Manchester University takes its final road trip of the 2013 season Saturday, Nov. 9. The Spartans (2-6 overall, 2-4 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) face off with Hanover College.
Game specifics: Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. at L.S. Ayres Field on Hanover College's campus … Live statistics, audio and video are accessible for the contest at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics … The Panthers lead the all-time series 56-14, but MU claimed a 35-34 win a year ago in North Manchester. Their last series' road victory came in 2009, part of a recent span where the two sides have split the last four decisions.
Spartan Shorts: Junior running back Austin Adams (Dowagiac, Mich.), senior quarterback Nick Williams (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and senior linebacker Dylin Kennedy (North Manchester, Ind.) continue their stays on the HCAC's top five statistical charts. Adams is tied for fourth in rushing touchdowns (five) along with Williams, part of a season in which the backfield duo has combined for more than 700 of the team's 1008 rushing yards. Kennedy, the defensive unit's leader in tackles throughout 2013, is fifth in tackles per game (9.6). His total numbers, going into the weekend, stand at an impressive 61 solo and 16 assisted tackles for 69 total. His 7.5 tackles for losses are also first … The Spartans have top 10 recognition on the NCAA Division III statistics' charts, too. Kennedy is fourth in solo tackles per game (7.6), while freshman return specialist/wide receiver Dakota Nelson (Fairfield, Ind.) is third in punt return yardage (20.6 ypr) and sixth in punt return touchdowns (one). Senior linebacker Zach Dashner (South Bend, Ind.), whose five interceptions lead the Spartans, is 10th nationally in interceptions per game (.6), a mark that is also atop the conference. Team-wise, MU's 20.5 yards per return are third-best, and their 3.75 penalties per game are fourth-lowest in Division III. Another interesting note from the national statistics sheet is that Manchester University is one of 116 programs to not have surrendered a blocked punt this season … A trio of Spartans is closing in on personal milestones. Williams stands 25 passing yards shy of back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns, while Nelson is only seven receptions short of 50. Kennedy is just 17 tackles from 200 for his career. … Nelson hasn't been the only newcomer of note on MU's roster this season. The defensive backfield has benefitted from the contributions of first-year players Jarvis Mitchell (South Bend, Ind.) and Nathan Birk (Indianapolis, Ind.). They both rank in the top 10 in tackles, while Birk and linebacker Jordan Kleber (Seymour, Ind.), another freshman adding to the mix, are two of five players registering interceptions to date. On offense, wide receiver Matt Wirick (Granger, Ind.) is among the top five in receptions.
Season Finale: Anderson University visits Carl W. Burt Memorial Field for the annual renewal of the Bronze Ball series Saturday, Nov. 16.