College Football: RPI Holds Off Norwich 31-17

Courtesy Norwich Sports Information

NORTHFIELD – Freshman tailback Patrick Brown (Pooler, Ga.) of the Norwich University football team ran for 117 yards and scored his first collegiate touchdown in Saturday’s 31-17 non-conference loss to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The Engineers (1-0) picked up their fourth-straight win over Norwich (0-1) dating back to the 2013 season.


Brown scored his team’s second touchdown of the game with 1:30 left in the third quarter to cut the RPI lead to 24-17. Including Brown’s 36-yard touchdown rush, the Cadets finished with 129 yards of offense on the ground – Norwich was held at zero net rushing yards as the opening half concluded.


Junior quarterback Philippe Bazinet (Otterburn Park, Quebec, Canada) overcame a sluggish start to complete 21 of his 41 passes, hooking up with senior Pierre Noel (Manchester, N.H.) for an 11-yard connection in the third quarter for his lone passing touchdown of the tilt. Throwing for 180 total yards in the game, two of Bazinet’s three interceptions ultimately yielded in touchdowns for RPI.


After a scoreless first quarter of action, Norwich scored the game’s first points off a 30-yard field goal from senior Wesley Medeiros (Gilford, N.H.). Leading by a 3-0 margin, both teams would trade scoreless possessions before Christian Kapp booted a lengthy 47-yard field goal to knot the score at three with 10:17 left in the second quarter.


With Norwich forced to punt on the ensuing possession, the Engineers would convert an 11-yard rush from Johnny Ramsdell to capture a 10-3 lead after a successful Kapp point-after attempt.


The Engineers would force another three-and-out, eventually scoring their second rushing touchdown of the game after marching down the field in 32 seconds. Ethan Wells rushed for 18 yards, ultimately using a four-yard sprint before a Kapp point-after, creating a 17-3 lead.


RPI returned an interception just over two minutes into the second half, creating a 24-3 lead that was built off of 24-straight points for the Engineers. The Cadets would later cap off a nine play, 84-yard drive with a nice 11-yard reception from Bazinet to Noel, slowing the Engineers’ momentum.


Brown would later score a 36-yard rushing touchdown after the Norwich defense stood tall, allowing Bazinet to drive his team 82 yards across 2:47 near the end of the third quarter.


The Engineers would put the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter as a Bryan Hayes interception set RPI up to score an insurance touchdown from Mike Tivinis, who ran home a two-yard score to increase the guests’ lead to 31-17.


RPI quarterback Ed Trimpert completed only five of his 16 passes on the afternoon, throwing for 61 yards. The Engineers’ signal-caller was sacked once, but the Cadets made the team pay – senior captain Jepthe Soulouque (Everett, Mass.) ran the ball back 32 yards to set up his team’s first score of the day, the Medeiros 30-yard field goal.


Most of the damage done by the Engineers was on the ground as the team combined for 59 carries, leading to 250 net yards of offense. Tivinis, Wells and Ramsdell scored a touchdown each as RPI ended the day with three rushing touchdowns on the ledger.


Seniors Tyler Oppelt (Latham, N.Y.) and Derek Lotito (Swanzey, N.H.) were defensive leaders for Norwich, tallying eight total tackles apiece with the latter adding two tackles for a total loss of 10 yards. Jake Apthorpe’s first-quarter sack led to the fumble that was returned by Soulouque. Alexander Greenidge led RPI with nine total tackles.


The Cadets return to action Saturday, Sept. 10 as they travel to Canton, N.Y. for a 1 p.m. tilt against St. Lawrence.