OLIVET, Mich. – The Olivet College football team improved to 3-0 on the season with a 34-7 over Rockford (Ill.) University this afternoon at the Cutler Athletic Complex. The 3-0 is the best start to a season since 2004 when the Comets also had a 3-0 record.
Neither team generated much offense in the first quarter, as the Regents had two first downs and 59 yards and Olivet had three first downs and 50 yards. The defensive struggle continued into the second quarter. The Comets finally broke through on their second possession of the quarter.
Freshman Javon Moore (Lansing/Everett) capped an eight-play, 48-drive with a 3-yard run into the end zone. Senior Anthony Edwards (Clarksville/Lakewood) made the PAT kick. Olivet stopped Rockford on its last drive of the half to take a 7-0 lead at the break.
The Comets forced the Regents to punt on their first series of the second half. After an incomplete pass on first down, sophomore Braden Black (Battle Creek/Harper Creek) connected with sophomore Jason Barbosa (Trenton) for an 80-yard touchdown. The PAT kick was good, and Olivet led 14-0 with 7:11 left in the third quarter.
Sophomore Beau Langs (Climax/Climax-Scotts) intercepted passes on back-to-back Rockford possessions. The Comet offense took advantage of the second one, as it needed only six plays to cover 70 yards to score a touchdown. Moore ended the drive with a 5-yard scamper into the end zone.
The Regents lost yards on three straight plays, including on fourth down when the punter was brought down on a high snap. On Olivet's second play from scrimmage, Black threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Kyle Bryson (Rives Junction/Leslie). Edwards made the PAT kick to make the score 28-0.
The Comets ended their scoring with 5:41 left in the game when sophomore Chance Nightingale (Colon/Mendon) snuck in from six yards out. Rockford used an eight-play, 68-yard drive to score its only touchdown with 1:42 remaining in the contest.
Olivet pounded out 427 yards of offense. Black threw for 262 yards on 18-of-27 passing. Barbosa caught six passes for 137 yards. Nightingale led the ground game with seven rushes for 74 yards. Freshman Alante Sims (Lansing/Waverly) rushed 11 times for 42 yards.
The Comets' defense was led by sophomore Curtis French (Carleton/Airport) who had eight total tackles, with two for minus 11 yards. Langs finished with seven tackles, two interceptions and two pass break-ups. Sophomore Ryan Sersaw (Clare) recorded six tackles.
The Regents had 274 yards of offense, 78 on the ground and 196 threw the air. Aabed Nekrawesh was 19-of-37 for 132 yards. He also led their ground attack with 59 yards on eight carries. Delroy Russell was the leading receiver with seven catches for 74 yards. Defensively, Reginald Haynes topped the team with 10 tackles, including seven solo stops.
Olivet wraps-up the non-conference portion of its schedule next Saturday when it travels to play North Park (Ill.) University. Game time is set for 2 p.m. EST/1 p.m. CT.