RICHMOND, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology captured its first football conference championship since 1988 with a 53-15 victory over Earlham College on Saturday afternoon.
The Fightin' Engineers shared HCAC championship honors with nationally ranked Franklin College by finishing 7-1 during the conference schedule. Franklin will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs by virtue of its head-to-head victory over Rose-Hulman during conference play.
The 2013 Rose-Hulman team joins squads from 1953, 1957, 1958, 1974, 1975, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1986, and 1988 as a football conference championship team. The effort marks the 11th conference championship in the 119-year history of Fightin' Engineer football.
Rose-Hulman also finished with an overall record of 7-3 to match the most wins in a season since 1988. The 1988 squad won the most recent title as a member of the College Athletic Conference.
The Fightin' Engineers also reclaimed the Battle of the Borders Broadsword for the 12th consecutive meeting. Rose-Hulman and Earlham have battled for the broadsword since 2001, which represents the Western (Rose-Hulman) and Eastern (Earlham) borders of Indiana.
Individually, senior Ryan Landwehr (Tipp City, Ohio/Tippecanoe Valley) tied two single-game school records on the afternoon. He finished 23-30 for 229 yards and five passing touchdowns to tie the single-game passing touchdowns mark set by Jason Duff against Washington University from 1987.
Landwehr also rushed for 59 yards and two touchdowns to tie the single-game school record for touchdowns responsible for in a game with seven, tying the mark set in 1943 by Eddie McGovern.
Senior Danya Francis (Kissimmee, Fla./Celebration) crossed the 100-yard mark in his final college game, gaining 107 yards on 23 carries with one touchdown. Four receivers combined for 18 receptions as part of a balanced offensive attack.
Rose-Hulman gained 475 yards on the afternoon. Landwehr set a single-season record with 2,915 yards of total offense and the Fightin' Engineers gained over 4,100 yards for the second-most yards of total offense in a season in school history.
Defensively, senior Craig Voges (Huntingburg/Forest Park) led Rose-Hulman with 10 tackles. Freshman Kevin Nowak (Naperville, Ill./Central) snagged two interceptions, and senior T.J. Chin (Morehead, Ky./Rowan County) also contributed eight tackles to the effort.
Rose-Hulman took a 6-0 lead on its second possession of the game. The Fightin' Engineers marched 92 yards in nine plays, with Landwehr rushing 15 yards for a score to cap the drive.
The lead reached 13-0 on Rose-Hulman's next drive, which covered 82 yards in 15 plays. Rose-Hulman went for a fourth down from the Earlham 11-yard line, and Landwehr connected with freshman Alec Fisher (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) on a touchdown strike.
Rose-Hulman improved its lead to 20-0 on the first play of the second quarter. The Fightin' Engineers completed a six-play, 55-yard drive with Landwehr's second touchdown of the day, a four-yard strike to senior Connor Gerhart (La Mesa, Calif./La Jolla Country Day) with 14:55 left in the opening half.
The lead reached 27-0 just two minutes later, when Landwehr threw his third touchdown pass of the first half. Junior Zac Erba (Winona Lake/Warsaw) scored on a 24-yard reception down the sideline with 13:10 on the clock.
Earlham scored on the next drive, marching 68 yards in 11 plays to reach the endzone. Cody Miller scored from one yard out, and Earlham converted a two-point play when a blocked extra point was run into the endzone for two points.
Rose-Hulman's lead grew to 34-8 on the next Fightin' Engineer drive. The team marched 44 yards in nine plays, with Landwehr scoring his 11th rushing touchdown of the season from one-yard out.
One more scoring drive gave Rose-Hulman a 41-8 lead at the half. The Engineers marched 21 yards in four plays, with Landwehr connecting with graduate student Kris Geyer-Roberts (Plantation, Fla./Nova) on a four-yard scoring pass.
The second half featured Rose-Hulman scoring on its second drive once again. The Engineers marched 91 yards in 13 plays, with Francis scoring from one-yard out to cap the drive.
Landwehr tied the single-game school record for touchdown passes with his fifth of the day to make the score 53-8 late in the third quarter. Senior Marcus Washington (Frankfort, Ky.) scored from five yards out on a screen pass to give the Engineers another score with 4:50 left in the third quarter.