ELMHURST, Ill. - It was unfamiliar territory for the Trine University football team as their non-conference regular season win streak was snapped at 10 games, falling to Elmhurst College 31-13. The Thunder's record now stands at 1-1 on the year.
The Thunder looked impressive on their opening drive as they marched down the field 75 yards eating up 8:46 off the clock. It took Trine 17 plays but senior quarterback Ryan Hargraves (Taylor, Mich./Truman) found sophomore tight end Zach Hess (Eagle, Mich./Grand Ledge) in the end zone from 10 yards out for Hess' first career score.
The Blue Jays would match the Thunder, also going 75 yards in 7:17 and using 17 plays to tie the game.
After Trine went three-and-out on their next possession, the Thunder defense was able to hold the line on a fourth and one. Trine would be unable to use the short field to their advantage and had to punt. Elmhurst would drive down the field in just nine plays to tack on a 36-yard field goal and would never relinquish the lead.
Hargraves would throw in interception with under two minutes to go in the half giving the Blue Jays the ball at their own 40. Elmhurst would recover their own fumble in the end zone for the touchdown with just 14 seconds left in the half to lead 17-7 at the break.
The second half would start just like the first half with Elmhurst driving down the field first, scoring on a 15-yard run. Trine would answer back driving 75 yards, capped off by senior Mike Inge (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Northern) from three yards out for the score.
The Trine momentum couldn't be held as the Blue Jays would answer right back, this time driving 75 yards on 11 plays, scoring on a 15-yard pass from Joe Furco to Ryan Maguire.
Trine would have their opportunity to close the gap as they were driving into the Elmhurst red-zone early in the fourth. With the ball at the Blue Jays three yard line, Hargraves would be knocked down and stripped of the ball, allowing Elmhurst to recover. Trine's final chance to score would come late in the quarter, but Hargraves would throw his second interception of the game with the ball at their own 38. Trine would not get another opportunity as the Blue Jays were able to run out the clock.
Hargraves has a solid all-around game, completing 16-22 passes for 165 yards. Hargraves also led the Thunder on the ground rushing for 90 yards on 12 attempts. Sophomore Jared Barton (Middleton, Mich./Fulton) finished the afternoon with 81 yards on 20 carries. Senior JaVontae Hence (Elkhart, Ind./Concord) was the only Trine receiver to catch more than one pass, going for 82 yards on nine catches.
Sophomore Tyler Guzy (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater) led the Thunder defense with 13 tackles (10 solo) and recorded one of Trine's two sacks.
Elmhurst's Scottie Williams finished with 229 rushing yards, while the Blue Jays compiled 319 total yards on the ground. It was the most rushing yard the Trine defense has allowed in a game since November 27, 2010 when Wisconsin-Whitewater ran for 324 during a playoff game and the most in a regular season game since MacMurray also rushed for 319 yards on September 17, 2005.
Trine's last regular season non-conference loss also came on the road on September 26, 2009 to Franklin College.
Trine will look to get back to their winning ways when they travel to Concordia (WI) on September 15 for a 2:00 p.m. (est) game as a part of the MIAA/NAC Challenge.