/seasons/2019/contrib/201909078m9y7i

Hope Thwarted On Final Drive, Falls at Millikin

More news about: Hope

By Greg Chandler

The Hope College football team drove inside the Millikin University 5-yard line in the waning moments of Friday night's season opener, but could not punch in the winning score.

The Flying Dutchmen dropped a 27-21 decision to the Big Blue at Frank M. Lindsay Field in Decatur, Illinois.

Hope earned an opportunity to drive for the win by stopping Millikin on downs at the Hope 43 with a little more than eight minutes remaining. On fourth down from midfield, senior quarterback Mason Opple of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville HS) found junior running back Connor Mellon of Adrian, Michigan (Madison) for a 37-yard completion to put Hope in the red zone.

Two plays later, sophomore Kenyea Houston of Chicago, Illinois (Westinghouse Prep) picked up eight yards to give Hope a third-and-1 at the Millikin 4. For a team that converted 77 percent of its red zone opportunities into touchdowns last season (37 of 48), the Dutchmen seemed in prime position to regain the lead.

However, Opple was stopped for no gain on third down, and the Big Blue defense tackled Mellon short of the first down on a sweep on fourth down to take over the football with 3:56 remaining. Millikin then picked up two first downs and ran out the clock to beat the Flying Dutchmen for the second consecutive season.

"I don't know why we couldn't put it in on fourth and goal," Hope coach Peter Stuursma said. "That's something we normally do. They made a play and we didn't. That was obviously the ball game."

Hope opened the scoring with an impressive 99-yard, 13-play drive midway through the first quarter after Millikin downed a punt inches from the end zone. Opple capped the drive with a 9-yard run for the first of his three rushing touchdowns in the game. Senior placekicker Sam Allbritten of Warsaw, Indiana (Warsaw HS) kicked the extra point for a 7-0 Hope lead.

After Millikin tied the score with a quick strike 80-yard, four-play drive, the Dutchmen put together another long drive, this time 80 yards on 15 plays, taking up more than six-and-a-half minutes of the clock. Opple faked a jet sweep handoff, then went straight up the middle for an 8-yard TD run to give Hope a 14-7 lead with 9:14 left in the second quarter.

A 38-yard touchdown pass from Cal Pohrte to Jordan Smith pulled the Big Blue within one at 14-13, but Millikin botched the snap on the extra point. Hope took that one-point lead to the lockerroom at halftime.

The Big Blue took their first lead at 20-14 on the opening drive of the second half when Pohrte connected with Patrick Cooper on a 16-yard touchdown pass.

However, it didn't take long for Hope to respond. The Flying Dutchmen drove 92 yards in six plays to regain the lead. Opple escaped the Millikin rush, made a couple of Big Blue defenders miss and ended up going 43 yards for his third touchdown of the game and 33rd of his career. Allbritten's conversion gave Hope a 21-20 lead midway through the third quarter.

The Big Blue came right back with a drive of their own that would give them the lead for good on the next possession, going 81 yards on 13 plays. Kame'Ron Graham pounded it into the end zone on fourth down from the one to put Millikin ahead 27-21.

The Big Blue threatened to add to their lead early in the fourth quarter, as they had a first and goal at the Hope 2. But the FLying Dutchmen came up with a goal line stand to keep their hopes alive. Junior Jeremiah Purnell of Dorr, Michigan (Wyoming HS) stopped Graham at the 1 on fourth down, and Hope took over on downs.

"The defense gave us a chance, and we didn't punch it in offensively," Stuursma said. "At the end of the day, we've got to fix some things. You look at the game, (we had) two penalties, there were no fumbles, no turnovers. I thought we were pretty good in special teams, and yet we didn't win the game. That's the frustrating part and that's the thing that's going to eat at me."

Hope gained 377 yards in total offense for the game. Opple personally accounted for 296 yards in total offense, rushing for 99 yards on 21 carries and completing 15 of 20 passes for 197 yards despite being under pressure from a heavy Millikin rush nearly the entire game.

Houston added 68 yards on 18 carries for the Dutchmen. Senior wide receiver Christian Bos of Hudsonville, Michigan (Unity Christian HS) caught six passes for 37 yards, while senior wideout Cooper Cecchini of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville HS) had four receptions for 75 yards and Mellon three grabs for a team-high 81 yards.

