DANVILLE, KY. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology senior Kyle Kovach (Munster/Andrean) became the all-time leading rusher in Fightin' Engineer history to lead the effort in a 49-21 loss at nationally ranked Centre on Saturday night.
Kovach gained 138 yards on 31 carries to move past Eric Hyten ('00) as the all-time leading rusher in Rose-Hulman history. His career total now measures 3,366 rushing yards.
Rose-Hulman battled the No. 18 ranked Colonels to a much tighter game than the score indicated, especially during the opening 30 minutes. Centre led 21-7 at the break, but Rose-Hulman had two second quarter possessions that reached inside the Colonel 30-yard line without points.
Senior Mitch Snyder (Casey, Ill./Casey-Westfield) led the statistical effort by completing 23-33 passes for 211 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Freshman Aaron Abbott (Lebanon, Ohio) added nine catches for 100 yards and one touchdown, while rushing for 36 yards and another score.
Freshman Jacob Dye (Tipton) pitched in with four catches for 90 yards, with junior Connor Gerhart (La Mesa, Calif./La Jolla Country Day) adding six receptions for Rose-Hulman.
Defensively, senior Jordan Martin (Shelbyville/Triton Central) and sophomore Grant DePalma (Mount Prospect, Ill./Prospect) led Rose-Hulman with 12 tackles each. Freshman Joseph Woodley (Shreveport, La./Loyola College Prep) pitched in with nine stops.
Centre jumped out to a 14-0 lead after the first quarter on a 41-yard touchdown pass from Heath Haden to Rob Melillo. Justin Williams added a one-yard scoring run with 4:17 left in the opening quarter.
Rose-Hulman marched 90 yards in 14 plays to close within 14-7 in the second quarter. Abbott finished the drive with a five-yard touchdown run. The scoring drive featured three third down conversions and a 16-yard run by Kovach.
Centre increased the lead to 28-7 on a 58-yard pass from Haden to Jason Osterman to take a 21-7 lead into the locker room. Rose-Hulman marched to the 10-yard line, courtesy of a 31-yard run by Abbott and back-to-back completions from Snyder to junior Marcus Washington (Frankfort, Ky.), before the first late second quarter drive ended. A last second drive in the first half reached the Centre 29-yard line.
The second half began with the key play of the game on the opening kickoff. Ben Leahy picked up a fumbled kickoff and returned the ball 34 yards for a score on the first play of the third quarter. The lead reached 35-7 on a four-yard scoring run by Monte Scotton.
Rose-Hulman marched 85 yards in seven plays to close back within 35-14 early in the third quarter. Snyder connected with Abbott for his second touchdown of the evening, a 22-yard pass with 6:59 left in the third quarter.
Centre added touchdowns in the third and fourth quarter, with Rose-Hulman adding a score in between. Junior Ryan Landwehr (Tipp City, Ohio/Tippecanoe) tossed a 55-yard scoring strike to freshman Jacob Dye (Tipton) for the third Engineer touchdown of the game.
Haden led the Centre offense with a 13-21 passing performance for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Scotton gained 154 rushing yards and scored a pair of touchdowns.
Centre improved to 2-0 on the season, while Rose-Hulman dropped to 0-2. The Fightin' Engineers return to action at Defiance College on Saturday afternoon.