion ended af­ter four plays when Jack Reilly re­cov­ered a fum­ble on the 31-yard line and the Dutch­men scored two plays later. Bel­lamy found An­dre Ross Jr. from 27 yards out for a 20-7 lead at 10:59 of the sec­ond frame.

RPI cut into the lead with a 23-yard field goal from San­jay Kr­ish­nan to open the third quar­ter and the score re­mained 20-10 un­til 6:09 re­mained in the fourth quar­ter. Af­ter forc­ing a turnover on downs at the RPI seven yard line, Union got a seven yard scam­per from Ira­bor for a 27-10 edge. Reilly had a 79-yard in­ter­cep­tion re­turn for a touch­down four min­utes later for the fi­nal mar­gin.

The En­gi­neers were led by Cella, with 23 car­ries for 115 yards and a touch­down. Marinopou­los fin­ished 18of-38 for 193 yards and hit Davies with six of those passes for 86 yards.

Gioioso was a force for the Dutch­men, fin­ish­ing with 13 tack­les, in­clud­ing 3.5 sacks (19 lost yards) and 6.5 tack­les for lost yards (24), along with his in­ter­cep­tion. Evan Gil­land (four solo) and Colin Lama (two solo) both had nine tack­les. Ira­bor fin­ished with 118 yards on 23 car­ries on the ground and 24 re­ceiv­ing yards on two re­cep­tions. Bel­lamy threw for 200 yards (15 of 26) and Ross Jr. had five re­cep­tions for 82 yards.

The sea­son con­tin­ues for the En­gi­neers (8-1 over­all, 4-1 Lib­erty League) who share the league ti­tle with Ithaca af­ter Satur­day’s loss. RPI will await the 5:30 p.m. an­nounce­ment Sun­day evening for find out their op­po­nent in the up­com­ing NCAA playoffs. RPI had al­ready earned the Lib­erty League’s au­to­matic bid prior to Satur­day’s con­test.


The Union Col­lege foot­ball teams cel­e­brates Satur­day’s 34-10 win at ri­val RPI and the re­turn of the ‘Dutch­man Shoes’ to Sch­enec­tady.


The Union Col­lege fot­ball team holds up the cov­eted ‘Dutch­man Shoes’ tro­phy af­ter Satur­day’s 34-10 win against ri­val RPI.


Union Col­lege se­nior line­backer Jack Reilly closes in on RPI quar­ter­back Ge­orge Marinopou­los once again late in Satur­day’s game at RPI.

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