ANGOLA, Ind. - Trine University senior Richard Gunn (Ashley, Ind./Penn) took the football team on his back late in the 4th quarter, leading them to a come-from-behind win over No. 21 Elmhurst College 16-7 in the Thunder's home opener. It was Trine's seventh straight home opening win as they improve to 2-0 on the season.
Trine, who received two votes in the most recent D3football.com poll, used four interceptions, three of which came on the final three Elmhurst possessions to get the go-ahead field goal and a 15-yard score from Gunn.
Elmhurst's lone score came with 3:10 left in the first quarter as an offensive lineman got a rare touchdown as he recovered their own fumble in the end zone.
The Thunder struggled early on as they lost a fumble as the first quarter ended and missed a field goal on their opening drive of the second. Senior Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) would come through for the Thunder late connecting from 34 and 24 yards. After the first Keck field goal, the Thunder would intercept the Bluejays for the first time with 1:18 remaining in the half by junior Tyler Guzy (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater) giving Keck his second opportunity to split the uprights.
In the third, neither team was able to put points on the scoreboard, but the Thunder headed into the fourth quarter driving into Elmhurst territory. Trine would go all the way down to the Bluejays 5-yard-line, but the Thunder would fumble and Elmhurst recovered at their own 2-yard-line.
Trine's defense would then make their push as on the fourth play of the Elmhurst ensuing drive, senior Blaek Combs (Rushville, Ind./Rushville Consolidate) would pick off the Bluejays pass and return it to the Elmhurst 34. Trine would get into the red zone and take the lead 9-7 on a 20-yard Keck field goal.
On Elmhurst's following possession, the Thunder would again come up big defensively as senior Tony Miranda (Goshen, Ind./NorthWood) picked off a pass for the second straight game as the Bluejays were driving into Trine territory. Trine would give it to Gunn on four straight plays as he went for a 45-yard run and then two plays later plowed into the end zone from 15-yards outs for his first touchdown of the season with 1:38 left to play.
Now leading 16-7, Trine would put the game away on the fifth play of the Elmhurst drive as Guzy picked off his second pass of the day with 47 seconds left in the game to give the Thunder the victory.
Gunn finished the afternoon with 129 yards on 18 rushing attempts and junior Austin Shoemaker (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) added 71 yards on 14 touches. Junior Anthony Yoder (Goshen, Ind./Concord) connected on 9-of-17 from the pocket for 89 yards and scrambled nine times for 48 yards. Fellow junior Andrew Dee (McComb, Ohio/McComb) came on to play the final two quarters and finished with 45 yards on 5-of-8 passing. Sophomore Gage Corner (Leo, Ind./Leo) led all receivers with six catches for 64 yards.
Senior Derek Posey (Newark, Ohio/Utica) led the Thunder defense with 13 tackles (eight solo) on the day. Combs added 11 tackles (eight solo) and a forced fumble to go along with his interception.
Trine's defense held the Bluejays to just 127 yards on the ground after they had run for 302 in their first game. The four interceptions by the Thunder tied for third most in program history and were the most since they also picked off four at Alma on November 15, 2011.
The Thunder improve their all-time home opener record to 14-5 in the programs history.
Trine now turns their attention to Concordia (WI) whom they host in the MIAA/NACC Challenge on Sept. 21 at 1 p.m.