The Union College defense knows the answer to the question, “Who?”
Today, it will have to figure out how.
The Dutchmen, trying to stay on the heels of Liberty League co-leaders Hobart and St. Lawrence, face a must-win situation today when they travel to Rochester to play the Yellowjackets at 12:05 p.m. at Fauver Stadium.
Both Union and Rochester are 2-1 in the league, both lost to St. Lawrence and both still have to face undefeated Hobart. The loser of today’s game will have little chance of staying in the race for the Liberty League title.
Union’s defense will be focused on Rochester senior quarterback Dean Kennedy, a dual threat in the Yellowjackets’ backfield. Last season, Kennedy set a single-season record for the Yellowjackets, throwing for 2,028 yards. This season, he’s also Rochester’s leading rusher, with 411 yards and five touchdowns on 74 carries.
For the season, he’s completed 54.5 percent of his passes for 1,144 yards and six touchdowns, but in last weekend’s 37-31 victory over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he threw a season-high three
Two weeks ago, in a 38-13 rout of Alfred State, Kennedy rushed for 120 yards, making him the first Rochester quarterback in the last eight years to break the 100-yard mark. For good measure, he put up another 112 rushing yards against RPI.
But he’s not the only threat in the Rochester backfield. Freshman Myles Allen, a 215-pounder, carried the ball for 135 yards against RPI, and has scored six touchdowns this season.
The Dutchmen are coming off a 33-30 overtime loss to Western New England in a non-conference game, and have always had good success against the Yellowjackets. The Dutchmen have won 20 of the last 22 games against Rochester, and prior to Rochester’s victory in 2008, had a nine-game winning streak.
Last season, T.J. Franzese rushed for a career-high 174 yards and two TDs to spark a 20-7 win over the Yellowjackets at Frank Bailey Field. He will be part of Union’s balanced running game today. Darnel Thomas has 444 yards and five TDs, Franzese is the No. 2 rusher with 332 yards (four TDs) and quarterback Connor Eck has rushed for 201 yards and two TDs.
Eck has completed 54.3 percent of his passes, but has thrown just four TD passes, as the Dutchmen have relied on their ground game to come up with the scoring.
Sophomore linebacker R.J. Borgolini, a graduate of Ballston Spa High School, is one of the top players on Rochester’s defense. He is fourth in tackles (34) and also has an interception.
Tough task for RPI
The Engineers will be looking for their first Liberty League victory when they take on sixth-ranked Hobart (5-0, 3-0 LL) at noon at Boswell Field in Geneva.
Although Hobart has won seven of the last eight meetings with the Engineers (3-3, 0-2 LL), RPI pulled off a 29-28 upset of the then-24th-ranked Statesmen the last time they made the trip to Geneva.
The Engineers will have to stop Hobart’s running game, led by
senior Steven Webb, who has rushed for 766 yards and 10 touchdowns in five games. He’s backed up by Conner Hartigan, a sophomore from Albany Academy.
After opening the season with three straight wins, the Engineers take a three-game losing streak to Geneva.
Although the University at Albany is off today, the college is already preparing for “Bob Ford Bobblehead Day. ”The first 500 fans coming through the gates for the Danes’ game against Maine on Nov. 9 will receive a bobblehead of the Great Danes coach, who will retire at the end of the season.