News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 10, 2009

Engineers looking to end three-game skid at home

By Dennis Clark

TERRE HAUTE — Rose-Hulman is hoping to halt a three-game losing streak when it plays host to Hanover College in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference football game on Hall of Fame Day. Kickoff is 2:30 p.m. today at Cook Stadium.

It’s an uncharacteristic three-game skid for the Engineers, their first since they dropped the final three games of the 2005 season.

Rose (2-3, 0-1 HCAC) had been following an identical script of last season, winning its first two games (Earlham and North Park), then losing its third game (Greenville).

The Engineers have deviated from the script this year. Last year, they defeated Mount St. Joseph and Manchester. This year, they lost to both teams.

“We’ve had a tough stretch here the last three weeks,” admitted Rose coach Steve Englehart. “Just can’t find a way to get over the hump. Last year, we won all these close games.

“It’s been tough, but our team has realized that it’s only one play away from winning or losing a game. A lot of times, one play can make all the difference. Looking back at the past three weeks, we’re three plays away from being 5-0 right now.”

A big part of the Engineers’ troubles began at Greenville (Ill.) three weeks ago. In that game, Rose converted a long drive for a touchdown with two seconds remaining to get within 19-18 only to have the extra point kick blocked.

Adding insult to injury in that game, the Engineers’ top running back, senior Calvin Bueltel, was lost for the season with an ACL injury.

Since the Greenville defeat, Rose lost 45-38 to Mount St. Joseph on Homecoming, then dropped a 20-17 decision at Manchester last week. Bueltel’s absence was felt quite a bit against Manchester, the Engineers generating just 68 yards rushing.

“The biggest thing we’re going through right now, and I’m telling the team, is we’ve just got to get tougher [physically],” Englehart noted.

“We’ve also got to get mentally tougher. Not just when things are going well we play good. When things aren’t going well we kind of tighten up. I think that’s what’s happened the last two weeks.”

Rose topped Hanover 44-33 in a high-scoring road shootout last year. Both teams advanced the ball easily up and down the field, Rose outgaining Hanover 446-442 in total offense.

Hanover quarterback Nick Sharp completed 41 of 61 passes last year for 404 yards and four touchdowns.

Sharp has graduated, but this year’s Hanover team is still has a potent passing attack. Freshman C.J. Croft ranks second in the HCAC at 271.3 yards per game, while his top receiver, Daniel Passafiune, leads the HCAC in receptions (43), receiving yardage (436) and TD’s (6).

Meanwhile, Rose quarterback Derek Eitel needs just 197 yards to become the school’s all-time leader in passing yardage.

“{Hanover is] a speedy team, both offensively and defensively,” Englehart said. “They really fly around the ball on defense … will try to send a lot of stunts and blitzes at you. Offensively, they throw the ball all over the place and run a little bit from the spread formation.

“Our secondary we feel is our strength. Hopefully, that matches up well for us. It’s going to be a tough contest. Hanover is coming in with a lot of confidence after beating Anderson [51-13].

“[Hanover is] 1-3 but they’ve lost to some tough opponents … Butler, Waynesburg and Centre College.”

•Hall of Fame Day — Rose is inducting four new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame today. The induction ceremony is at noon in the Sports and Recreation Center Multipurpose Room. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Inductees include Bryan Hagelskamp (football), Troy Halt (men’s basketball), Amanda Speich Witter (women’s basketball) and Sean Valentine (men’s swimming).