NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology senior Garrett Wight scored four touchdowns and crossed the 100-mark in both rushing and receiving to lead a 550-yard offensive performance in a 52-35 win at Manchester in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference football opener on Saturday.
Wight rushed for 147 yards on 31 carries with three touchdowns to lead the ground game, and amassed 104 receiving yards and one touchdown as a receiver. Noah Thomas also crossed the 100-yard mark with 151 yards on six receptions, including a 90-yard touchdown reception for the second longest catch in school history.
Andrew Dion directed the offense flawlessly to lead a 550-yard performance. Dion was 17-of-26 through the air for 349 yards and three touchdowns. The Engineers also crossed the 200-yard mark on the ground with 201 yards on the day.
A strong defensive effort also helped Rose-Hulman build a 35-7 lead at halftime. Zach Phillips led the defense with nine tackles and one pass breakup. Bryce Mefford added eight tackles and 1.5 tackles-for-loss. Andrew Hesse and Jacob Hendrich recorded seven tackles each, and Corey Vincent added a sack and 1.5 tackles-for-loss. Winston Amankwah added three pass breakups.
Rose-Hulman jumped out to a 21-0 lead after the first quarter with three scoring drives that each took less than two minutes. The opening drive ended with a 37-yard touchdown pass from Dion to Wight with 13:31 left in the first quarter.
After a defensive stop, Dion and Thomas connected on the 90-yard touchdown pass that put the Fightin' Engineers ahead 14-0. The lead reached 21-0 with 6:17 left in the first quarter after a three-yard scoring run by Wight.
Rose-Hulman pushed the lead to 35-0 with two touchdowns early in the second quarter. Dion and Thomas connected on an eight-yard touchdown for the second Thomas receiving touchdown of the day to make the score 28-0. Wight scored again from three yards out to push the lead to 35-0 with 4:34 left in the first half.
Manchester scored back-to-back touchdowns to close within 35-14 at the 10:39 mark of the third quarter. After a 55-yard pass from Dion to Wight, Maxwell Hatch capped a drive with a five-yard touchdown run at the 8:58 mark. Manchester rallied to within 42-21 after the third quarter with another score.
After a 27-yard field goal by Brett Tuttle increased Rose-Hulman's lead to 45-21, Manchester scored twice more to move within 45-35. Wight scored the game's final touchdown from one yard out to secure the victory. Donovan Henderson Jr. rushed for 290 yards to lead the Manchester offense, but the passing game was held to 9-22 through the air by the Fightin' Engineer defense.
Rose-Hulman improved to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in HCAC play, while Manchester dropped to 1-3 and 0-1 in conference games. The Fightin' Engineers return to action next Saturday in the 2019 Homecoming game against Franklin College at 2 p.m.