OLIVET, Mich. - The Trine University football team got back in the win column as they easily handled Olivet College 42-6. The Thunder are now 6-2 on the season and 2-2 in the MIAA.
It started off well for the Thunder as they forced the Comets three and out on their opening drive. Trine drove right down the field as their nine play, 73-yard drive was capped off by a 22-yard Kent Biller (Nappanee, Ind./Northwood) sweep run to the left for the score.
Trine would get the ball right back as they forced another three and out on the Olivet offense. Trine would again drive down the field, but the offense would stall after three incomplete passes including a fourth and 16. Olivet would again go three and out as the Comets punt was short, just 16 yards, giving Trine ball on the Olivet 45. Quarterback Ryan Hargraves (Taylor, Mich./Truman) found Will Chrystal (Portage, Mich. /Northern) who made a diving catch for a 35-yard gain and the first down. From there, three plays later Hargraves ran it in untouched from a yard out for his third rushing touchdown of the season.
After Trine forced the Comets to punt again, Biller ran for a 37-yard gain putting the Thunder within striking distance. On the next play, Hargraves pass in the end zone intended for Chrystal was intercepted by the Comets Rob Jensen for a touchback. After Olivet got their first down of the game, Myron Puryear (Plymouth, Mich./Canton) intercepted the Olivet pass. Puryear snatched the jump ball away from the Comet's receiver after Kyle Sherwood (Hanover, Mich./Hanover Horton) pressured Olivet's quarterback. The Trine offense would stumble for the first time as they were forced to punt on the ensuing possession.
On Olivet's ensuing possession, the Thunder came up with a big stop on fourth down as the Comets were driving deep into Trine territory. Ryan Braun (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc) and Ben Mohr (Boggstown, Ind./Triton Central) stuff the Olivet runner a yard shy of the first down.
Trine would score just before halftime as Hargraves found Jeff Harbrecht (Lowell, Ind./Lowell) wide open over the middle for the 20-yard touchdown as the Thunder led 21-0 at halftime.
Trine started the second half with a bang as Puryear took the opening kickoff back 85 yards for his first career return for a touchdown. Puryear wasn't done yet as he would complete the trifecta. Three plays into Olivet's next possession, Puryear stripped the ball from Olivet's wide receiver after it was initially a 15-yard gain for the Comets. That play would setup the Thunder for another score as their eight play, 54-yard drive was capped off by three yard rush by Devin Leas (Poneto, Ind./Southern Wells).
Olivet would score their only points of the game at the end of the third quarter as Trine was forced to punt after being backed up to their own six yard line. The Comets drove just 37 yards capped off by a five yard touchdown pass, but the extra point was blocked by the Trine defense.
Olivet tried an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, but the Thunder were ready for it as Austin Thrana (Michigan Center, Mich./Michigan Center) recovered the ball.
The Trine defense came up with one more big stop as they pushed the Olivet offense all the way back to their own five yard line. After Olivet was called for a personal foul, Ryan Hogan (Vine Gove, Ky./Meade County) recorded his first career sack resulting in the Comets being forced to punt again.
Trine would put one final score on the board as Leas would again score, this time from nine yards out after the Thunder had a short field to work with.
Trine's offense tied a season-high with 42 points as Hargraves led the offense going 13-for-22 from the pocket for 135 yards. Biller led the ground game for the Thunder, scrambling for 92 yards. Five other backs ran for at least 30 yards for Trine. Chrystal led all receivers with 78 yards on four catches. Ja Vontae Hence (Elkhart, Ind./Concord) finished the afternoon with a game-high five catches for 29 yards.
The defense for Trine forced a season-high eight punts from the Olivet offense. Caleb Nitz (Baroda, Mich./Lakeshore) led the defense with 10 total tackles (four solo). Hogan and Sherwood each recorded a sack while Sherwood also added a tackle for a three yard loss.
Trine will play their final home game of the season on November 5 as they host Kalamazoo for a 1:00 p.m. game.