TERRE HAUTE —
Sure, Jeff Sokol would like to have earned his first “W” as a head coach sooner than Saturday afternoon.
But he wasn’t complaining about when he obtained it after his Rose-Hulman team rolled to a 31-20 homecoming triumph over visiting Hanover in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) football at Cook Stadium.
Soaked from a quickie Gatorade shower delivered by his players, a smiling Sokol said: “It feels great. It feels great. We worked really hard for this. The coaching staff prepared all week… We were hungry for this win and we were going to do anything we could to get it.”
Running back Kyle Kovach led the Engineers’ offense with 124 yards rushing and one touchdown on 36 carries, while senior defensive end Ben Parker racked up 2.5 sacks and senior safety Matt Green recorded 15 tackles (11 solos and four assisted) and two sacks to pace their defense.
Kovach was among the Rose players happy to see Sokol notch the first victory of his career.
“He’s been working hard,” Kovach pointed out. “All the assistant coaches, everybody. . . Everything was clicking this game. We just had to put everything together and fire on all cylinders.”
Sokol appreciated Kovach’s efforts as well.
“Kyle is our workhorse,” the first-year coach emphasized. “We knew they were going to be tough on defense. We had to scratch and claw for every yard that we got running the football. Kyle just kept fighting and kept his legs churning and he did an outstanding job of taking care of the football.”
The Engineers (1-2 overall, 1-0 HCAC) jumped ahead 24-0 in the first quarter. The 5-foot-8, 185-pound Kovach busted up the middle and outran a couple defenders for a 49-yard TD to open the scoring.
“The [offensive] line set everything up.,” Kovach stressed. “They had great blocks today.”
With 3:25 to go in the first period, freshman Grant DePalma shot through the line to block a Hanover punt and junior teammate Alex Sonneberger returned it 7 yards for another TD.
“Scoop and score for a touchdown,” Sokol mentioned. “Alex Sonneberger, great play.”
One play after the ensuing kickoff, Rose-Hulman defensive lineman Dean Griffing recovered a fumble by Hanover starting quarterback Dexter Britt on the Panthers’ 24-yard line. After one no-gain play, the home team padded its cushion to 21-0 when junior QB Mitch Snyder of Casey, Ill., fired a strike to a diving Dominic Sena in the end zone.
Later, a high snap over the Hanover quarterback’s head on fourth down resulted in a 25-yard loss and return of possession to the Engineers on the visitors’ 16. Rose didn’t reach paydirt this time, but it did come away with a 28-yard field goal by Nick Schneider before the end of the quarter.
Before Rose-Hulman fans could get too comfortable, however, the Panthers cut their deficit to 24-17 by halftime — thanks to two TD tosses from back-up quarterback C.J. Croft to Dwayne Eubanks (covering 42 and 29 yards) sandwiched around a 21-yard field goal by Dylan Dunlop.
“We didn’t want the same thing that happened last year,” Kovach admitted, referring to a 52-31 loss at Hanover. “We had a big lead last year too and we knew they could come back again [this year], so we just kept pushing.”
The only touchdown of the third frame was a Snyder pass that deflected off the hand of two different Hanover defenders before landing in the hands of teammate Parris Gray, who hauled it in for a 23-yarder.
While Croft kept the chains moving for the Panthers, the only second-half points they could manufacture came on a 39-yard field goal by Dunlop with 14:15 left in the contest.
“We came out and played phenomenal in the first quarter, then took a little bit of a step back in the second quarter,” Sokol assessed. “In the second half, we dominated possession and the defense played great again.”
Five of Rose’s seven sacks occurred in the second half, which made finishing drives difficult for Hanover.
“Coach [defensive coordinator Brian] Vaughn coached us well,” Parker noted. “We were ready for everything. We kinda went down a little bit in the second quarter, but we bounced back in the second half and played a pretty good game.”
Now Rose-Hulman must focus on a road game next Saturday against HCAC foe Manchester, but players and coaches may take a little time today to enjoy the taste of their first victory of 2011.
“I think the first one’s always the hardest to get, so I think we can roll it now,” Parker said. “We can still win conference.”
“We’re right where we want to be in the conference,” Sokol added. “It is a confidence builder.”
• Rose notes — The Engineers tied two unique school records Saturday — most punts in game (11) and most punting yards in a game (424). Rose’s punter is sophomore Eric Schaible.
Sokol attributed part of that to the fast pace of the game and the five turnovers (three fumbles and two interceptions) committed by Hanover.
“That’s the way we play,” he explained. “We try to snap the ball as fast as we can. There are a lot of plays and a lot of possessions.
“Our punter is one of our most lethal weapons. He’s the best [NCAA Division III] punter in the country and he proved it today. If he’s not the All-American punter [at the end of the season], I want to see who is.”
