HOLLAND, Mich. - After their bye week, the Trine University football team put up their biggest offensive effort in nearly two years and avenging a conference loss from a season ago, defeating Hope 45-28. The Thunder are now 5-3 on the season and 3-1 in the MIAA.
The Thunder caught the Hope return team off-guard to start the game, using a short kick, which the Thunder recovered to start the game. Just five plays later senior Ryan Hargraves (Taylor, Mich./Truman) would find sophomore Zach Hess (Eagle, Mich./Grand Ledge) from 12 yards out for the score.
Hope would answer back on their ensuing drive, converting on a 40-yard field goal.
Trine would then return with an answer of their own with an 8-play, 75-yard drive as junior Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) converted on his ninth straight field goal, scoring from 22 yards out. The scoring would continue, as Hope would answer back again, this time scoring a touchdown on a 13-yard pass to tie the game at 10-10.
Senior JaVontae Hence (Elkhart, Ind./Concord) gave the Thunder good field position with a 47-yard kick return on the ensuing kickoff as the first quarter came to a close.
On the first play of the second quarter, Hargraves would find sophomore Anthony Yoder (Goshen, Ind./Concord) open for a 20-yard touchdown as the Thunder would again take the lead. As the scoring continued, Hope would again answer with a field goal, this time from 32 yards.
However this time on the ensuing kickoff, Hence would take the return all the way to the house, going 82 yards for his first score on a kickoff this season. Once again though, Hope would have an answer, converting again on a field goal from 28 yards.
The scoring marathon would end when Keck's 31-yard field goal attempt was blocked. Hope however had other things in mind as they used the turnover to their advantage scoring on a 35-yard pass just before the half. The two-point conversion was no good as the Thunder led 24-22 at the break.
Trine would start the second half just as they did the first. A 24-yard pass from Hargraves to Yoder would setup Hargraves to scramble in from 3 yards out to put the Thunder up by nine.
Both offenses would finally be slowed down as the defenses stepped up in the third quarter. Hope was forced to punt on their next possession, then Hargraves would be intercepted deep in Trine territory. Hope would then drive all the way down to the 1-yard-line, but the Thunder defense stepped up big. On third and fourth downs the Thunder defense stopped the run on both plays to turn the ball over.
With the ball at the 1-yard-line, Hargraves would run twice to get the Thunder breathing room. On the first play to start the fourth quarter, Hargraves would find Hence down the left side of the field as Hence was off to the races, scoring on a school record 93-yard touchdown pass.
On Hope's first play from scrimmage, sophomore Cory Peart (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Western) would intercept the Michael Atwell pass deep in Trine territory. However, fortunes would reverse as Hargraves would throw his second interception of the game inside the Hope 20-yard-line. Hope would need just three plays to score from there, as again the two-point conversion would be no good as senior Myron Puryear (Canton, Mich./Plymouth) picked off the pass.
Trine would put the game away on the following procession as the Thunder ground attack took over. Trine ran the ball nine of their 10 plays as sophomore Austin Shoemaker (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) earned his first collegiate touchdown as he ran in 5 yards out to cap the 54-yard drive.
The Trine defense would again step-up as they forced the Flying Dutchmen to turn the ball over twice on downs, allowing just one first down over the final 12 plays, recording three sacks, including one on the final play of the game.
It was a game of career- and season-bests for the Thunder offense as they accumulated 518 yards of offense for the day and 24 first downs. The 45 points scored by the Thunder was the most since they also scored 45 in their playoff win over DePauw on November 20, 2010. It was also the most points that Trine has scored in their 10 all-time meetings with Hope, in which Trine is now 4-6.
Hargraves finished the day with a season-high 302 yards through the air, completing 19-of-25 and three scores. Hargraves also ran for 26 yards and a touchdown. Shoemaker finished his career day with 25 carries for 151 yards. Hence also finished the day with a career-best 175 yards receiving on nine catches while also having a solid day in the return game, with two returns for 129 yards.
The junior trio of Caleb Nitz (Baroda, Mich./Lakeshore), Derek Posey (Newark, Ohio/Utica) and Blaek Combs (Rushville, Ind./Rushville Consolidate) led the Trine defense with nine tackles each. Seven of Posey's tackles were solo stops while Nitz recorded two tackles for loss and Combs recorded one. Freshman Charles Dreessen (Walkerton, Ind./John Glenn) recorded a game-high 1.5 sacks.
Trine returns home to host Olivet on November 3 for a 1:00 p.m. game.