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Late rally propels MU to second league win

More news about: Manchester

NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Taking nearly 2000 fans on a white-knuckle rollercoaster ride over 60 minutes Saturday, Oct. 21, Manchester University and Bluffton University squared off in an old-fashioned donnybrook.

Two interceptions by senior cornerback Wayne Smith (Columbia City, Ind.), including one deep in MU territory, coupled with a defensive stand inside the 10-yard line as the clock wound down helped send the home crowd at Carl W. Burt Field home happy in the wake of a 28-21 Spartans' victory. A rugged one-two ground punch from sophomore running back Donovan Henderson, Jr. (Hollywood, Ind.) and freshman backfield teammate Cornelius Hawkins (Spring, Texas) produced 154 yards and three touchdowns, while Smith's ballhawking and a combined 20 tackles for senior linebacker Jack Kay (Williamsport, Ind.) and junior defensive lineman Jacob Cooper (Fairland, Ind.) topped the defensive output.

"It was a great team win," Coach Nate Jensen said. "There were so many players who stepped up and gave us an opportunity to achieve this. I'm proud of the way we stuck together and kept fighting."

The two Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference teams held leads during a beautiful late October afternoon at Carl W. Burt Memorial Stadium. MU came out of the gate like a Kentucky Derby winner, taking advantage of the first of Smith's two interceptions, for a short field 33-yard drive that Henderson, Jr., ended by churning through the BU defense for a 7-0 lead less than two minutes in. The Black and Gold's defense got the home crowd on its feet again later in the first quarter, as junior defensive back Dillon Nelson (Fairland, Ind.) picked off an errant Brandon Koch toss at the Spartans' 30-yard line and followed a line of blockers down the field for a pick six and a 14-0 lead.

"With the start we had, it was all about keeping our foot on the gas," Jensen said. "It was great to see our defense come out and get two big takeaways … it got the crowd into the game, and our offense responded just like we needed on the first interception."

The visiting Beavers responded with a long drive late in the first quarter for six and then took an interception of their own into the home end zone in the second quarter to tie things 14-14 at the break. "Give credit to Bluffton … they're well coached and battled us right back," Jensen said. "We did hit a lull … I just told the team at halftime 'Hey let's not panic … we're okay.'"

Manchester University needed the calming disposition of their head coach to help them weather what was a nip-and-tuck second half. The Spartans reclaimed the lead on their second possession of the third quarter with Henderson waltzing in from three yards out. However, a missed extra point gave the visitors some momentum, as they found pay dirt late in the third stanza for a 21-20 advantage. The lead went back to MU permanently when Hawkins closed out a textbook march of 11 plays over 80 yards by covering the final nine for his first home touchdown midway through the fourth period.

The Spartans (3-4 overall, 2-3 HCAC) begin two in a row on the road Saturday, Oct. 28, by visiting Earlham College. Kickoff is 2:30 p.m.

Nov. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Husson 23, at Springfield 21
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Berry 34, Huntingdon 20
Video Box Score Recap Video Photos
Final
at Delaware Valley 35, Western New England 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Brockport 66, Plymouth State 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Frostburg State 35, at Wittenberg 7
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Final
at Mount Union 21, Washington and Lee 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Wesley 45, RPI 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 31, Johns Hopkins 28
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Trine 63, Monmouth 24
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Chapman 6
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Case Western Reserve 28, at Illinois Wesleyan 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 63, Lakeland 0
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at St. Thomas 47, Eureka 8
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Final - OT
at Wartburg 35, Franklin 34
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Final
at North Central (Ill.) 17, St. John's 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Linfield 27, Hardin-Simmons 13
Box Score Photos
Nov. 25: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
St. Thomas at Berry
@ Location TBD
12:00 PM
Wesley at Brockport
1:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at UW-Oshkosh
1:00 PM
Linfield at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Nov. 17: All times Eastern
Final
Merchant Marine 35, at Buffalo State 20
@ Newark, Del.
Video Box Score Photos
Nov. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Muhlenberg 32, at Carnegie Mellon 6
@ Newark, Del.
Video Box Score
Final
at Franklin and Marshall 21, Widener 7
Video Box Score
Final
Susquehanna 28, at Albright 9
Video Box Score
Final
at Berry 34, Huntingdon 20
Video Box Score Recap Video Photos
Final
at Brockport 66, Plymouth State 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount Union 21, Washington and Lee 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Trine 63, Monmouth 24
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Wesley 45, RPI 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 31, Johns Hopkins 28
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Frostburg State 35, at Wittenberg 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Delaware Valley 35, Western New England 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Husson 23, at Springfield 21
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Framingham State 48, Curry 14
Video Box Score
Final
Cortland 35, at Union 28
Box Score Recap
Final
Case Western Reserve 28, at Illinois Wesleyan 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Wartburg 35, Franklin 34
Video Preview Box Score Live stats Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Chapman 6
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 63, Lakeland 0
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 17, St. John's 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Thomas 47, Eureka 8
Video Box Score Recap Photos Photos
Final
at Linfield 27, Hardin-Simmons 13
Box Score Photos
Final
at Ithaca 27, Salisbury 17
@ Newark, Del.
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at WPI 17, SUNY-Maritime 3
Box Score Recap
Nov. 19: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Stevenson at Alfred
@ University of Delaware
Video Preview Live stats Audio