TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Bluffton University built an early 24-0
lead and held off a Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology second half
charge to capture a 31-13 win in Heartland Collegiate Athletic
Conference football action on Saturday.
Junior Mitch Snyder (Casey,
Ill./Casey-Westfield) finished 24-45 through the air for
253 yards to lead the Rose-Hulman offensive attack. Senior
Sutton Coleman (Lebanon, Va.) hauled in four
receptions for 90 yards, and senior Jordan Nielson
(Syracuse, Utah/Clearfield) made six catches for 70
Junior Kyle Kovach (Munster/Andrean) became the
sixth player in school history to cross the 2,500-yard rushing mark
in his career with 67 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns.
He also established a new Rose-Hulman career record for all-purpose
yardage with 130 on the day to increase his career total to 4,410
Chris Byrd led the
Bluffton offense with 189 yards passing and one touchdown, while
rushing for 78 yards and one score. Airic Stegall added 85
rushing yards and two touchdowns, while Todd Trotter made five
catches for 117 yards for the Beavers.
Defensively, junior Ben Parker (Fillmore/South
Putnam) paced Rose-Hulman with 10 tackles, one
tackle-for-loss and one pass breakup. Sophomore
Marcus Washington (Frankfort, Ky.) hauled in an
interception, and junior Ryan Gallagher
(Greenwood) contributed eight tackles to the effort.
Bluffton relied on big plays to earn a 17-0 lead after the first
quarter. The Beavers marched 64 yards on six plays to take a
3-0 lead on a 22-yard field goal by Austin Sweeney. On the
next drive, Byrd scored on a 68-yard touchdown run to make the
three-and-out, Byrd connected with Jason Johnson on a 43-yard
touchdown strike to put Bluffton ahead 17-0 after the first
quarter. The Beavers added another score two minutes later on
a three-yard run by Airic Stegall to make the score 24-0 early in
the second quarter.
Rose-Hulman crossed the 50-yard line on its second-to-last drive
of the first half, but was forced to turn the ball over on downs
and Bluffton maintained a 24-point lead at the half.
The third quarter belonged to Rose-Hulman, as the Engineers
began a second half charge. Following a punt midway through
the quarter, the Engineers marched 72 yards on six plays for its
first score of the day.
Snyder connected on a 43-yard pass to Coleman to start the
drive, which Kovach ended with a one-yard touchdown run to make the
score 24-7 at the 6:21 mark.
After Rose-Hulman forced another three-and-out by Bluffton, the
Engineers marched 64 yards in seven plays to close within 24-13
late in the third quarter. Snyder connected on passes of 25
yards to Nielson and 19 yards to sophomore Joel Stiffler
(DeWitt, Mich.), before Kovach scored his second touchdown
of the day from three yards out at the 2:35 mark.
Rose-Hulman forced another stop early in the fourth quarter and
marched to the Bluffton 20-yard line, before an interception by
Birchel Ralph in the red zone ended the potential scoring
The Rose-Hulman defense held again to force another
three-and-out and provide another offensive possession early in the
fourth quarter. Bluffton's defense held on four straight
plays, before Steagall sealed the victory with a five-yard
touchdown at the 3:32 mark.
Bluffton improved to 4-4 overall and 4-2 in conference play,
while Rose-Hulman dropped to 3-4 overall and 3-2 in league
games. The Fightin' Engineers host Defiance College next
Saturday afternoon at 1:30 in the Senior Day matchup.