ANGOLA, IND.-- A consistent effort on both sides of the ball led Trine to a 28-14 victory over Millikin in the home-opener for the Thunder Saturday afternoon at Shive Field and Fred Zollner Athletic Stadium.
Taylor Masiewicz (Belmont, Mich./Rockford) accounted for four total touchdowns to lead the Thunder offense. Masiewicz completed 31-of-41 passes for 317 yards and three touchdowns, and also rushed for 48 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. His 31 completions were the second-most in a game in Trine history. The Thunder defense got off the field in numerous key situations, holding Millikin to 5-of-15 (33 percent) on third down and just 1-of-6 (17 percent) on fourth-down opportunities. That effort helped keep an offense that scored 66 points last week in check. Michael Spears (Kendallville, Ind./East Noble) led all Trine tacklers with 12 stops. Trine improves to 1-1 on the season. Millikin falls to 1-1.
Masiewicz spread the ball around effectively to eight different receivers. Gage Corner (Leo, Ind./Leo) caught a team-high 10 passes for 95 yards. Anthony Yoder (Goshen, Ind./Concord) came through as a big-play target, catching seven passes for 78 yards and a career-high two touchdowns. Frant Petitpapa (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Archbishop McCarthy) also hauled in a touchdown pass for the Thunder.
Trine struck first after a fake punt for a fourth-down conversion kept a drive alive. On the ensuing play, Masiewicz hit Petitpapa for the 43-yard score and a 7-0 Thunder lead.
Millikin threatened early in the second quarter, entering the red zone at first down from the Trine 19. The Thunder defense was able to stand tall and force a missed field goal.
The Thunder went on the march again midway through the second quarter. A key penalty on a third down and goal gave Trine a new set of downs inside the five. Masiewicz made the Big Blue pay for the mistake, hitting Yoder for his first TD catch of the game on a slant from six yards out. The extra-point gave the Thunder a 14-0 advantage.
Millikin was able to come back and cut into the Trine lead before half. Nick Pippin capped an 11-play, 81-yard drive with a 24-yard touchdown toss to Taylor Sanders to cut the score to 14-7. Sanders caught seven passes for 106 yards and the TD.
Masiewicz dialed up Yoder again to cap Trine's first possession of the second half with a 22-yard score. That restored a two-touchdown advantage for the Thunder.
The Thunder defense rose to the occasion on the ensuing possession, coming up with a big goal line stand. Ryan Hogan (Vine Grove, Ky./Meade County) and Taylor James (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) combined for the fourth-down stuff at the goal line after Millikin had first-and-goal at the seven. Hogan had eight tackles, including one sack. James made eight stops for the TU defense.
Millikin cut the game to one score again early in the fourth quarter. Pippin found Tucker Schwengel for a 10-yard score. Pippin finished 21-of-39 for 239 yards and two scores. He also rushed for 75 yards on 13 carries.
The Trine offense had the response, mounting a 12-play 90-yard drive to answer. Masiewicz completed 7-of-8 passes for 72 yards on the drive, and capped it with an eight-yard keeper to restore a 28-14 advantage.
The Thunder defense held on from there to preserve the victory.
Trine will travel to Rockford next week for a non-conference matchup. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. CST.