TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology looks to earn its first football conference championship since 1988 in Saturday's "Battle of the Borders Broadsword" matchup at Earlham College.
The Fightin' Engineers would earn at least a share of their 11th conference championship in 119 years of football with a win at Earlham on Saturday. Rose-Hulman would earn its first ever trip to the NCAA Division III Playoffs with a win over Earlham and a loss by Franklin against Hanover on Saturday.
The contest also features another edition of the "Battle of the Borders Broadsword" series. The Fightin' Engineers have won every meeting since the inception of the award in 2001, and have won 19 of the last 20 series meetings against Earlham. The award is named to honor Rose-Hulman as the Western border and Earlham as the Eastern border of Indiana.
Rose-Hulman has won six of its seven conference games to move into a tie for first place in the HCAC standings with No. 23 Franklin, including last week's 42-14 victory at Anderson.
Senior Ryan Landwehr set a single-season school record with 211 pass completions this year at Anderson last week. He needs 27 passing yards on Saturday at Earlham to move into third place on the single-season yardage list, and would need 336 yards to move into second place. Landwehr could also set a new single-season record for total offense with 195 yards at Earlham.
Senior Danya Francis has balanced the running game with 538 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. The receiving corps has battled through injuries, but eight different receivers have caught touchdown passes this season. Last week's effort included touchdown receptions by running back Greg Lee and receiver Sterling Mitchell.
The offensive line has formed a continuity the starting group of Nick Buchta, Kie Bates, Eric Taylor, T.J. Demos and Jason Waldenmeyer over the last several weeks. Rose-Hulman's offensive line has also yielded just 11 sacks this season, the fewest in the HCAC.
Defensively, freshman Kevin Nowak leads Rose-Hulman with 68 tackles and eight pass breakups along with two interceptions. Chris Sander and T.J. Chin have added depth to the secondary with 59 and 55 tackles, respectively, and Anthony Adamo has a team-high three interceptions. Cody Rivers leads the linebacker corps with 56 tackles, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
The defensive line has been a force this season, helping Rose-Hulman tally an HCAC high 30 sacks and 77 tackles-for-loss as a team. Dean Griffing has a team-high 16 tackles-for-loss and 8.5 sacks, with D.J. Lawson adding 4.5 sacks. Griffing also ranks second in school history with 20.5 career sacks. Mark Fitz and Craig Voges have contributed 3.5 sacks each.
Senior punter Eric Schaible became Rose-Hulman's career school record holder for punting yards at 8,509. Senior placekicker Matt Angel ranks second on the team in scoring with 43 points on 4-6 field goals and 31-33 extra points. Mitchell has also contributed to the special teams as the leading kickoff returner in the HCAC (21.4/return).
Earlham stands 2-7 and 1-6 in conference play entering Saturday's matchup. The Quakers highlight was a 21-20 at Earlham that featured a 20-point rally in the second half. Earlham will honor six seniors prior to Saturday's game, including standout punter/linebacker Kaleb Lingg. He led the Quakers with 24 tackles in the Anderson win.
Live in-game video and live in-game stats will be available for Saturday's game, courtesy of Earlham sports information. Twitter updates will be posted @rhitsports.
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