DEFIANCE, Ohio – Defiance College bolted to a 27-0 lead over Rose-Hulman on Saturday and cruised to its fourth-straight victory on the gridiron with a 41-21 victory over the Engineers on Senior Day. The win moved the Jackets to 5-1 in conference play for the first time since 2001.
DC wasted little time taking control of the action in its final home contest of the season, as the Jackets held Rose-Hulman without a first down until the final minute of the opening half and took a 20-0 lead to the break. Defiance held the ball for nearly 19 minutes by converting eight-of-11 third downs in the first two quarters, while outgaining R-H by a 278 to 43 margin.
The Jackets did not let up in the second half, as Rick Powell connected with Rashad Hunt for a 69-yard touchdown pass on the first series of the third quarter to push the spread to 27-0. The touchdown widened Defiance's scoring advantage to 131-21 over its opposition, dating back four games to the start of the 22-14 victory over Mt. St. Joseph on October 9.
Rose-Hulman would add some drama over the next eight minutes however, as the Engineers scored a pair of quick touchdowns to draw to within 27-14 and then moved the ball to the Defiance 13-yard line after recovering a fumble deep into DC territory.
The tide would turn quickly back to Defiance however, as Ricky Sherrer jarred the ball loose on a third down completion at the 11-yard line and Kadeem Watson scooped it up in stride at the 15, before going 85 yards untouched for the score and the 34-14 advantage with 5:04 left in the third.
The Jackets added the exclamation point later in the quarter, when Powell hooked up with Hunt once more for a 71-yard touchdown pass. Hunt made a leaping grab on the throw, pulling it down over top of his defender before spinning free of the tackle and running 45 yards down the sideline for the score and the 41-14 lead.
Rose-Hulman would add a touchdown in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring but never threatened the Jackets again in the 41-21 DC triumph.
Defiance moved the ball at will all day on the Engineer defense, which entered the afternoon ranked second in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference in rush defense. The Jackets piled up 258 yards on the ground for their fourth-straight game with at least 200 rushing yards, and set season highs with 281 passing yards and 539 total yards of offense.
Powell led the charge by connecting on 15-of-20 passes and set new career highs with 281 yards and three touchdowns through the air. The junior quarterback also gained 114 yards on the ground in 20 carries to end the afternoon with 395 yards of offense.
Drew Kuesel ran the ball well once again, reaching 130 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries and Hunt set career highs with five catches, 160 yards, two scores and the 71-yard reception.
Watson's 85-yard fumble return was the defensive play of the day and set a new Defiance College single-game record, breaking the previous mark of 60 yards set by Robert France in 1993.
Sherrer knocked loose the key fumble and added five tackles, while Luis Zequiera and Chrys Killebrew each hauled in an interception. Kyle Longsdorf eclipsed the 100-tackle barrier with 13 more stops to move his HCAC-leading total to 110 through eight games, Hunter Robertson added seven hits and Joemese Scott had 1.5 sacks.
The victory moved Defiance to 5-3 overall for its highest win total since going 5-5 in 2007. The win also moved Rob Taylor into a tie with Malen Luke (1988-1993) atop the record books for the most victories by a head coach in program history with 36.
Taylor will look to secure the program record and push DC (5-3, 5-1 HCAC) to its fifth-straight win when the Jackets play at Manchester (2-6, 1-5 HCAC) on November 6 at 1:30 pm.