The unbeaten Hope football team charged past Wisconsin Lutheran in the second half Saturday to claim a 37-7 win at Ray & Sue Smith Stadium.
The Flying Dutchmen, who improved to 3-0 overall, scored 34 points after halftime, including 26 in the third quarter alone.
The Hope defense did not yield a point as they forced 10 punts and three turnovers. Wisconsin Lutheran (0-3) only scored on a 65-yard interception return for a touchdown during the second quarter.
Linebacker Cody Lindemulder of Lake Odessa (Lakewood HS) led a swarming Hope defense with 8 ½ tackles, including 2 ½ for loss. He had one sack and one quarterback hurry.
Senior quarterback Michael Atwell of Geneseo, Ill. (Geneseo HS), completed 22-of-46 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns.
Atwell gave Hope the lead for good when he led a 6-play, 48-yard scoring drive that resulted in a 4-yard touchdown strike to junior receiver Taylor Brynaert of Washington, Mich. (Romeo HS). The Flying Dutchmen took possession near midfield after Wisconsin Lutheran's bad punt snap resulted in a Hope safety. Atwell's two-point conversion pass to sophomore tight endJake Helm of Holland (Holland HS) put the Flying Dutchmen ahead 13-7.
Atwell then connected with sophomore Matt Kroll and Helm for touchdowns of 33 and 16, yards, respectively. Senior running back Shawn Jackson of Comstock Park (Comstock Park HS) ran in the 2-point conversion after Kroll's score, while senior Vincent Boddy of West Bloomfield (West Bloomfield HS) caught a 2-point pass from Atwell after Helm's touchdown.
Hope led 29-7 at the end of the third quarter after trailing 7-3 at halftime.
Jackson closed the scoring with a 25-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter. Senior kicker Evan Finch of Ann Arbor (Pioneer HS) ran in the 2-point conversion after Wisconsin Lutheran blocked his PAT. Finch's conversion kept his consecutive PAT streak from ending at 28 — four shy of the school record.
Jackson rushed for a game-high 120 yards on 24 carries.
The 3-0 start is the best one for Hope since 1984, when the Flying Dutchmen posted a 9-0 regular season. Hope began the 1990 season 4-0-1 with a tie in its second game.
Hope closes nonleague play at Illinois Wesleyan on Saturday, Sept. 28.