TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology rallied from an 11-point fourth quarter deficit to close within three points late, before falling just shy in a 21-18 loss to Defiance College on Saturday afternoon.
Defiance built a 21-10 advantage early in the fourth quarter, before Rose-Hulman closed to within 21-18 with a 15-play, 62-yard scoring drive that ended at the 5:55 mark and featured three fourth down conversions.
Junior Mitch Snyder (Casey, Ill./Westfield) connected with senior Jordan Nielson (Syrcause, Utah/Clearfield) on a 13-yard scoring strike to cap the drive, and Snyder hit junior Kyle Kovach (Munster/Andrean) on a two-point conversion to close the gap to three points.
Defiance was able to march 52 yards in eight plays on its next drive, but the Fightin' Engineer defense forced a fourth down stop and gave Rose-Hulman one final chance to tie the score with 1:47 remaining.
The final drive featured a 43-yard, 10-play march that included passes of 12 yards to sophomore Joel Stiffler (DeWitt, Mich.) and 12 yards to Nielson. The Engineers reached the 29-yard line in the final drive, but a potential career-long field goal of 47 yards by senior Nick Schneider (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) fell just to the right on fourth down as Defiance secured the win.
Snyder finished 22-38 through the air for 266 yards and two touchdowns to lead the offensive effort. Senior Sutton Coleman (Lebanon, Va.) led off the game's scoring with a 25-yard touchdown catch and had 110 yards on five receptions, with Stiffler adding eight catches for 59 yards for Rose-Hulman.
Defensively, senior Ben Parker (Fillmore/South Putnam) led Rose-Hulman with 12 tackles, two tackes-for-loss and one sack. Sophomore Craig Voges (Huntingburg/Forest Park) pitched in with 11 tadckles, and junior Jordan Martin (Shelbyville/Triton Central) contibuted nine stops.
Rick Powell passed for 124 yards and rushed for 120 more to lead the Defiance offense. Drew Kuesel added 95 yards rushing and two touchdowns for the Yellow Jackets.
Rose-Hulman jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on two long passes from Snyder to Coleman. The first was a 55-yard strike to move the Engineers into Defiance territory, and the second was a 25-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter.
Defiance marched 47 yards in seven plays to knot the score at 7-7. Schneider capped a four-play drive in the final seconds of the first half that featured an 18-yard pass from Snyder to Stiffler with a 28-yard field goal to give Rose-Hulman a 10-7 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Defiance marched 60 yards in 11 plays to take a 14-10 lead on a one-yard run by Kuesel with 9:48 left int he third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Yellow Jackets moved their lead to 21-10 on a 10-play, 48-yard drive that finished with a four-yard scoring run by Kuesel at the 9:41 mark.
Rose-Hulman then completed its 15-play drive to move within three points late.
The Fightin' Engineers honored 14 seniors prior to kickoff in a pregame ceremony.
Seniors included mechanical engineering major Sutton Coleman; civil engineering major Brad D'Agnillo; mechanical engineering major Steve Durham; civil engineering major Karl Frisk; mechanical engineering major Matt Green; biomedical engineering major Lance Irwin; mechanical engineering major Ethan Kestenman; mechanical engineering major Jeff Ketchum; mechanical engineering major Jordan Nielson; biomedical engineering major Ben Parker; mechanical engineering major Nick Schneider; mechanical engineering major P.J. Schulthies; mechanical engineering major Bobby Short; and mechanical engineering major Jake Whitsitt.
Defiance improved to 4-4 overall and 4-2 in league play, while Rose-Hulman stands 3-5 overall and 3-3 in conference games. The Fightin' Engineers hit the road for Anderson University next Saturday.