TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology improved to 3-1 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference football action with a 20-14 win over Mount St. Joseph on Saturday afternoon.
Junior Kyle Kovach (Munster/Andrean) scored two touchdowns and senior Matt Green (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle) became the first Fightin' Engineer since 1987 with 20 tackles in a game to pace the Rose-Hulman performance.
Junior Mitch Snyder (Casey, Ill./Casey-Westfield) finished 19-31 through the air for 234 yards and one touchdown to lead the Rose-Hulman offense. Kovach rushed for 85 yards and hauled in six catches for 67 yards and one touchdown to provide balance. Senior Jordan Nielson (Syracuse, Utah/Clearfield) added 69 yards on three receptions.
The Rose-Hulman defense was a major story, holding Mount St. Joseph to just seven points on offense. Green recorded 11 solo tackles and nine assists, while forcing two fumbles to become the first Rose-Hulman defensive player since Pat Thomas in 1987 with 20 stops in a game.
Freshman Spencer Balash (Monroe/Adams Central) recovered two fumbles on special teams, one on a punt and the other on a kickoff return. Senior Brad D'Agnillo (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain) and freshman Grant DePalma (Mount Prosepct, Ill.) each added one fumble recovery for the Engineers.
Other key contributors for the Rose-Hulman defense included junior Jordan Martin (Shelbyville/Triton Central) with nine tackles, DePalma with seven stops, and junior Ryan Gallagher (Greenwood) with six stops and a 17-yard sack. Senior Ben Parker (Fillmore/South Putnam) and sophomore Craig Voges (Huntingburg/Forest Park) also forced fumbles for Rose-Hulman.
James Clay rushed for 103 yards and one score, with quarterback Brian Pitzer adding 74 rushing yards on 14 carries for Mount St. Joseph. The Fightin' Engineer defense held the Lions to just 54 passing yards on the day. Jay Dolak also contributed a key play with a five-yard interception return in the second quarter for Mount St. Joseph.
Rose-Hulman marched 78 yards in 11 plays on its second drive to take a 7-0 lead. Snyder connected with sophomore Joel Stiffler (DeWitt, Mich.) on a 20-yard pass and hit junior Parris Gray (Richmond) on a 12-yard strike, before hooking up on a 27-yard pass to Kovach for the game's first score.
The Engineers relied on special teams as part of their second touchdown in the first quarter. Mount St. Joseph forced an Engineer punt, but Balash recovered his first fumble of the day on the kick to give Rose-Hulman possession at the Lions 40-yard line. After a 27-yard pass from Snyder to Nielson, Kovach scored from seven yards out to make the score 14-0.
Mount St. Joseph closed to within 14-7 early in the second quarter on a drive that was capped on a four-yard run by Clay. Two possessions later, Dolak's interception return knotted the score at 14-14 with 5:08 left in the first half.
Rose-Hulman took a 17-14 lead to the intermission on a 22-yard field goal by senior Nick Schneider (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) to cap a 13-play drive. Rose-Hulman converted a key third-and-10 on an 18-yard pass from Snyder to Nielson to keep the drive alive.
In the second half, both defenses took over, with Mount St. Joseph stopping two Rose-Hulman drives on downs in Lions territory. The Engineers took a 201-4 lead with 2:19 left on a 20-yard field goal by Schneider to set the stage for the game's final drive.
Mount St. Joseph crossed the 50-yard line and reached the Engineer 46-yard line, before Rose-Hulman forced three straight incompletions to force a turnover on downs to secure the win. Sophomore Andy Hunkeler (Kokomo/Northwestern) was credited with a quarterback hurry on the fourth down pass play.
Rose-Hulman stands 3-3 on the season, while Mount St. Joseph dropped to 3-3. The Fightin' Engineers travel to Bluffton University next Saturday.