Quarterback Mason Opple kept his options to himself on a blustery and chilly night at Smith Stadium.
The junior from Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville HS) made all the right moves and had one big weekend for the Hope College football team.
Led by a record-setting Opple, the Flying Dutchmen held off Olivet College for a 35-30 homecoming victory that kept Hope one game out of first place in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association standings with three games left.
Opple rushed for a career-high 244 yards on a career-high 27 carries and figured in directly in four of the Flying Dutchmen's five touchdowns. He ran for more yards than any quarterback in Hope College history — surpassing Joe Schwander's 2005 effort of 209 yards against Alma College.
Entering Week 8 of the 2018 NCAA Division III football season, only three other Division III quarterbacks had rushed for more yards in a game than Opple this season.
Opple cut through the 20-mile per hour winds and the Comets in a variety of ways. He kept the ball on option plays on the win. He called draws and headed up field. He lowered his shoulder and spun nimble around defenders for extra yards.
Head coach Peter Stuursma praised Opple's ability to excel despite a challenging opponent and playing conditions.
"He wants the ball in his hands when it counts, when it matters. I kept saying, 'Keep putting the ball in his hands,'" Stuursma said. "He kept his composure. He kept us in the game. He kept us in the hunt and just gave us a chance to win."