Defensively, Purnell and senior defensive end Jake Babb of Caledonia, Michigan (Caledonia HS) led Hope with eight tackles each.

The Flying Dutchmen return home next Saturday, September 14 at Ray and Sue Smith Stadium for the annual Community Day contest against Defiance (Ohio) College. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m.

Sep. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 41, Moravian 0
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at St. Lawrence 32, Morrisville State 22
Final
MIT 13, at Becker 6
Video Box Score
Sep. 21: All times Eastern
Final
Alfred State 27, at Rochester 21
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Brockport 55, at Buffalo State 22
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
DePauw 21, at Kenyon 7
Video Box Score
Final
Massachusetts Maritime 42, at Maine Maritime 21
Video Box Score
Final
Salve Regina 62, at Dean 35
Video Box Score
Final
at Hobart 20, Rowan 17
Video Box Score
Final
at St. John Fisher 40, TCNJ 16
Video Box Score
Final
Juniata 44, at Ursinus 38
Video Box Score
Final
at Framingham State 48, Westfield State 21
Video Box Score
Final
Wesley 20, at Endicott 17
Video Box Score
Final
Amherst 24, at Colby 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Methodist 30, Catholic 14
Video Box Score Photos Photos
Final
Middlebury 28, at Bates 0
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Merchant Marine 45, SUNY-Maritime 0
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 61, Bowdoin 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Union 27, Springfield 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Apprentice 49, Gallaudet 13
Box Score
Final
Hanover 31, at Maryville (Tenn.) 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Trine 21, Concordia (Wis.) 16
Video Box Score
Final
at Westminster (Pa.) 42, St. Vincent 14
Video
Final
Wesleyan 28, at Hamilton 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Hope 34, Aurora 32
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Carnegie Mellon 20, Washington and Jefferson 13
Video Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
at Washington and Lee 52, Guilford 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
WPI 31, at Husson 12
Box Score Recap
Final
at Albion 56, Eureka 41
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Averett 35, at Ferrum 12
Video Box Score
Final
at Southern Virginia 29, Hampden-Sydney 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Randolph-Macon 20, Emory and Henry 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Franklin and Marshall 34, McDaniel 17
Video Video Box Score
Final
at Plymouth State 34, Worcester State 9
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Ithaca 27, Alfred 9
Video Box Score Recap
Final - 2OT
Wilkes 24, at Lycoming 17
Video Box Score Live stats Audio Audio
Final
at Ohio Wesleyan 55, Oberlin 3
Video Box Score
Final - OT
at Muhlenberg 24, Susquehanna 17
Video Video Box Score Live stats
Final
Wabash 48, at Allegheny 35
Video Box Score
Final
at Delaware Valley 28, Stevenson 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Widener 48, FDU-Florham 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Lebanon Valley 31, Alvernia 12
Video Box Score
Final
Dickinson 56, at Gettysburg 20
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
Lakeland 28, at Kalamazoo 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Concordia-Chicago 23, at Finlandia 12
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Greenville 42, at Northwestern (Minn.) 14
Video Box Score
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 44, Huntingdon 14
Video Video Box Score Photos
Final
MacMurray 38, at Minnesota-Morris 14
Video Recap
Final
at Carthage 36, Carroll 7
Video Photos
Final
Westminster (Mo.) 35, at Iowa Wesleyan 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Williams 44, Tufts 8
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Mount Union 45, Baldwin Wallace 7
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Franklin 34, at Bluffton 19
Video Box Score
Final
at Mount St. Joseph 34, Anderson 7
Video Box Score
Final
Bethany 41, at Waynesburg 17
Video Box Score
Final
John Carroll 14, at Otterbein 7
Video Box Score
Final
Nichols 37, at Anna Maria 20
Video Box Score
Final
at Norwich 17, Coast Guard 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Wilmington 42, Ohio Northern 38
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Alma 51, Rockford 16
Video Box Score Photos Photos
Final
at UW-Platteville 41, Thomas More 10
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at St. Olaf 36, Carleton 19
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at St. John's 33, Gustavus Adolphus 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 48, Augsburg 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Nebraska Wesleyan 37, at Buena Vista 16
Video
Final
Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 20
Box Score
Final
at Austin 20, Centre 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Wartburg 62, at Luther 10
Video Box Score
Final
Millikin 41, at North Park 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Whitewater 28, at St. Xavier 20
Video Box Score
Final
at Lewis and Clark 44, Whittier 41
Video Box Score
Final
St. Thomas 74, at Hamline 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
King's 41, at Hartwick 19
Video Box Score
Final
at University of New England 31, Castleton 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Olivet 21, Benedictine 6
Video Box Score Recap
Final - 2OT
at Adrian 32, Wisconsin Lutheran 29
Video Preview Box Score Audio
Final
Sul Ross State 21, at McMurry 7
Video
Final
at Dickinson St. 23, UW-La Crosse 17
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Waldorf 27, UW-River Falls 24
Video Box Score
Final
at Willamette 34, Occidental 31
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Western Connecticut 42, at Bridgewater State 33
Box Score
Final
at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 24, Pacific Lutheran 17
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Puget Sound 28, La Verne 24
Video Box Score
Final
at Mass-Dartmouth 37, Fitchburg State 13
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Wittenberg 14, Wooster 12
Box Score
Final
at Dakota St. 38, UW-Stevens Point 21
Video
Final
at RPI 35, Utica 33
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Stetson 59, Western New England 28
Video Box Score
Final
North Central (Ill.) 46, at Washington U. 13
Video Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
at Marietta 31, Muskingum 25
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Denison 66, Hiram 7
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Bridgewater 35, at Shenandoah 17
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Brevard 27, Christopher Newport 6
Video Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Heidelberg 55, Capital 6
Video Box Score
Final
at Case Western Reserve 52, Grove City 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Geneva 45, Thiel 10
Video Box Score
Final
Coe 24, at Loras 7
Video
Final
at Augustana 55, Elmhurst 13
Video
Final
at St. Scholastica 35, Crown 32
Video Box Score
Final
Berry 14, at Trinity (Texas) 10
Video Box Score
Final
Simpson 21, at Dubuque 14
Video Box Score
Final
Birmingham-Southern 49, at Sewanee 30
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Texas Lutheran 31, at East Texas Baptist 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 24, Illinois Wesleyan 10
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Southwestern 50, Louisiana College 3
Video Box Score
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 23, Belhaven 13
Video Box Score
Final
at Millsaps 14, Rhodes 0
Video Box Score
Final
at George Fox 26, Pomona-Pitzer 15
Video Box Score
Final
at Redlands 27, Linfield 19
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Chapman 37, Whitworth 30
Video Video Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
at Cal Lutheran 45, Pacific 28
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Sep. 5: All times Eastern
Final
Johns Hopkins 17, at Randolph-Macon 12
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Sep. 6: All times Eastern
Final
Salisbury 63, at Albright 28
Video Box Score
Final
Delaware Valley 37, at Kean 7
Video Box Score Recap
Sep. 7: All times Eastern
Final
North Central (Ill.) 43, at Christopher Newport 13
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Wesley 69, at Franklin Pierce 0
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Muhlenberg 45, TCNJ 26
Video Video Box Score
Final
Ithaca 66, at St. Vincent 28
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Susquehanna 42, Lycoming 26
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 16, Wittenberg 8
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at John Carroll 21, UW-Stevens Point 7
Video Box Score
Final
Centre 45, at Hanover 31
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Berry 31, at Maryville (Tenn.) 10
Box Score
Final
at Bethel 42, Simpson 10
Video Video Box Score
Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 38, at Monmouth 0
Video Box Score
Final
St. John's 14, at UW-Stout 7
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final - OT
at UW-La Crosse 21, Concordia-Moorhead 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Whitworth 50, at La Verne 24
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at St. Thomas 69, Trinity International 3
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at UW-Whitewater 42, Dubuque 7
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Mount Union 66, at Rose-Hulman 14
Video Box Score Photos Photos
Final
Hardin-Simmons 64, at Sul Ross State 0
Box Score Photos
Final
Washington U. 43, at Chicago 7
Box Score Recap Photos