TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology football team surpassed the 400-yard mark offensively, but the Engineers dropped a tightly-contest home opener to visiting Centre College 27-17 at Cook Stadium on Saturday night.
Heath Haden led the Centre offense with a 26-46 performance through the air for 309 yards. Harry Meisner led the ground attack with 106 rushing yards and three touchdown, and Greyson Janeway had a team-high nine receptions for 108 yards.
Senior Ryan Landwehr (Tipp City, Ohio/Tippecanoe) had one of the most prolific passing games in Rose-Hulman history to lead the offensive effort. Landwehr finished second in Fightin' Engineer history in single-game pass completions (36) and attempts (60) in a 303-yard performance that included two touchdown strikes.
Sophomore Aaron Abbott (Lebanon, Ohio) hauled in 10 passes for 47 yards and one touchdown. Sophomore Jacob Dye (Tipton) added nine receptions for a game-high 135 yards. Senior Danya Francis (Kissimmee, Fla./Celebration) led the Engineers' attack on the ground with 57 yards on 11 carries.
Defensively, sophomore Chris Sander (Baileyville, Ill.) led the Engineers with 12 tackles and also blocked an extra point. Freshman Kevin Nowak (Naperville, Ill./Central) pitched in with nine tackles, including eight solo efforts and two tackles-for-loss. Junior Josh Sonneberger (Edon, Ohio) also had nine stops and six solo efforts on the defensive line.
The Centre defense was led by Ben Leahy with 10 solo tackles. Nick Dietz provided big plays with 10 tackles, one interception, two tackles-for-loss and one forced fumble.
The Fightin' Engineers (0-2, 0-0 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) jumped on the scoreboard first, as Landwehr completed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Abbott that put Rose-Hulman up, 7-0, with 4:19 left in the first quarter.
Centre knotted the score on a nine-yard touchdown run by Amoh Kumengisa late in the first quarter. Senior Matt Angel (Cassville, Mo.) hit a 33-yard field goal early in the second quarter to give the Engineers a 10-7 edge.
Two one-yard touchdown runs by Meisner gave Centre a 20-10 lead midway through the second quarter. Landwehr would find senior Marcus Washington (Frankfort, Ky.) on a 11-yard touchdown pass play with 5:22 left in the first half to close the margin to 20-17.
The first half ended with Centre driving to the two-yard line in the final seconds of the opening 30 minutes. Time initially expired after a 10-yard pass to Greyson Janeway, but one second was added back to the clock. The Colonels went for a touchdown rather than the field goal, and a pass breakup from senior T.J. Chin (Morehead, Ky./Rowan County) halted the drive as time expired.
The second half was more defensive minded than the first, with both teams holding the other scoreless for the first 22 minutes. The Colonels finally captured a two-score lead with a two-yard plunge by Meisner with 8:04 left.
Rose-Hulman reached the Centre 44-yard line on its next possession, but the Colonels forced a turnover on downs and were able to pin the Engineers deep into their own territory to secure the victory.
The Fightin' Engineers return to action in the annual Homecoming game and conference opener against Defiance College next Saturday at 2 p.m.