CINCINNATI, OHIO-- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology junior Danya Francis (Kissimmee, Fla./Celebration) scored three touchdowns to help the Fightin' Engineers top Mount St. Joseph 28-21 in overtime on Saturday.
Francis rushed for 112 yards and three scores for his third 100-yard game in the last four contests. Senior Mitch Snyder (Casey, Ill./Casey-Westfield) balanced the attack with a 19-39 performance through the air for 193 yards and one touchdown.
Junior Connor Gerhart (La Mesa, Calif./La Jolla Country Day) hauled in eight receptions for 65 yards and one touchdowns to lead the receiving corps. Freshman Jacob Dye (Tipton) also crossed the 50-yard mark with 55 yards on four catches.
Defensively, sophomore Grant DePalma (Mount Prospect, Ill.) led four players in double figures with 15 tackles. Junior Dean Griffing (Plano, Ill./Aurora Christian) had the most impressive statistical day with 14 tackles, 4.5 tackles-for-loss and two sacks.
Senior Jordan Martin (Shelbyville/Triton Central) amassed 12 tackles, and junior Craig Voges (Huntingburg/Forest Park) reached double figures with 11 stops. Sophomore Spencer Balash (Monroe/Adams Central) provided a key interception with a 27-yard return.
James Clay, the nation's leading rusher in NCAA Division III football, was held below his season average with 202 yards on 45 carries and one score. Brian Pitzer finished 12-26 through the air for 192 yards to balance the Mount St. Joseph offense.
The game started with offensive fireworks that resulted in four straight touchdown drives and a 14-13 Lions lead. Francis scored from one-yard out to cap a 10-play opening drive. Clay answered with a 56-yard scoring sprint.
Francis then scored from two yards on Rose-Hulman's next possession. Mount St. Joseph took a 14-13 lead on a 30-yard pass from Pitzer to John Peters just one minute into the second quarter.
The defenses then took over, with both teams only scoring once more in regulation time. Mount St. Joseph increased its lead to 21-13 on a 36-yard pass from Pitzer to Clay.
Rose-Hulman relied on an eight-point touchdown to force the extra session. Snyder and Gerhart connected on a five-yard scoring strike with 6:16 remaining to bring the Engineers within 21-19. Snyder and Gerhart connected again on a two-point conversion to tie the score at 21-21.
Both teams exchanged punts and Rose-Hulman punted the Lions deep in their own territory with 1:31 left. Mount St. Joseph drove to the Rose-Hulman 28-yard line and missed a 45-yard potential game winning field goal on the final play of regulation to force the extra session.
In overtime, Francis scored from five yards out and rushed five times for 21 yards on the drive. The Rose-Hulman defense then held Clay to a pair of two-yard runs and forced two incompletions to secure the victory.
Rose-Hulman improved to 3-5 on the season and 3-3 in HCAC play, while Mount St. Joseph dropped to 3-5 and 2-5 in league games. The Fightin' Engineers host Anderson University next Saturday at 1:30.