Turnovers thwart Manchester University in HCAC road test
DEFIANCE, OHIO – Manchester University's defense held Defiance College to less than 400 yards and forced four turnovers Saturday, Oct. 12. However, those totals didn't translate to a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference win, as the Spartan offense turned the ball over four times itself in a 27-12 loss to the Yellowjackets.
Freshman cornerback Nathan Birk (Indianapolis, Ind.) led the Black and Gold with seven solo tackles and one of two interceptions. Senior linebacker Zach Dashner (South Bend, Ind.) was close behind in total tackles (6.5) and also recovered a fumble. Senior defensive back Max Jones (Anderson, Ind.) and sophomore defensive back Taylor Anglemeyer (Wakarusa, Ind.) also finished with five-or-more tackles.
Defiance (3-3 overall, 3-1 HCAC) started fast, taking advantage of an interception and fumble on two of MU's first four plays in the first quarter. A five-play and nine-play scoring drive later Defiance held a 14-0 lead less than eight minutes in.
Manchester University (1-5 overall, 1-3 HCAC) battled back in the second frame. A drive to DC's five-yard line was stopped short on a fourth down run, but two possessions later, junior linebacker Evan West (Hartford City, Ind.) ended a Defiance march into Spartans' territory with an interception. Starting from its own 41, the Black and Gold used the legs and arm of sophomore quarterback Logan Haston (Avon, Ind.) to reach the end zone. Haston scrambled 25 yards, benefitted from a pass interference penalty and then hit freshman wide receiver Dakota Nelson (Fairfield, Ind.) for a 28-yard touchdown pass, trimming the margin to 14-6 at halftime.
The Spartans began the second half on the verge of closing the gap or possibly tying the game. After a long return by Nelson off a Defiance College punt, MU was set up inside their hosts' 40-yard line. However, a fourth down pass went awry, and the Yellowjackets took off on a 64-yard scoring drive, fueled by the rushing of freshman running back Lawrence Austin that included a 30-yard burst on a fourth and one call, to go up 20-6.
Defiance extended the lead to 27-6 before holding on for the final score. The Spartans had more opportunities down the stretch but a missed field goal and two interceptions turned them away. Haston and Nelson connected for a second touchdown pass, this time from six yards out in the waning moments, to put Manchester University's final points on the board.
Haston guided the offense with 128 yards passing and 71 yards rushing. Nelson was his top target through the air with seven catches for 55 yards and the two scores.
MU continues conference play Saturday, Oct. 19, with a trip to Earlham College in Richmond, Ind. Kickoff is 2:30 p.m. inside Darrell Beane Stadium.