Time of Poss.
NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Sophomore running back Hunter Hardee (Fishers, Ind.) continued his triple-digit rushing theme, highlighting Manchester University's Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference contest against Rose-Hulman Saturday, Oct. 31.
Hardee, churning out 117 yards on 19 carries behind a Spartans' offensive line that helped the home side garner just shy of 300 total yards (271), reached 100-yards-or-more for the sixth time in seven games and also tallied a rushing touchdown. However, his efforts weren't quite enough to hold off a potent Fightin' Engineer offensive attack that rolled up better than 400 yards in route to a 35-28 decision.
Hardee's ground attack wasn't the only thing that brought a crowd of better than 1,000 that filed into Carl W. Burt Memorial Field. The trio of senior wide receiver Evan Rice (Gosport, Ind.), senior tight end Brandon Webb (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and freshman wide receiver Cooper Henderson (Charlottesville, Ind.) grabbed three receptions apiece from freshman quarterback Tristan Chester (Charlestown, Ind.) who threw for triple digits in his first collegiate start. Despite the 35-point attack for Rose-Hulman, the Black and Gold's defense also had some highlights, led by freshman defensive back Dillon Nelson's (Fairland, Ind.) who picked off an errant pass attempt and weaved his way down the field for a 61-yard touchdown return that tied the game at 21-21 in the third quarter, while junior Nathan Birk (Indianapolis, Ind.) continued his impressive transition from defensive back to linebacker with 17 tackles, a sack, two and a half tackles for losses and a pass break-up, and senior defensive back Taylor Anglemyer (Wakarusa, Ind.) recovered a fumble off a muffed punt that led to an early Spartans' score.
The two teams' trading scores in the opening quarter set the tone for the afternoon. Rose-Hulman proceeded to embark on 14-point run for a 21-7 lead midway through the second period, but the Black and Gold answered, wrapping up a 13-play, 72-yard drive with a Chester sneak through an open lane to start the third period and then Nelson turning his defensive heroics with his seventh pick of the season for a 21-21 tie. The visitors' second 14-point roll was the product of a long kickoff return that set up a 50-yard scoring drive late in the third period, and a 10-play, 72-yard march in the final stanza for a 35-21 advantage. MU responded, as they had done throughout the game, with a 56-yard touchdown march of its own, trimming the deficit to seven points, and had the ball in the final minute but an interception in the Spartans' end closed the game out.
Manchester University takes to the road for the final time in 2015 Saturday, Nov. 7. Kickoff at Hanover College's Alumni Stadium is 1:30 p.m.