TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Behind a complete turnaround in the second half, the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology football team captured its first victory of the season on Homecoming in a 23-19 decision over Defiance College Saturday at Cook Stadium.
The Engineers (1-2, 1-0 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) accounted for 213 of their 287 offensive yards in the second half, kickstarted by the third quarter's opening 11-play, 69-yard drive when down by 10 points.
Senior Danya Francis (Kissimmee, Fla./Celebration) punched in a 1-yard touchdown run to bring Rose-Hulman within 13-10. Senior Ryan Landwehr (Tipp City, Ohio/Tippecanoe) set up the score with a 27-yard pass to sophomore Jacob Dye (Tipton).
Rose-Hulman scored the next 13 points to take a 23-13 lead entering the fourth quarter. Landwehr connected on a 53-yard scoring strike to sophomore Aaron Abbott (Lebanon, Ohio) to give Rose-Hulman its first lead at 16-13 midway through the third quarter.
The Engineers marched 37 yards on six plays on their next drive to push the lead to 10 points at 23-13. Landwehr capped the drive with a six-yard scoring run.
Defiance (0-2, 0-1 HCAC) would score on a 55-yard fumble recovery by Andrew Feldhaus with six minutes to play to close within 23-19. Rose-Hulman's defense held the Defiance offensive unit scoreless in the second half to preserve the victory. Sophomore Anthony Adamo (Chino, Calif.) provided the biggest defensive play of the game by intercepting a Defiance pass with 42 seconds left to halt the final Yellow Jackets drive.
Landwehr finished the game 14 of 25 for 139 yards passing and one touchdown. His primary targets were Aaron Abbott (six catches for 66 yards, touchdown) and Dye (five catches for 69 yards). Francis led the Engineers on the ground with 65 yards on 20 carries to go along with a rushing score.
On the defensive side, Adamo highlighted the Rose-Hulman defense with 12 tackles and an interception. Senior D.J. Lawson (Indianapolis/Pike) added seven tackles and a sack. Senior Cody Rivers (Coconut Creek, Calif.) contributed six tackles, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and two hurries, and freshman Jordan Harr (Carrollton, Ill.) recovered a fumble for the third forced turnover of the day. Dye also blocked a punt on special teams.
Senior Eric Schaible (Findlay, Ohio) proved a key weapon as the punter, with a 40.6 average on eight punts. Schaible booted a 61-yard punt early in the game, and downed a punt on the one-yard line in the second half to sway field position.
Defiance jumped out to a 10-0 lead midway through the second quarter on a one-yard run by Sean Washington and a 28-yard field goal by Spencer Saunders. Rose-Hulman senior Matt Angel (Cassville, Mo.) capped a 16-play drive late in the first half with a 35-yard field goal to bring the margin within 10-3. Saunders booted a 32-yard field goal with three seconds left in the half to give Defiance a 13-3 lead at the break.
Rose-Hulman improved to 1-2 on the season and 1-0 in HCAC play, while Defiance dropped to 0-3 and 0-1 in league play. The Fightin' Engineers return to action at Manchester University next Saturday at 1:30.