October 1, 2011

Trine Suffers First MIAA Loss Since 2007

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ANGOLA, Ind. - It was not an ideal day for the 17th ranked Trine University football squad as they dropped their first conference game in four seasons, 26-7 to Adrian College. The Thunder are now 3-1 on the season and 0-1 in the conference. 

From the start the Trine offense was unable to gain any momentum against the Bulldogs defense. Neither team was able to find the end zone in the first quarter as it appeared Trine was able to get a hand on 22 yard field goal attempt by Logan Mitseff that missed wide left. After Trine's next possession went three and out, the Thunder forced a fumble on Danny Cobb starting their drive near midfield. On the first play, Trine was pushed back by a penalty and three players later it the Bulldogs who forced the fumble and recovered. Three players later, Brandon Miller found Justin Hemm for 43 yards. With the ball at the three, Adrian pushed it in from there to take the 7-0 lead.

Trine's next possession resulted in short punt, but this time the defense held strong and against forced a fumble recovering it on their six yard line. However, it would be another turnover, this time an interception by quarterback Ryan Hargraves. With the ball on the Trine 17, once again the Thunder defense held strong as they forced the Bulldogs to settle for a 27 yard field goal. 

On Trine's ensuing possession, the offense manages just 22 yards before being forced to punt. On the punt, Adrian blocked the Nick Muir kick and recovered to start their drive at the Trine 25 yard line. Three plays later it was Miller finding Mitch Gabriele for a 21 yard touchdown. Trine followed with another three and out possession that was hindered by another penalty. Using just 50 seconds off the clock, Adrian would score another field goal this time from 47 yards by Mitseff. Despite out-scoring the Thunder 20-0 in the quarter, Trine actually held the ball for almost three more minutes, as Adrian out-gained the Thunder by just 24 total yards in the quarter.

The third quarter was similar to the first in that neither team would score. Trine actually held the ball for most the period, using up just over 11 minutes. The quarter saw two big plays go against the Thunder. First, Ja Vontae Hence returned a punt down to about the Adrian 20, but was called back due to an illegal block. The second came on the ensuing possession. After driving to the Adrian 24, Hargraves was against picked off inside the Bulldogs 10 yard line. 

Trine was able to get on the board during their next possession after forcing another three and out on defense. The Thunder drove 59 yards before Hargraves found Will Chrystal from seven yards out. After forcing Adrian to punt on another three and out, Hargraves threw his third pick of the day on the first play of the Trine drive. Adrian then drove 61 yards scoring the final points if the game. Trine would drive down the field 76 yards, but Hargraves pass in the end zone was intercepted.

Hargraves finished the day going 16-for-33, for 130 yards with a touchdown and four interceptions. Kent Biller led the offense with a game-high 126 rushing yards. Hence led Trine with seven receptions for 44 yards while Chrystal had four catches for 40 yards. Despite the score, Trine gained more total yards than the Bulldogs 278-to-264. Trine also led time of possession 32:31-to-27:29. Penalties also hurt the Thunder as they were flagged nine times for 72 yards. 

The loss snaps the Thunders 20-game conference, 20-game regular season and 22-game home regular season winning streaks.

Trine will look to rebound as they travel to LaGrange, Georgia as they take on non-conference opponent LaGrange College on October 8.

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