ANDERSON, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology moved into a tie for first place in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference football standings with a 42-14 victory at Anderson University on Saturday afternoon.
The win, combined with a 24-17 upset victory by Bluffton over No. 9 ranked Franklin, puts Rose-Hulman into a first place tie in the HCAC entering the final week of the season.
The Fightin' Engineers can claim at least a share of their first conference championship since 1988 with a win at Earlham next weekend. Rose-Hulman can earn its first ever trip to the NCAA Division III playoffs with a win at Earlham and a loss by Franklin at Hanover next weekend.
Rose-Hulman gained 588 yards of total offense for the third-most single-game yards in program history to rattle off 42 consecutive points and secure their first winning season since the 2010 campaign.
Senior quarterback Ryan Landwehr (Tipp City, Ohio/Tippecanoe) led the Rose-Hulman offense with two passing and two rushing touchdowns. Landwehr finished 26-39 through the air for 309 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 67 yards and two more scores.
Senior Danya Francis (Kissimmee, Fla./Celebration) balanced the attack with 72 rushing yards and one touchdown. Junior Greg Lee (Christiansburg, Va.) added a 69-yard touchdown reception and also scored on a 10-yard rushing touchdown.
Freshman Alec Fisher (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) led the receivers with eight receptions for 73 yards. Freshman Sterling Mitchell (Indianapolis/Brebeuf) added six catches for 70 yards and one tocuchdowns, and senior Connor Gerhart (La Mesa, Calif./La Jolla Country Day) added four catches for 44 yards. Graduate student Kris Geyer-Roberts (Plantation, Fla./Nova) and junior Zac Erba (Winona Lake/Warsaw) had three receptions each.
Defensively, senior Dean Griffing (Plano, Ill./Aurora Christian) paced Rose-Hulman with 10 tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss and two sacks. Senior Cody Rivers (Coconut Creek, Fla./Monarch) added 10 assisted tackles and one interception. Senior Craig Voges (Huntingburg/Forest Park) had nine tackles and one forced fumble, and senior Chad Compton (Lafayette/McCutcheon) also had an interception for the defense.
Anderson jumped out to a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, courtesy of a 69-yard touchdown run by Johnel Wortham and a three-yard scoring pass from Brady Cavinee to Zack Moe.
Rose-Hulman answered with two touchdowns to knot the score at 14-14. Landwehr scored from one yard out to cap a 14-play drive with 8:55 left in the first half to bring the Engineers within 14-7. A three-yard touchdown by Francis with 2:55 left in the first half capped another 14-play drive, and senior Matt Angel (Cassville, Mo.) tied the score with the extra point.
The game changed momentum on the final four plays of the first half. Rose-Hulman relied on a strong defensive goal line stand to force a fourth-and-goal on the one-yard line in the final seconds of the half. The Ravens decided to attempt a field goal to gain the lead, but the 19-yard attempt was missed to keep the score tied at 14-14.
Three plays later, on the last play of the first half, Landwehr connected with Lee on a 68-yard touchdown pass to give Rose-Hulman a 20-14 lead at the intermission.
The Engineers continued the strong balanced effort with seven points in the third quarter and 15 in the fourth as part of a 22-0 shutout in the second half. Lee scored from 10 yards midway through the third quarter, then Landwehr connected with Mitchell on a 31-yard scoring strike with 13:23 left in the fourth quarter.
The final score of the day capped another 10-play drive and ended on a one-yard scoring plunge by Landwehr with 5:18 remaining.
Rose-Hulman improved to 6-3 overall and 6-1 in league play, while Anderson dropped to 0-9 and 0-7 in conference games. The Fightin' Engineers will compete for the Battle of the Borders Broadsword at Earlham next weekend.