NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Rose-Hulman takes a northern trip to Manchester University as part of Homecoming 2017 festivities Saturday, Oct. 14.
Game details: Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. at Carl W. Burt Memorial Field … Live audio, stats and video are available via links at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics … Close-knit outcomes have been the norm in recent series history. Seven of the last ten meetings have been decided by six points or less … The Spartans stand 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. They were coming off a final moments triumph at Defiance College last weekend. The Fightin' Engineers, fresh off an impressive home victory over traditional loop power Mt. St. Joseph Oct. 7, stand 5-1 overall and are one of two remaining league unbeaten (4-0) along with Franklin College … Several special events are planned during the afternoon in and around Burt Field. Among them are the M Association Class of 2017 Hall of Fame inductees and Claude Wolfe Coach of the Year recognized at halftime; MU elementary education seniors partnering with Mrs. Clark's sixth graders at Manchester Intermediate School to raise money for hurricane relief efforts. They've raised nearly $3,000 and challenged the MU community to raise another $1,000. Donations, with 75% going to the Red Cross and the remaining 25% earmarked for Best Friends, a non-profit focused on pets, will be collected at a booth located near the field; and the annual Fifth Quarter celebration, featuring food, music and more, starting at 3:30 p.m. in the practice football field area inside the outdoor track.
Spartan Shorts: What a difference a minute can make. Take freshman placekicker Kody Graham (Indianapolis, Ind.) as an example. With 1:08 remaining at DC's Just F. Coressel Stadium, he saw an extra point attempt that would have tied a loop battle between the Spartans and host Defiance College at 21-21 miss its target. Fast forward after sophomore special teams teammate Reid Kammerdiener (Fairfield, Ind.) hit the perfect high-hopping onside kick that bounced off a Defiance player and into the waiting arms of senior defensive back Wayne Smith (Columbia City, Ind.) and the Black and Gold offense marched 48 yards, he found himself with a chance at redemption. "I hadn't said anything (to Kody) after the missed extra point other than getting the ball up," Coach Nate Jensen reflected. "When the onside kick worked, and we drove down to get into range for the field goal, I talked with (senior tight end) Jared (Bourff of Elwood, Ind.) and (senior quarterback) Mark (Osmialowski II of Cloverdale, Ind.) and told them 'If you two are good with the snap and hold, we'll be good'. Everyone did their job, and Kody got the ball through the pipes." Beyond Graham and Kammerdiener's heroics, several other Spartans shone in western Ohio. Senior Dakota Nelson (Fairland, Ind.) took home his second kickoff return for six, dancing through the opposing defense, finding daylight and scooting 90 yards for MU's first score. Sophomore quarterback Alex Downard (Indianapolis, Ind.) proved valuable, going in on the other two Black and Gold touchdowns, as he found Bourff for a third time this season in the end zone, this time from four yards out, and he ran the other in from seven yards out. Defensively, Smith's onside kickoff recovery didn't complete his resume, as he tallied a unit best seven tackles. The Spartans were also active in sacks and tackles for losses, totaling four sacks and seven tackles for losses while also recording a takeaway with senior linebacker Mitch Oskam (St. John, Ind.) grabbing an interception … Sophomore running back Donovan Henderson, Jr., (Hollywood, Fla.) continues to be an offensive force to be reckoned with. His 71.2 yards per game and four touchdowns each rank among the HCAC's top five. Digging deeper, senior linebacker Jack Kay (Williamsport, Ind.) is in the top 10 in tackles per game (7.4 – No. 9), and Downard is seventh in passing yardage per game (170.8) and touchdown tosses (five). In other Spartans' statistical news, Nelson is up to his old gridiron tricks again. He leads the conference and NCAA Division III in kickoff touchdown returns and total kick return yardage (780) while topping the league and ranking second in the nation in all-purpose yards per game (228.8).
On the Horizon: Bluffton University follows Rose-Hulman to North Manchester Saturday, Oct. 21. Kickoff is 1:30 p.m.