The original records were set by Brett Bueltel (11 punts against Trinity in October 2004) and Grant Sharp (424 yards punting against Rhodes in November 1986).
• Registering Rose-Hulman’s two interceptions were senior cornerback Bobby Short of Martinsville, Ill., and sophomore linebacker Cody Rivers.
Engineer coach Jeff Sokol enjoys first career victory
TERRE HAUTE —
Sure, Jeff Sokol would like to have earned his first “W” as a head coach sooner than Saturday afternoon.
Rose’s Stull pitches well in losing cause
Andrew Stull made a strong bid to stay in the Rose-Hulman baseball starting pitching rotation Friday evening, but his lack of support — offensively and defensively — still added up to a 7-0 loss as the Engineers opened the Rose-Hulman Invitational against Concordia Chicago.
Metro Sports: ISU baseball’s winning streak halted at 12
The UNC-Wilmington Seahawks scored on a walk-off single in the ninth inning to end Indiana State’s 12-game winning streak in baseball with a 3-2 victory Friday at Brooks Field.
Another Rose freshman making big splash
The Rose-Hulman men’s swimming team received a much-needed boost last season when a talented freshman from Ohio entered to set school records, rack up conference titles and qualify for the NCAA Division III championships. So when the Rose women’s swimming team needed a boost this season, what did it do? Yep, the Engineers found another talented freshman from Ohio to do pretty much the same things.
Metro sports: Indiana State's Abdul-Qaadir honored by MVC again
Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir of Indiana State has been named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week for women’s basketball, the league announced Monday.
Metro sports: Rose-Hulman picks up baseball win
A late run in the eighth-inning broke a 4-all tie and proved to be the game winner for Rockford College in a 5-4 decision over the Rose-Hulman baseball team Friday at the Chain of Lakes Complex.
Metro Sports: Sycamores to be represented at NCAA indoors
Three members of the Indiana State track and field team will compete in the 2014 NCAA indoor championships March 14-15 at Albuquerque, N.M. Senior Greggmar Swift will represent the men, while sophomore Katie Wise and senior Mary Theisen will represent the women.
Rose’s Strickland named HCAC MVP again, Shaw wins Coach of the Year
Rose-Hulman senior guard Julian Strickland has been named the 2013-2014 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player and headlines the 12-member All-HCAC first and second teams for men’s basketball, according to an announcement from the league Tuesday.
It is the second straight HCAC MVP honor for Strickland, becoming the first player since Franklin’s Jason Sibley (1997-98 and 1998-99) to earn back-to-back MVP awards. Sibley was a graduate of Terre Haute South High School.
Metro roundup: Rose baseball loses 7-0 in Florida
Mount Union University remained unbeaten this baseball season with a 7-0 victory over Rose-Hulman in a rain-shortened game Tuesday.
Mount Union improved to 5-0 when the game was called after eight innings due to significant rain.
Rose meets Wheaton in NCAA opener
Rose-Hulman will open its third straight trip to the NCAA Division III basketball tournament at 5:30 p.m. Friday when the Engineers play Wheaton in a four-team regional hosted by Hope College.
Metro: No ISU baseball today; home opener now Friday
Indiana State’s baseball home opener that was to be played today has been pushed back, according to Sycamore head coach Mitch Hannahs.
Engineers, Hanover to vie for HCAC title
For the second year in a row, the men’s basketball teams of Rose-Hulman and Hanover will square off for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship in Terre Haute.
Metro: ISU softball win streak reaches 6
Indiana State improved its college softball winning streak to six games Friday by beating Wright State 4-3 and IUPUI 3-2 on the opening day of the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic.
Rose coach expects wide-open race for HCAC title
Both Rose-Hulman basketball programs hope their teams will still be talked about in the Wabash Valley media after this weekend when they compete in their Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournaments.
Metro roundup: Hutson awarded USA Track and Field grant
Terre Haute native and 2016 Olympic hopeful Kylie Hutson was awarded a $7,000 grant from the USA Track and Field Foundation.
Rose coach still ‘hanging around’
Approaching the start of his 25th season as Rose-Hulman’s baseball coach, Jeff Jenkins remembers some of his 601 victories, most of his teams’ highlights from five NCAA Division III tournament appearances and pretty much all of Art Nehf Field’s significant upgrades. He also can count on one hand how many times that umpires have tossed him from a game — two.
Rose-Hulman men lose game, gain co-HCAC title
Despite a loss at Mount St. Joseph on Saturday afternoon, the Rose-Hulman men’s basketball team earned a share of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference title and will host the semifinal and championship rounds of this week’s league tournament.
