Second half rally sends Kalamazoo past Manchester
NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Manchester University managed nearly 400 yards of total offense, but visiting Kalamazoo College reeled off 24 unanswered points from the late stages of the first half through the early portion of the fourth quarter to gain a 31-21 non-conference win at Carl W. Burt Memorial Field Saturday, Sept. 14.
Senior quarterback Nick Williams (Fort Wayne, Ind.) lifted the offense through the air and on the ground. He threw for 261 yards and ran for 74 more for 335 yards of total offense. He also figured in all three Spartan scores, rushing in for a pair of one-yard scores and flipping a rollout pass to junior running back Alex Stock (Indianapolis, Ind.) for a third one-yard touchdown.
Williams' first rushing score concluded a 12-play, 66-yard drive off the opening kickoff for a quick 7-0 home team lead. The Black and Gold defense kept the Hornets' offense off the board for a large share of the first half, sparked by an end zone interception from senior linebacker Zach Dashner (South Bend, Ind.) and two three-and-out stands. However, the visitors rallied by playing the field position game.
After Manchester University defense stopped Kalamazoo on the Spartan 36 to force a punt, the home side got pinned on its own 10-yard line. A penalty killed a potential first down, forcing a Spartan punt from its own five. Kalamazoo took over at MU's 43 and pieced together an eight-play scoring drive to tie the game at 7-7. MU responded on its ensuing possession, going 75 yards in 10 plays with Williams' lob to Stock making it 14-7 with just over 30 seconds left. From there, the Hornets' run began just that way with sophomore running back Elijah Hamilton-Wray breaking away from a pile and rambling 57 yards for a score in the final seconds of the half.
Kzoo's defense turned the tables on the Spartans' offense in the third quarter, forcing two three and outs to bolster a 10-0 advantage on the scoreboard. The home team did pick up two first downs but couldn't convert either drive, while the visitors hit a field goal and marched 70 yards in six plays for a touchdown to make it 24-14. The Hornets got their final scoring drive started to begin the fourth quarter and went 88 yards in nine plays for paydirt and a 31-14 lead. Manchester University answered right back, going 64 yards in six plays with Williams diving in from a yard out to make it 31-21. The Spartans worked their way deep into Hornets' territory two more times, bringing the home crowd to its feet. An interception and a blocked field goal stalled each opportunity.
Freshman wide receiver Dakota Nelson (Fairfield, Ind.) led the Black and Gold's receiving corps with eight receptions for 120 yards. On the defensive side of the equation, senior linebacker Dylin Kennedy (North Manchester, Ind.) had another sparkling effort with 14.5 tackles, while Dashner added an interception and sack to eight tackles, and sophomore nose tackle Michael Hammer (Remington, Ind.) also earned a sack.
Kalamazoo signal caller Justin Danzy was equally as impressive as Williams. The sophomore threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns, completing 28-of-42 attempts. His favorite target was senior wide receiver Josh Wise who hauled in 11 receptions for 111 yards.
Manchester University begins the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference portion of its schedule Saturday, Sept. 21. The Spartans (0-2) travel to Franklin to take on the Grizzlies in a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.