En­gi­neers’ run ends in quar­ters

RPI can’t keep pace with Johns Hop­kins’ top-ranked of­fense led by ver­sa­tile QB

Albany Times Union - Sunday - - SPORTS - By Pete Dougherty Bal­ti­more

A bal­anced of­fense is what most foot­ball teams hope to achieve. When much of that Satur­day came from one player, it was lights out for RPI’S his­toric 2018 season.

Ju­nior quar­ter­back Dave Tam­maro, op­er­a­tor of the na­tion’s most pro­duc­tive of­fense, passed for 284 yards. But it was his 81 timely rush­ing yards that helped boost Johns Hop­kins past the En­gi­neers 37-14 in the Di­vi­sion III NCAA quar­ter­fi­nals at Home­wood Field.

“To­day the bet­ter team won,” RPI coach Ralph Iser­nia said, “and the bet­ter team played bet­ter.”

Johns Hop­kins, which will play top-ranked Mount Union (Ohio) in next week’s semi­fi­nals, was av­er­ag­ing a Di­vi­sion Iii-best 568 yards per game. The Blue Jays gained 521 yards — 237 rush­ing and 284 pass­ing.

Had it not been for Tam­maro, there might have been a dif­fer­ent out­come for the En­gi­neers (10-2), who fell a vic­tory short of match­ing the play­off run of the 2003 team, the only RPI squad to ad­vance as far in the NCAAS.

On the touch­down drive that put the Blue Jays (12-1) ahead to stay in the sec­ond quar­ter, Tam­maro con­verted a third-and-10 and a fourth-and 2 by run­ning.

“It looked like on film they played a lot of soft zone,” Tam­maro said. “It looked like the box is wide open from my per­spec­tive. So if my ini­tial reads weren’t there, I thought I could get some­thing done on the ground with my feet.”

Tam­maro ran for key first downs on both touch­down drives in the third

quar­ter, when Johns Hop­kins ex­tended its 17-7 half­time lead to 31-14. Sev­eral were de­signed runs, when Tam­maro faked to 215-pound run­ning back Stu­art Wal­ters (13 car­ries, 102 yards) and kept the ball him­self.

“He was good,” RPI line­backer Jack Hog­gard said of Tam­maro. “They schemed it up pretty well. They’d get us mov­ing to the out­side, and they’d have a de­signed draw up the mid­dle. He was slip­perier than we saw on film.”

Be­yond that, RPI wasn’t able to es­tab­lish a run­ning game on of­fense, gain­ing just 34 yards in 22 at­tempts, and didn’t force a turnover. The En­gi­neers pro­duced five turnovers and blocked a punt in last week’s 21-13 up­set vic­tory over Brock­port.

“A part of our for­mula of suc­cess was be­ing able to run the foot­ball, get first downs,” Iser­nia said. “When we fell be­hind, you needed to get more chunk plays, you need to throw the foot­ball, you needed some catch-and-runs.”

Se­nior Keaton Ack­er­mann scored both RPI touch­downs, on a 16-yard re­cep­tion from Ge­orge Marinopou­los in the first quar­ter and on a 23-yard re­verse in the third. Marinopou­los com­pleted 24 of 44 passes for 296 yards. Ack­er­mann had seven re­cep­tions for 147 yards.

“Their quar­ter­back played ex­tremely well at times,” Hop­kins coach Jim Mar­graff said. “I only saw three games on him, but he rises in big mo­ments. He made some great throws and made some nice plays.”

Com­ing out of half­time, RPI’S de­fense appeared to have a three-and-out on the first pos­ses­sion, but Johns Hop­kins gam­bled on fourth-and-1 from its 31. Ho­gan Ir­win ran ex­actly one yard, though Iser­nia was irate that the of­fi­cials didn’t bring out the chains to mea­sure for the first down.

“I don’t un­der­stand why you wouldn’t mea­sure,” Iser­nia said. “At least you get the call right. The of­fi­cials have a job to do, and they do their job well. I just thought, why not mea­sure at that point?”

Johns Hop­kins also caught a break on its sec­ond of­fen­sive play of the game. Tam­maro fum­bled on a run at­tempt, and RPI appeared to re­cover. Af­ter a halfminute of sort­ing through the rub­ble, the of­fi­cials al­lowed the Blue Jays to keep the ball.

“I had it at the bot­tom of the pile,” Hog­gard said, “then they pulled ev­ery­one off and said he was down, so I let go. I was ex­cited about that one. I thought we had it.”

In the end, the hosts’ of­fense and de­fense stepped up. Johns Hop­kins con­trolled the line of scrim­mage on both sides and never trailed.

“We never feel that we’re go­ing to lose a game,” said of­fen­sive tackle Aaron Castillo, one of 24 se­niors who won’t be back for RPI. “Ev­ery­one buys into the pro­gram. We have a win­ning pro­gram that plays ev­ery play.”

[email protected]­sunion.com • 518454-5416 • @Pete_­dougherty

Karl Mer­ton Fer­ron / Bal­ti­more Sun

RPI’S Ge­orge Marinopou­los is chased by Johns Hop­kins’ An­thony David­son Satur­day in Bal­ti­more.

Photo courtesy of rpi Ath­let­ics

Johns Hop­kins quar­ter­back david tam­maro is chased by rpi de­fen­sive line­man Antonio rogliano dur­ing a di­vi­sion iii NCAA quar­ter­fi­nal on Satur­day at Johns Hop­kins’ Home­wood field in Bal­ti­more.

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