The Millikin football team opened the 2019 season with a 27-21 win over Hope College on September 6 at Frank M. Lindsay Field.
One of the big questions facing the Big Blue this season was who would replace Millikin's all-time leading passer Nicco Stepina? Junior quarterback Cal Pohrte left little doubt he could fill that role setting a new Millikin record for passing yards in a game with 390. Pohrte was 20-32 passing with two touchdowns. Senior Jordan Smith had six catches for 216 yards and one touchdown while sophomore Colton Lockwood had seven catches for 102 yards.
Hope scored on its second possession when senior quarterback Mason Opple scored on a nine yard run midway through the first quarter.
The Big Blue scored in the final minute of the first quarter on a two-yard run from Kame'Ron Graham. The four play 80 yard drive was spurred by a 76 yard pass from Pohrte to Smith.
Opple would score on an eight yard run to make it 14-7 Hope with 9:14 left in the first half.
Millikin's quick strike offense went back to work with Pohrte finding Smith from 38 yards out for the score. The four play 89 yard drive also included a 49 yard pass from Pohrte to Smith. The conversion attempt failed and it was 14-13 Hope at halftime.
The Big Blue scored on its opening possession of the second half to go up 20-14. Pohrte connected with Patrick Cooper on a 16 yard pass for the touchdown.
Opple scored his third rushing touchdown this time from 43 yards out to make it 21-20 Hope with 8:36 left in the third quarter.
Millikin took the lead for good with 2:32 left in the third on a two-yard run from Graham.
Millikin had 499 yards in total offense (390 passing and 109 rushing) while holding Hope to 377 yards (180 rushing and 197 passing).
Ladavion Severado led the Millikin rushing attack with 20 carries for 106 yards.
Senior co-captain Matt Brown led Millikin in tackles with 13. Jaquan Harrell had 11 tackles including 2.5 tackles for a looss. Tatum Teicher had eight tackles including two tackles for a loss.
Opple had 99 yard rushing for Hope and was 15-20 passing for 197 yards.
Jake Babb and Jeremiah Purnell each had eight tackles for Hope.
Millikin has an off week before opening College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin play on September 21 at North Park.