Rochester Football Wins Home Opener

Rochester Athletics – Junior quarterback Dean Kennedy threw two first-quarter touchdown passes to lead the University of Rochester to a 17-7 victory over Thiel College at Edwin Fauver Stadium.

He finished 11 for 17 for 151 yards and the two scores. He ran 15 times for a net of 72 yards which included four sacks. Rochester finished with 306 yards in offense – 155 rushing (Chris Lebano rushed 24 times for 79 yards) and 151 in the air.

Thiel produced 229 yards in offense. The Tomcats rushed for 101 yards (Taylor Fink had 60 yards on 15 carries) and passed for 128. Andrew Smith hit 17 of 31 passes. He was sacked twice and intercepted once – by Rochester’s Cole Valko on the final Thiel drive in the last minute.

Kennedy threw a screen pass to Lebano that turned into a 19-yard touchdown with 9:01 left in the first quarter. That climaxed an 11-play, 69-yard drive which started the game. After a three-and-out by Thiel, he drove the Yellowjackets 63 yards in eight plays, finishing with a 50-yard strike to Garrett Kesel who got behind the Thiel defense for the score.

Alex Antonucci kicked both PATs for Rochester. He made a 40-yard field goal with 2:34 left in the game to clinch the victory.

Down 14-0 at halftime, Thiel reorganized and cut the deficit in half midway through the third quarter. The Tomcats converted two third downs and one fourth down in a 13-play, 61-yard drive to get within 14-7. Fink plunged one yard on 4th-and-1 from the Rochester 28 to keep the drive going. Three plays later. Smith found Berend Grube inside the one-yard line for an 18-yard gain. Fink scored on the next play and Cody McClelland’s PAT made it 14-7 with 3:48 left in the quarter.

Rochester’s defense held midway through the fourth to preserve the win. The Tomcats drove from their own 25 to the Rochester 26 where Smith’s pass for Grube on 4th-and-1 fell incomplete.

Kennedy drove Rochester 51 yards in 11 plays, eating up 4:24 on the clock. Antonucci kicked his 40-yard field goal on 4th-and-7.

Defensively, Jordan Honjiyo and Zach Cicero led Rochester with 10 tackles. Brendan Pidgeon had nine stops, one sack one forced fumble, and two pass breakups. Shawn Burke had eight tackles and one sack.

Thiel’s leader was Dustin Baker with nine tackles, including 2.5 tackles behind the line. Jack Sindlinger and Terry Gensel had six tackles apiece.

Notes: It was Kennedy’s second career start. He directed Rochester to a 16-13 road win at St. Lawrence last year…. Rochester won its home opener for the first time since the 2001 season.

Article and photo courtesy of the University of Rochester Athletics Department. For more sports news, visit