Big Plays Help Thunder Dominate Comets
ANGOLA, Ind. - On a day in which they dominated the football field 49-21 over Olivet College, the Trine University squad would be eliminated from the chance to earn a share of the conference crown as Adrian defeating Albion.
After the Thunder (6-3, 4-1 MIAA) forced Olivet to turn the ball over on downs on their first possession, Trine would drive 78 yards in just seven plays as sophomore Austin Shoemaker (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) pounded the ball in from 1-yard out.
Olivet would answer back as they used a 63-yard kickoff return to setup a 3-play drive to tie the game.
After both teams punted on their next possession, Trine would take six minutes off the clock, driving nearly the entire length of the field, 93 yards to hit pay dirt. It would again be Shoemaker scoring from 3 yards out to cap the 13-play drive for the Thunder.
On the Comets ensuing possession, as they were attempting to punt, the Olivet center snapped the ball high over the punters head as junior Blaek Combs (Rushville, Ind./Rushville Consolidate) recovered the ball in the end zone for the touchdown as Trine led 21-7 at the half.
Trine wouldn't waste any time coming out of the break as senior Ryan Hargraves (Taylor, Mich./Truman) connected with fellow senior JaVontae Hence (Elkhart, Ind./Concord) on the second play from scrimmage for a 42-yard touchdown. Olivet would answer right back though, scoring on a 1-yard run by Tyre Alexander.
Not to be out-done, the Thunder would march right down the field just 3 minutes later as Hargraves scrambled from 12 yards out for the score.
After the Trine defense forced the Comets to go three-and-out, the Thunder would use just 2:47 off the clock as Hargraves found Shoemaker who eluded defenders for a 28-yard score with just 10 seconds left in the quarter.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Thunder defense would come up big once again. As the Comets went back to punt, four Trine defenders broke through the Olivet offensive line as Combs again made a big play, blocking the kick as freshman Charles Dreessen (Walkerton, Ind./John Glenn) recovered the ball, returning it 24 yards for the score.
Olivet would add one more score with 2:05 left in the game on a 4-yard run by Alexander.
The Thunder racked up just 30 more yards of total offense than Olivet (350-320), but it was Trine's big-play ability that made the difference. Trine scored on all but two of their possessions, of which one came late in the game as the Thunder were trying to run out the clock. The Comets also had the ball longer (35:11-24:49) and gained more first downs (24-17).
Hargraves finished the day completing 10-12 through the air for 176 yards and two scores, as the offensive line didn't allow a sack on the afternoon. Hargraves also scrambled six times for 55 yards and a score. For the second straight game Shoemaker led the Thunder ground attack with 61 yards on 15 carries and reaching the end zone twice. Hence led all receivers with three catches for 101 yards.
Leading the way for the Trine defense was sophomore Tyler Guzy (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater) and junior Caleb Nitz (Baroda, Mich./Lakeshore) with a game-high nine tackles each.
Trine will conclude their season at home as they celebrate Senior Day on November 10 when they host Alma at 1:00 p.m.