TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology forced five turnovers and Garrett Wight crossed the 100-yard mark in rushing as the Fightin' Engineers won their 2018 Homecoming Game 23-14 over Bluffton University on Saturday afternoon.
Playing in front of a season-best crowd of 2,750, the Fightin' Engineers led 16-14 late in the fourth quarter before the day's fifth interception secured a Rose-Hulman victory. Mitchell Kelley snagged an errant throw on the Bluffton 45-yard line and sprinted to the endzone, giving Rose-Hulman a 23-14 lead and secure the team's second HCAC win.
Wight led the Rose-Hulman with 116 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. Andrew Dion finished 17-31 through the air for 93 yards and also rushed for 22 yards to help balance the attack. Noah Thomas led the receivers with seven receptions for 37 yards.
The timely Rose-Hulman defense provided a lift with five interceptions. John Kirby snagged two interceptions, including one in the endzone with 1:45 remaining to clinch the win. Kelley, Zach Phillips and Carter Hounshell added one interception each.
The Fightin' Engineer defensive line kept the pressure on Bluffton quarterback Plummie Gardner, holding him to a 9-20 day for 107 yards and one touchdown. Mike Riley paced the defensive line with a pair of sacks.
Bluffton was held under 300 yards of total offense for the game. Drake Campbell rushed for 115 yards on 24 carries to provide balance to the Beaver performance.
Bluffton took the lead at 7-0 on its opening drive, with Gardner connecting on a 17-yard touchdown strike to Adam Duncan. Rose-Hulman knotted the score at 7-7 early in the second quarter on a 2-yard scoring run by Wight. Adam Clark put the Engineers up 10-7 at the half with a 35-yard field goal on the final play of the second quarter.
The Beavers regained the advantage at 14-10 on a 13-yard touchdown run by Gardner early in the third quarter. Rose-Hulman answered with a nine-play, 33-yard drive on its next possession, taking the lead at 16-14 with 7:49 left in the third quarter on a 4-yard run by Wight.
The score remained the same until Kelley's game sealing interception with 2:27 left in the fourth quarter.
Rose-Hulman improved to 2-4 overall and 2-2 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play, while Bluffton dropped to 1-5 and 1-3 in league games. The Fightin' Engineers return home on Oct. 20, facing in-state HCAC foe Anderson University.