THESE SHOES ARE MADE FOR UPSETS
Union College shocks RPI in ‘Shoes Game” 34-10
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.