The Hobart football team cashed in on a pair of Rensselaer turnovers to post a 10-0 Liberty League win on Boswell Field today. The Statesmen improved to 5-3 overall, 4-2 in the conference, while the Engineers slip to 4-4, 2-4.
Hobart’s defense pitched its second consecutive home shutout bolstered by four takeaways. Linebacker Ryan Robinson led the charge with a team-high 10 tackles, including two for a loss, while linebacker Kyle O’Laughlin and free safety John Kelliher recorded an interception each to go with seven and five tackles, respectively.
Both offenses struggled in the contest, as both sides gained a scant 2.9 yards per play. The Statesmen and Engineers were a combined 2 for 32 on third down. Hobart did outgain its guests 203-179, including 156 yards on the ground, which contributed to a 32:47-27:13 advantage in time of possession.
The game’s first turnover came in the opening quarter when RPI’s Nick Herrera muffed a Hobart punt at his own 12. The loose ball was recovered by the Statesmen cornerback Drake Woodard (4 tkls, FR). Three plays later, Conor Callahan booted a 28-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 6:07 left in the frame.
Hobart nearly returned the favor as a Statesman fell on an RPI punt near midfield that the Engineers recovered, but linebacker Reggie Robinson (5 tkls, sack) and O’Laughlin stopped Zach Scruggs (6 rush, 12 yds) short of the first down marker on fourth and two from the Hobart 16. The drive was RPI’s longest of the day and covered only 29 yards. The Engineers did not advance the ball across midfield in the second half.
Midway through the second quarter, Kelliher set up the Statesmen for the day’s only touchdown, intercepting quarterback Mike Hermann at the Hobart 46 and returning it 43 yards to the RPI 11. Four plays later, tailback Andrew Marlier (21 rush, 77 yds, TD) got just enough yardage on fourth and one from the two to get first down yardage and then rumbled into the end zone on the next play. Callahan’s PAT gave the Statesmen a 10-0 lead with 5:45 remaining before the half.
Field position played a big role in Hobart’s success. The Statesmen enjoyed an average starting field position of their own 48, while the Engineers’ average drive started at their own 29. Hobart punter Tyler Vincent (36.6 yds/p) contributed to RPI’s field position woes by dropping four of his nine punts inside the Engineers’ 20 and sending four more into the end zone for touchbacks.
Linebacker Stefan Schulz produced a game-high 14 tackles for the Engineers, while defensive end Colton Hill and defensive tackle Colin Elliott added 12 and 10 stops, respectively. Hermann led the RPI offense with 41 yards rushing, while completing 10-of-27 passes for 87 yards with three interceptions.
Hobart, which guaranteed its program record 13th consecutive winning season, will wrap up the regular season on Nov. 14, when it travels to Rochester for the third annual Centennial Cup. The Engineers will close out the season at home against Merchant Marine.