ANGOLA, Ind. - It was perfect conditions for the Trine University football team as they closed out their home schedule for the season with a 35-21 win over Kalamazoo College. The Thunder improve to 7-2 on the season and 3-2 in the conference.
It didn't look good for the Thunder to start out as the Hornets took over six minutes off the clock in the first drive of the game as they scored on a four yard run after driving down the field 61 yards.
Trine returned the favor as on the ensuing possession, the Thunder drove 52 yards capped off by a three yard touchdown pass from Ryan Hargraves (Taylor, Mich./Truman) to tight end Sean Collins (Fort Wayne, Ind./Northrop) for the score.
Kalamazoo's next possession wasn't as successful as Aaron Shoemaker (Onsted, Mich./Onsted) forced a fumble on just the second play from scrimmage giving the Thunder the ball back in Hornet's territory. From there it took just five plays as Hargraves ran the ball in from six yards out for the score.
It would again be a quick turnaround, this time it was Myron Puryear (Plymouth, Mich./Canton) picking off the Hornet's Nick Jones' pass deep in Trine territory. On Trine's first play, Hargraves found Ja Vontae Hence (Elkhart, Ind./Concord) wide open down the middle of the field and he was off to the races for a 71 yard touchdown.
Trine's defense stepped up once again as they forced a three and out by the Hornets as they were unable to gain a single yard on the possession. A block in the back during the punt pushed the Thunder all the back to their own four yard line to start their drive. The offense slowly chipped away at the Hornets defense until once again, Hargraves found Hence wide open down the middle of the field as he ran into the end zone for the 58 yard touchdown.
The Thunder offense stumbled on their next possession as they were forced three and out. The Hornets were able to take advantage as they connected on a 28 yard touchdown pass to pull within two scores. The Thunder looked as if they would score right before the end of the half as they were marching down field. The Hornets were called for a face masking penalty, but it forced the Thunder to attempt a field goal. However, the Tyler Keck kick was wide left as Trine led by two touchdowns at the half.
It wasn't a good start to the second half for the Thunder. As they were driving down field Hargraves pass in the end zone was intercepted by Adam Powers. On the ensuing possession, Trine forced the Hornets to punt on a three and out giving them the ball back in Kalamazoo territory. Trine drove just 43 yard, capped off by Michael Inge (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills North) plowing his way through the Hornets defense for the 10 yard score.
Trine had the first possession of the fourth quarter, but were unable to get the offense going as they were forced to punt. Punter Nicholas Muir (Edwardsburg, Mich./Edwardsburg) boomed the ball 65 yards pinning the Hornets down at their own three yard line. The punt by Muir was the longest kick by a Trine punter since Nate Fitzsimmons also boomed a 65 yarder against the same Hornets in 2007.
Backed up to their end zone, the Hornets had their longest drive of the day as they went all 97 yards in 13 plays, capped off by a three yard run to pull the Hornets within two scores again.
Trine would be forced to punt the ball back to the Hornets as Hargraves was again sacked on third down giving the Hornets a chance to pull within a touchdown. Kalamazoo looked to be driving as they made it into the Trine red zone. With first down on the Trine 16, the Thunder defense stepped up forcing two incomplete passes before Kyle Sherwood (Hanover, Mich./Hanover Horton) and Brock Reinig (Leo, Ind./Leo) came up with a big sack on fourth down giving the ball back to the Thunder.
Trine would convert on third down as Hargraves found Jeff Harbrecht (Lowell, Ind./Lowell) for 32 yards and the first down. The Thunder were unable to run out the clock as they were forced to punt the ball back to the Hornets with just 37 seconds left, as the Hornets were only able to run two plays.
Hargraves finished the day going 15-of-19 for 282 yards and three touchdowns. Hargraves also ran the ball for a team-high 14 times for 54 yards. Inge led the Thunder with 57 yards on the ground. Hence led all receivers with 162 yards on six catches and two scores. Collins finished the afternoon with four catches for 51 yards.
Blaek Combs (Rushville, Ind./Rushville) led the defense with eight tackles (three solo). Tyson Kaase (Syracuse, Ind./Wawasee) added in seven tackles (six solo). Ryan Hogan (Vine Gove, Ky./Meade County) and Aaron Wolf (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) each recorded a solo sack.
Trine will wrap-up their season as they travel to Albion College, who has already secured the MIAA crown, on November 12 for a 1:00 p.m. game.