It was a record-setting season for the Engineers football team, which advanced to the NCAA Semi-Finals for the first time in the teams 117-year history. Along the way, they broke school records, captured numerous honors, and won a playoff in a blizzard.
The team was named the 2003 Division III Lambert Meadowlands Team of the Year for the first time ever. This prestigious honor came after Rensselaer was ranked first in the final Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Lambert Poll. Established in 1936 as the Lambert Trophy to recognize supremacy in eastern college football, the award has grown to recognize the best teams in the East in NCAA Divisions I-A, I-AA, II, and III.
In what has been a football season of many firsts, this has to rank among the biggest, says Ken Ralph, director of athletics. The Lambert Trophy is symbolic of football excellence in the East and I am thrilled that our students were recognized for this honor. I am happy for all of the players, coaches, and support staff who made this very special season possible.
The Engineers, coached by Joe King, posted a school-record 11 wins and advanced to the Division III National Semi-Finals during the 2003 campaign. In the final national rankings, Rensselaer was listed in the top 10 in three national polls. The Engineers were ranked fifth by D3football.com, sixth in Don Hansens National Weekly Football Gazette Top 40, and ninth in the final American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Poll.
Perhaps the most thrilling event was the Dec. 6 snow bowl game against Ithaca College. In blizzard-like conditions on 86 Field, Rensselaer held off Ithaca 21-16 to take the Division III Football Championship Regional Final.
The Engineers eventually fell to St. Johns 38-10 in the National Semi-Final at Clemens Stadium in Collegeville, Minn. They finished the season with an 11-2 record.
Photo by Kris Qua
|Rensselaer Magazine: Spring 2004|
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