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Football Team Retains Borders Broadsword

Football Team Retains Borders Broadsword




TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology retained the Battle of the Borders Broadsword for the 13th consecutive football meeting against Earlham College with a 41-10 victory on Senior Day at Cook Stadium.

The Fightin' Engineers relied on a balanced attack to gain 545 yards of total offense.  Rose-Hulman rushed for a season-high 285 yards and also passed for 260 yards and four touchdowns on the day.

Rose-Hulman also honored 10 seniors that marked the inaugural recruiting class for head coach Jeff Sokol.  This year's senior class included Spencer Balash, Nick Buchta, Zac Erba, Greg Lee, Kevin O'Dowd, Jacob Sexton, Brian Soller, Josh Sonneberger, Andrew Strebing and Eric Taylor.

Sophomore Austin Swenson finished 13-18 through the air for 250 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Rose-Hulman offense.  Junior Aaron Abbott added 166 receiving yards and three touchdown receptions among his six total catches on the afternoon.

Senior Greg Lee provided the offensive balance by powering for 133 rushing yards on 22 carries and one touchdown.  Swenson rushed for 50 yards and also had a 10-yard pass reception, and senior Brian Soller rushed for 44 yards on 11 carries.

Rose-Hulman's defense held Earlham to just 254 yards of total offense and shutout the visitors in the first, third and fourth quarters.  Sophomore Kevin Nowak had 10 tackles, including eight solo efforts, and freshman Tyler Stewart contributed eight stops to the effort.  Freshman Kaelen Garner added 2.5 tackles-for-loss among his six total tackles.

Brennan Laird led the Earlham offense by finishing 19-30 through the air for 144 yards, and Malik Reid rushed for 50 yards to pace the Quaker ground game. 

Rose-Hulman led 14-10 at the half, but scored touchdowns on its first four possessions of the third quarter to break the game open.  Freshman Alec Thompson opened the scoring with a nine-yard run to cap an 11-play, 74-yard game opening drive, before junior Craig Larew added the extra point.  Earlham closed within 7-3 on a 30-yard field goal by Ryan Acosta early in the second quarter.

Rose-Hulman answered with the first connection of Swenson to Abbott for a touchdown on the day.  The duo connected from 36 yards out to give Rose-Hulman a 14-3 lead less than one minute after the Acosta field goal.  Earlham closed within 14-10 at the half on a one-yard touchdown by Levi Hansen.

The second half featured control of the game for Rose-Hulman.  Swenson and Abbott hooked up on two touchdown passes in two offensive plays to push the lead to 28-10.  The first was a 15-yard pass to cap a 10-play, 75-yard drive at the 11:50 mark. 

After a stop by the Engineer defense, Swenson tossed a screen pass to Abbott, who outran the Earlham defense for a 77-yard touchdown to give Rose-Hulman an 18-point lead with 8:23 left in the third quarter.

Swenson threw his fourth touchdown pass of the day on fourth down, connecting with sophomore Joe Moehrle on a 25-yard strike with 2:14 left in the third quarter.

Lee finished the scoring with a two-yard run at the 13:20 mark of the fourth quarter for a Senior Day touchdown.  The Engineers ran out the last 7:10 of the game with an 11-play, 43-yard march that gained three first downs.

The game completed a record setting season for the Rose-Hulman football program.  The initial, unofficial count for the year includes five single-game individual school records, seven single-game individual team records, 12 single-season individual records, and 13 single-season team records. 

Swenson led the assault on the record book by completing 289-442 passes for 3,402 yards and 31 passing touchdowns this season.  Abbott finished with single-season school records of 76 receptions for 927 yards, while sophomore Alec Fisher caught a school record 15 touchdown passes and ranks No. 2 in single-season receptions with 72.  Larew added a school record 45 extra point kicks.

Notable team school records included 294 passing completions for 3,458 passing yards and 33 passing touchdowns.  The team also set school records for points in a season (389), total offensive yards (4,970) and all-purpose yards (6,002).

Rose-Hulman completed the season at 7-3 for the second consecutive year under Sokol.  The Fightin' Engineers also placed fourth in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings with a 5-3 overall record.