Defiance Throttles Earlham, 33-0, in First-Ever HCAC Meeting
RICHMOND, Ind. – Defiance College moved into second place in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference with a 33-0 win at Earlham on Saturday in the first league clash between the two programs. The Jackets piled up 311 yards on the ground and collected four interceptions in the lopsided victory.
The shutout was DC's first time blanking an opponent on the road since scoring a 10-0 win at Adrian on September 9, 2006 and the 33-point margin of victory was the highest for a Purple and Gold squad since wiping out Bluffton, 35-0, in the 2009 season finale.
Along with scoring the most one-sided road victory in his eight-year tenure with Defiance College, Rob Taylor improved the Jackets to 12-6 all-time against the Quakers and improved his career win total to 34. Taylor is now just two wins shy of tying Malen Luke for the winningest head coach in program history and could tie that mark when DC hosts Rose-Hulman on October 30.
It took time for the onslaught to unfold however, as Earlham blocked a 35-yard field goal attempt by the Jackets to preserve a scoreless tie through the game's opening 15 minutes of action.
EC then marched down the field to the Defiance 14-yard line early into the second quarter, before Frank Furnari slowed the drive with a 10-yard sack that set up a third and 19. Kyle Longsdorf then intercepted the ensuing pass into the end zone and returned it 100 yards for the 7-0 Yellow Jacket lead.
Longsdorf's pick six opened the flood gates, as Anthony Sierra ended Earlham's ensuing possession with a 37-yard interception return to the EC one-yard line. Drew Kuesel then stomped in from one-yard out to push the spread to 14-0.
Defiance would tack on another score late in the second quarter, as it started its final drive of the opening half with 1:32 on the clock. Rick Powell connected with Jon Carrabino twice, before hitting Rashad Hunt to move the ball to the Earlham eight. Powell then scored the first of his two touchdowns with an eight-yard scamper that sent the Jackets to the break with a comfortable 21-point cushion.
The Jackets continued to light up the scoreboard in the third quarter, as Powell broke loose for a 53-yard touchdown run on the squad's second series of the half and Sierra returned a punt 57 yards to pay dirt for the 33-0 lead with 4:55 remaining in the third.
Powell ended the day with 140 rushing yards on 16 carries and a pair of scores, while Kuesel added 94 yards and a touchdown. Garrett Teague also played well, racking up 61 yards on nine fourth-quarter carries.
Longsdorf, Sierra, Blake McGowan and Kadeem Watson spearheaded the shutout performance for the defense, combining for four interceptions. Austin Hedderly and Furnari each posted one sack, Josh Edwards forced one fumble and Ricky Sherrer and Robbie Lakes each posted eight tackles.
Along with his five tackles and a 37-yard interception return that set up DC's second score of the day, Sierra also excelled on special teams. The return man averaged 35.5 yards per punt return, including a 57-yard touchdown return to cap the 33-0 victory.
Defiance (3-3, 3-1 HCAC) will return home on October 23 to host Anderson (2-4, 2-2 HCAC) in a 1:30 pm start. DC will be hosting a "Pink Out" with the Vera Bradley Foundation, as part of the fight against breast cancer. All fans are encouraged to show their support by wearing pink to the game.