NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology senior Ryan Landwehr (Tipp City, Ohio/Tippecanoe) and sophomore Aaron Abbott (Lebanon, Ohio) hooked up on two long touchdown passes, and the defense forced three turnovers to help the Fightin' Engineers top Manchester University 44-30 on Saturday.
Landwehr finished 20-33 through the air for 298 yards and three touchdowns, with Abbott recording nine catches for 181 yards and two scores to pace an effort that generated 470 total yards of offense. Landwehr played a direct hand in all five offensive touchdowns, with three passing and two rushing scores.
Senior Danya Francis (Kissimmee, Fla./Celebration) rushed for 75 yards on 18 carries to lead the ground attack, with Landwehr adding 42 yards. Landwehr and Abbott connected on touchdown strikes of 59 yards in the first half and 58 yards in the second.
Defensively, senior Craig Voges (Huntingburg/Forest Park) returned a fumbled punt for a touchdown and tied for team-high honors with nine tackles. Freshman Kevin Nowak (Naperville, Ill./Central) had nine tackles and an interception, with senior Cody Rivers (Coconut Creek, Fla./Monarch) pitching in eight tackles and an interception. Senior T.J. Chin (Morehead, Ky./Rowan County) also had nine tackles.
Manchester scored 11 straight points to earn a 30-27 lead late in the third quarter. Riley Ellington kicked a 32-yard field goal at the 9:34 mark, then the Spartans marched 12 plays to gain the lead on a nine-yard run by Austin Adams. Manchester added the two-point conversion for the three-point lead.
Rose-Hulman answered in just two plays to regain the lead at 34-30 late in the third quarter. Freshman Sterling Mitchell (Indianapolis/Brebeuf) returned the Manchester kickoff 40 yards, then Landwehr and Abbott hit on a 58-yard touchdown strike on the next play to put the Fightin' Engineers back in front.
The lead increased to 37-30 on Rose-Hulman's first full drive of the fourth quarter. The seven-play, 26-yard drive ended with a 27-yard field goal by Angel with 10:37 left in the game.
Rose-Hulman used one more scoring drive to clinch the victory. Landwehr and Abbott made a 26-yard connection, then Francis sprinted 21 yards on third down to the one-yard line. Landwehr finished the drive with a one-yard run to push the lead to 44-30 with 1:32 left.
Early in the contest, Manchester took a 6-0 lead with a touchdown drive on its opening drive. Nick Williams completed an 11-play, 63-yard march with an 11-yard scoring run. Rose-Hulman sophomore Chris Sander (Baileyville, Ill./Forreston) blocked the extra point to keep the margin at six points.
Later in the first quarter, Landwehr connected with Abbott on a 59-yard scoring strike on the first play of a drive. Senior Matt Angel (Cassville, Mo.) booted the extra point to give Rose-Hulman a 7-6 lead with 3:05 left in the opening quarter.
Manchester regained the lead at 13-7 on its first possession of the second quarter. The Spartans earned a first down on a fourth down pass interference penalty to keep the drive alive, then Williams hit Michael Love on a 24-yard scoring strike to put the Spartans ahead with 11:29 left in the first half.
Rose-Hulman answered on its next possession to regain a 14-13 lead. The 19-play, 76-yard march included a 20-yard pass from Landwehr to sophomore Jacob Dye (Tipton) and a fourth down holding penalty. Landwehr capped the drive with a four-yard touchdown run at the 6:09 mark.
The lead reached 20-13 after the Rose-Hulman special teams came through for a score. Manchester fumbled a punt by senior Eric Schaible (Findlay, Ohio), which Voges returned for a touchdown with 3:08 left in the first half.
The Fightin' Engineer defense set up Rose-Hulman's next score that pushed the lead to 27-19. Rivers snagged an interception at the Manchester 32-yard line, and Landwehr connected with senior Connor Gerhart (La Mesa, Calif./LaJolla Country Day) four plays later for a 12-yard touchdown.
Rose-Hulman improved to 2-2 on the season and 2-0 in HCAC play with the victory, while Manchester dropped to 0-4 and 0-2 in league games. The Fightin' Engineers host Hanover College next Saturday.