CINCINNATI, Ohio -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Mount St. Joseph combined for over 1,100 yards of total offense, before the host Lions came out on top 54-35 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference football opener for both schools on Saturday.
Rose-Hulman gained 518 yards of offense on the day, with Andrew Dion completing 22-of-35 passes for 349 yards and three touchdowns. Garrett Wight rushed for 129 yards on 35 carries with two touchdowns, and Noah Thomas led the receiving corps with eight catches for 146 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, Coleson Carmell paced Rose-Hulman with 12 tackles and three tackles-for-loss. Jack Heyl added seven tackles, one sacks and 1.5 tackles-for-loss. Mike Riley recovered a fumble and joined Griffin Steffy with 1.5 sacks. Zach Phillips added a 16-yard interception return to provide defensive support.
Chaiten Tomlin finished 26-39 through the air for 558 yards to lead the Mount St. Joseph offense. The Lions built an early 21-0 lead before the Rose-Hulman offense started to gain traction and rally the squad.
Wight put the Engineers on the board with a three-yard touchdown run to cap a nine-play drive and bring Rose-Hulman within 21-7 in the second quarter. After Mount St. Joseph scored later in the quarter, the Fightin' Engineers turned around the game's momentum with a unique play on the ensuing extra point.
With Mount St. Joseph leading 27-7, Matt Michalak blocked the extra point and Alex Perez picked up the blocked kick. Perez ran into Mount St. Joseph territory before tossing a lateral back to Michalak, who ran the final 40 yards for a defensive two-point play to make the score 27-9. (WATCH THE BLOCKED EXTRA POINT PLAY)
Rose-Hulman answered with two touchdowns later in the first half to close within 34-23 at the break. Wight scored from three yards out to cap a 17-play drive, then Dion hooked up with Thomas on a 43-yard touchdown pass with 47 seconds remaining in the half to bring the deficit down to 11.
In the second half, Mount St. Joseph scored a pair of touchdowns before Rose-Hulman answered with a pair of scores of their own. Dion hit Sawyer Young with a 16-yard strike with 2:17 left in the third quarter, then Dion and Bryce Dobbs connected on a 65-yard touchdown pass with 14:18 left in the fourth quarter to bring the Engineers within 12 points at 47-35.
Mount St. Joseph scored the day's final points, then held the Rose-Hulman offense off the board in the fourth quarter. Mount St. Joseph improved to 2-1 and 1-0 in league play, while Rose-Hulman dropped to 0-1 in league play. The Fightin' Engineers host Manchester University next Saturday at 7 p.m. at Cook Stadium.