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August 3, 2012

METRO ROUNDUP: Engineers picked sixth in HCAC preseason grid poll

TERRE HAUTE — Rose-Hulman has been selected to finish sixth in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference this season in a preseason poll of league football coaches.

The Engineers finished 5-3 in conference play last season and tied for second place in the HCAC standings. Rose-Hulman returns five starters on offense, six starters on defense and the starting punter from the 2011 squad.

Franklin was chosen to win the conference and has been selected No. 13 nationally by d3football.com this season.  The Grizzlies received 79 poll points and seven first-place votes.

Mount St. Joseph was selected second by the league coaches after a 6-4 record and a 5-3 conference mark. Hanover, Bluffton and Defiance rounded out the top five.

Rose-Hulman was chosen sixth, followed by Manchester, Anderson and Earlham.

Offensively, the Engineers return two all-conference players and five overall starters. Senior Kyle Kovach led NCAA Division III in all-purpose yardage and earned Little All-America honors last fall. Sophomore offensive tackle Eric Taylor earned second-team all-league honors in 2011.

Senior quarterback Mitch Snyder of Casey returns behind center, with a total of three offensive line starters providing depth up front. Snyder recorded the sixth 2,000-yard passing season in Rose-Hulman history last fall.

Defensively, Rose-Hulman returns two starters on the line, two at linebacker and two in the secondary. Senior linebacker Ryan Gallagher claimed first-team all-league honors, with sophomore linebacker Grant DePalma and senior defensive back Jordan Martin earning spots on the honorable mention all-conference squad.

Junior punter Eric Schaible also returns after claiming second-team all-league honors last fall with 15 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line and just four touchbacks.

Rose-Hulman's schedule begins with a home matchup against Kalamazoo at 7 p.m. Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. Homecoming features a battle with Manchester on Sept. 22. The remaining home contests are with Bluffton, Anderson and Earlham.

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