The Springfield College football team saw a tough end to their home schedule on Saturday, as the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) grounded the Pride 37-13 at Amos Alonzo Stagg Field.
Just 3:05 into the games opening quarter, RPI captivated the fans as senior kicker Andrew Franks, who also punts, drilled a 52-yard field goal that not only gave RPI the lead, but impressed everyone in attendance.
Franks 52-yard kick believe it or not, was not his best. Earlier this season, he connected from 54-yards out. In 2012 as well as 2013, Franks hit 50-yard field goals. He still has another eight yards to add if he wants to tie Don Antonini’s NCAA Division III record that has stood since 1979.
The field goal by Franks was a sign of things to come for RPI on the day, as they put up 30 unanswered points before Springfield cracked the scoreboard.
The Pride came in leading Division III in yards per completion (26.29), and second in rushing offense, averaging 353.8 yards a game on the ground. However, RPI was able to stifle Springfield’s offense throughout much of the afternoon.
Both Jonathan Marrero and Tim O’Brien were able to connect on fourth quarter touchdown strikes, but it was not enough.
The turning point may have been late in the second half, as the Pride looked to go into the locker room down only nine. To that point it had been a defensive struggle, with neither offense being able to find pay dirt.
However, RPI had other idea this time, as quarterback Tommy Morgan led a six play drive, totaling 63 yards that ended in a touchdown, making it 16-0 with just 3:15 to play in the half. That would be all the points RPI would need, as Springfield could only muster 13 points the rest of the way.
RPI was able to hold the Pride’s dominant running game to just 229 yards, and more importantly, avoided the big play. Just last season, in a back and fourth game, Marrero broke a 91-yard fourth quarter run that proved to be the winning score as Springfield won 35-28.
Marrero was the Pride’s leading rusher on the afternoon, but was mostly held in check with just 76 yards rushing.
Ultimately, Springfield was done in by three turnovers, and just a 25 percent conversion rate on third downs. RPI was able to posses the ball for over 33 minutes, turning it over just once, and rushing for 285 yards.
The win on Saturday was just RPI’s third over the Pride in nine games, as they got their first win of this year since October 4, snapping a three game losing streak.
Springfield and RPI now both sit at 5-4, with 3-3 conference records. For Springfield, they will wrap up the season this Saturday, November 15, as they visit rival WPI in Worcester, for a 12 p.m. kick.
The Springfield College Football team will travel to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) this Saturday, November 15 for their final conference game at 12 p.m. Best of luck to the Pride players and coaches. Bring home the win!
Billy Peterson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org