San Antonio - The Trinity Tigers were unable to complete a fourth-quarter comeback against Rhodes on Saturday, as the visiting Lynx won 22-16 in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
Trinity (1-1, 0-1) opened the scoring early in the first quarter, but Rhodes (2-1, 1-0) would score 22 unanswered points to take command midway through the fourth quarter. The loss was Trinity's first home loss against Rhodes since the 1992 season.
The Tiger defense gave up just 252 yards of total offense in the game, including 52 on one touchdown run early in the third quarter.
After Rhodes made it 22-3 on Lucas Stockhausen's third field goal of the night, Trinity finally got its offense going. Backup quarterback Patrick Dickinson came on late in the third quarter, but it wasn't until the "hurry-up" offense started that Trinity was able to move the ball.
"We tried our hardest," said Dickinson. "We got into a no-huddle- situation, and everyone started to wake up. We started to loosen up and have a little fun out there. We needed about 30 more seconds."
The Tigers finally got on the board as Dickinson hit Caleb Urban for a 30-yard catch-and-run that took just 2:12 off the clock for a 79-yard drive. Trinity elected not to try the on-side kick, but instead took its chances on stopping the Rhodes offense.
The defense stepped up once again, forcing a three-and-out that led a 65-yard drive and left 1:16 in the game. Now it was time for the onside kick, which was executed to perfection by All-America kicker Garrett Biel. Ben Robinson recovered at the 41, and Trinity was 59 yards away from an unlikely victory.
This time it was the Rhodes defense that stood strong, though, recording two sacks on the final drive, and forcing Dickinson out of the pocket on the game's final play. Dickinson tried to lateral the ball, but Rhodes recovered and was able to run off the final five seconds.
Dickinson finished with 196 yards and two touchdowns on 15-27 passing, but was sacked four times. Urban had 53 yards rushing and receiving, and Daniel South also had five for 48 yards and the second touchdown. Kyle Lewis carried 14 times for 97 yards on the ground for another solid effort.
Rhodes rushed for 192 total yards, including a 134-yard game from Matt Gilbert. Gilbert carried 24 times and scored a touchdown. Tyler Perkins rushed for 48 yards and threw for another 60, hitting 11-19 through the air. Perkins also threw a touchdown pass to Jake Jackson in the game.
After tying the game 3-3 late in the first quarter, Rhodes took the halftime lead with a touchdown in the final minute. With the first drive of the third quarter, the Lynx added a second score to make it 16-3 before Trinity even touched the ball in the second half.
Robinson led Trinity's defense with 11 tackles in the game, while Jarrod Burns and Thomas Puskarich finished with 10 tackles each. Robinson also had a pair of tackles behind the line of scrimmage, totaling eight yards lost.
Since the end of the 1995 season, Trinity had previously lost just one regular season Division III game at home, sporting a 68-1 record during that span. Millsaps - in 2008 - and now Rhodes are the only D-III teams to beat Trinity since a loss to Centre at home in 1995.
Trinity's slow start on offense that included three turnovers proved to be too much to overcome in the end.
"We really struggled, especially in the first half to complete the pass, for whatever the reason, "admitted Head Coach Steve Mohr. "You can't throw the ball when you are 1-for-12 in the throwing game. It really puts you in a tough situation. We completed a few (in the second half), but it was too little, too late."
Trinity will finish up its season-opening home stand with another SCAC contest against 2009 co-champion Millsaps College.