TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology successfully defended a two-point conversion and a hail mary pass in the final two minutes to earn a 28-26 victory over Manchester College in the annual Homecoming game on Saturday.
Senior Kyle Kovach (Munster/Andrean) scored three touchdowns on the day to lead the offensive effort.
Sophomore Grant DePalma (Mount Prospect, Ill./Prospect) added 20 tackles, six tackles-for-loss and four sacks to pace the defensive effort.
With the score 28-26 and 1:42 remaining after a fourth-down, one-yard touchdown run by Manchester's Austin Adams, the Spartans went for the tie on a two-point play. Quarterback Nick Williams advanced to the one-yard line, but senior Ryan Gallagher (Greenwood) made the stop just shy of the goal line to allow Rose-Hulman to keep the lead.
Manchester forced a turnover with a deflected interception on the next series and advanced to the Rose-Hulman 39-yard line in the final seconds. A last second, hail mary was attempted by the Spartans, but junior D.J. Lawson (Indianapolis/Pike) deflected Williams' pass before it left the quarterback's hands to secure the victory.
Freshman placekicker Craig Larew (Indianapolis/Lawrence North) played a major role in the victory. After the game's first touchdown, Larew ran in a two-point extra-point on a fake point after to make the score 8-0. He then added two extra points and two 39-yard field goals for a 10-point day.
Kovach rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns, including a 30-yard touchdown in the second quarter. He also led the receiving corps with 64 yards on seven catches and a 19-yard score.
Senior Mitch Snyder (Casey, Ill./Casey-Westfield) earned his third quarterback victory in a Homecoming game by passing for 126 yards and one touchdown. Freshman Jacob Dye (Tipton) and junior Connor Gerhart (La Mesa, Calif./La Jolla County Day) had three receptions each, and freshman Aaron Abbott (Lebanon, Ohio) rushed for 37 yards.
Defensively, DePalma became the fifth player in school history with 20 tackles in a game. The Engineer defense had seven sacks on the day, with DePalma leading the way with four and junior Dean Griffing (Plano, Ill./Aurora Christian) adding 1.5.
Gallagher added an interception and a fumble recovery, with junior Craig Voges (Huntingburg/Forest Park) and freshman Anthony Adamo (Chino, Calif.) also grabbing interceptions.
Junior Eric Schaible (Findlay, Ohio) also provided a solid day at the punting position with seven kicks for a 43.7 yard average and a long of 54.
Rose-Hulman scored quickly on its opening drive, marching 10 plays in just 2:40 and covering 73 yards. Snyder connected with Kovach on a 12-yard scoring strike, before Larew's two-point run gave the Engineers an 8-0 lead.
The Fightin' Engineers pushed the lead to 15-0 late in the first quarter on a one-yard scoring run by Kovach, who gave the team field position with a 17-yard punt return.
Rose-Hulman's lead grew to 22-0 at the 6:46 mark of the second quarter on a 30-yard run by Kovach to cap a nine-play drive. Manchester moved within 22-7 on an 18-yard pass from Williams to Brandt Lawyer.
The Fightin' Engineers relied on a four-play, 26-yard drive to take a 25-7 lead into the first half locker room. Snyder connected with Dye on a 17-yard pass and Kovach on a 15-yard strike, before the quarterback rushed for three yards and was hit out of bounds for a personal foul penalty. Larew then booted a 39-yard field goal on the last play of the half.
Manchester made a push with two third quarter touchdowns. Williams connected with Ryne Lehrman on a 20-yard pass and then rushed 29 yards to make the score 25-20 at the 3:13 mark of the third quarter.
Rose-Hulman then relied on a 10-play drive to gain a 28-20 lead early in the fourth quarter. Larew hit his second 39-yard field goal of the day to cap the march.
Manchester scored at the 1:42 mark to cap a 14-play, 59-yard drive to set the stage for the game deciding two-point play.
Rose-Hulman improved to 2-2 overall and 2-0 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play, with Manchester dropping to 0-4 overall and 0-2 in league play. The Fightin' Engineers travel to Hanover College next Saturday.