Mount St. Joseph improved to 16-8 overall and finished fourth in the league standings after a 69-57 victory. Rose completed its regular season with a 20-5 mark for the sixth 20-win season in its men’s basketball history.
Female Engineers climb into HCAC tourney with win at Mount St. Joseph
Led by 16 points from senior Kelsey Ploof, the Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team defeated Mount St. Joseph 58-51 in its regular-season finale Saturday to clinch the final spot in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament.
The Engineers (10-15, 8-10 HCAC) earned the sixth seed in the upcoming league tournament and will face Franklin in the quarterfinals Friday at tournament host Transylvania in Lexington, Ky. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.
Metro roundup: Rose-Hulman men clinch share of HCAC title
Rose-Hulman clinched at least a share of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball championship and will host the league tournament starting Feb. 28 after winning 71-69 at Franklin on Wednesday night.
Rose’s Alec Houpt hopes to make fifth Division III tournament appearance
Is Alec Houpt the good-luck charm for Rose-Hulman athletics?
Should his likeness appear on a box of Lucky Charms cereal?
Houpt admits he’s not a star in any sport, yet he’s been a member of four teams that have advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament. They were men’s soccer as a sophomore (2011) and senior (2013) and men’s basketball as a sophomore (2011-12) and junior (2012-13).
Streaking Engineers return to national poll
Rose-Hulman’s men’s basketball team has earned a national ranking for the first time this season, reaching the No. 24 spot in the d3hoops.com national top 25 poll released Monday.
Metro Roundup: Rose-Hulman's Montgomery wins HCAC award again
Rose-Hulman’s Ryann-Rebecca Montgomery has been named the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Track Athlete of the Week for the third time this season after a historic performance on Friday.
Shaw wins 300th for first-place Engineers
Rose-Hulman’s Jim Shaw became the second men's basketball coach in program history to win 300 career games as the Fightin' Engineers rallied to defeat Bluffton University 61-55 on Saturday afternoon.
Rose-Hulman outscored Bluffton 39-15 in the second half to overcome an 18-point halftime deficit and improve to 19-4 on the season. The Engineers are also 14-2 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play and maintain a one-game lead over Defiance in the conference standings. Rose-Hulman needs one win in its last two games to secure hosting rights for the HCAC Tournament.
Rose’s Jim Shaw nearing 300 victories
Rose-Hulman hits the road for Bluffton and a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball matchup at 3 p.m. today.
Metro roundup: Rose-Hulman's Strickland earns national D-III honor
Rose-Hulman senior Julian Strickland has been named to the d3hoops.com National Team of the Week for his efforts in last week’s two men’s basketball victories.
Strickland, other Rose seniors play final home game tonight
Rose-Hulman will play host to Hanover in Senior Night men’s basketball at 7:30 tonight in Hulbert Arena.
The Engineers lead Defiance by one game and Hanover by two in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings entering their final regular-season home game.
Metro roundup: Sycamores, UNI to be national ESPNU game
Indiana State’s final men’s home game of the college basketball season has been chosen for ESPNU’s 1 p.m. telecast on March 1. It’s Senior Day for the Sycamores.
Strickland erupts for 41 in Rose-Hulman victory
Rose-Hulman senior Julian Strickland scored a career-high 41 points to help lift the Engineers past Manchester 85-65 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball Saturday afternoon.
Strickland recorded the eighth 40-point game in the history of Rose men’s basketball in the contest. His effort joins Don Ings (four times from 1967-70), Bryan Egli (twice in 1999) and Ed Downey (once in 1963-64) as 40-point games on the list.
Rose Hulman’s Schultheis repeats as Athlete of the Week
Rose-Hulman’s Austin Schultheis has been named Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Men’s Field Athlete of the Week for a second consecutive time.
Sole possession of first place in HCAC belongs to Shaw’s Engineers
The Rose-Hulman men’s basketball team took its first lead in more than 23 minutes with 1:23 left on the clock and then shut down the Defiance offense to clinch a 58-54 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference victory Saturday afternoon in Hulbert Arena.
Coach Jim Shaw’s Engineers (14-4, 10-2 HCAC) took over sole possession of first place in the conference with the win over the Yellow Jackets (9-3, 14-5), who entered the contest tied with Rose.
Freshmen lead Rose women to HCAC victory
Sparked by breakout performances from a pair of freshmen, the Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team held on to defeat Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Defiance 69-59 Saturday afternoon in Hulbert Arena.
Six-foot-2 forward Josie Schmidt was two shy of her career high with a game-high 17 points. She added five rebounds and a block in an 8-for-14 performance from the field. Classmate Abbie Marshall had one of her best games of the season, totaling a career-best 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting to go along with seven boards, five assists and four steals.
- More Rose-Hulman Headlines
- Rose’s Stull pitches well in losing cause