TERRE HAUTE —
Rose-Hulman junior Kyle Kovach didn’t top 100 yards rushing Saturday like he usually does.
This time, the talented running back from Munster had to “settle” for 85 yards against Mount St. Joseph at Cook Stadium.
But he did score two first-quarter touchdowns — one on a 27-yard pass from quarterback Mitch Snyder and the other on a 7-yard run — to help the Engineers win the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference football matchup 20-14. He also hauled in a team-high six passes for an extra 67 yards.
Although Kovach has not thrown any passes this season, he’s done just about everything else that first-year coach Jeff Sokol has asked him to do.
n Kovach ranks third in the nation in the latest NCAA Division III statistics for all-purpose yards per game. Through six games (three wins and three losses), his average is 223.17 yards. That includes rushing, receiving, kickoff returns and punt returns.
n Kovach ranks first in the HCAC and 26th in the nation in rushing yards per game with 114.33. He’s also tied for 73rd in the nation in points per game with 8.0, thanks to eight touchdowns.
If Sokol asked Kovach to sweep out the Cook Stadium bleachers after fans left a game, he would probably do that too.
“He’s a very versatile player,” Sokol said after Saturday’s contest. “We ask him to do a lot. We ask him to carry the load for us. I’ve never had more confidence putting the ball in a player’s hands. He doesn’t turn it over. He runs hard whenever he has the ball. He plays hard every snap, whether he’s got it or not.
“He’s just an outstanding player. We love having him here.”
Sokol remembers when he first heard about Kovach. It was in December 2010, right after Rose had announced that Sokol was leaving the University of Chicago as an assistant coach to become the Engineers’ head coach.
“We had a guy from Andrean [Kovach’s old high school] at the University of Chicago,” Sokol mentioned. “He came up to me and said as soon as he found out I got the [Rose-Hulman] head-coaching job: ‘Kyle Kovach is an unbelievable player. You’re going to love coaching him.’ He couldn’t have been more right.”
Meanwhile, Kovach is enjoying his experiences with Sokol and the 2011 version of the Engineers’ offense, which allowed him to post four consecutive games with at least 100 yards on the ground before Saturday.
“It’s always the offensive line,” the 5-foot-8, 185-pound Kovach replied when asked about reasons for his success.
“You can’t do it by yourself. Coach has faith in us and the running game. He knows we’re going to get yards. Our thing is we try to get [at least] 4 yards every play.
“For me, it’s all about working hard in practice, me and the other running backs just pushing ourselves … no one taking it easy.”
Sokol said Kovach is one of the team leaders off the field as well.
“He’s a captain as a junior,” the Engineers’ coach pointed out. “In the off-season, he gets on guys, makes them be responsible. He keeps himself in great physical condition [with weightlifting and cardio workouts]. He has to be in great condition to do all the things we ask him to do.”
Kovach, who idolized Walter Payton as a youngster and admires current Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte nowadays, emphasized that he doesn’t mind doing what ever it takes to help Rose pile up victories.
“It’s a challenge,” he admitted. “I played both ways [offense and defense] in high school. But college is a way different game. You’ve just got to prepare yourself, work hard in the offseason and keep hitting the weight room during the season so you don’t lose anything. You’ve gotta be tough. You’ve gotta handle it.”
Kovach said finishing second in the HCAC would be “a great season” if it happens. The Engineers and Hanover are tied for second at 3-1, while Franklin leads at 5-0.
Sokol and Kovach are not expecting Franklin to lose for the rest of the regular season — although the Grizzlies do visit Hanover on Nov. 12 — so HCAC runner-up is probably the most realistic goal at this stage.
“We always push for first and try to win conference,” Kovach explained. “It’s unfortunate what happened to us in the Franklin game [a 55-24 home loss Oct. 8]. We’ll just try to go as high as we can. We don’t want to lose another game this year.”
TERRE HAUTE —
Rose-Hulman junior Kyle Kovach didn’t top 100 yards rushing Saturday like he usually does.
Metro roundup: ISU trails by 4 with 18 holes left
Indiana State is four shots out of the lead and McCall Christopher five shots from the individual lead after the second of three rounds of the Missouri Valley Conference golf championships was completed Monday at Panther Creek Country Club.
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Four words you won’t hear used together during a Rose-Hulman track practice: “Schultheis, get over here.”
If someone were to mistakenly make that request, three brothers from the same family might respond.
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Indiana State’s baseball team posted another mid-week victory Wednesday night as four pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout and lead a 3-0 victory over Austin Peay State at Bob Warn Field.
Rose-Hulman baseball goes to 7-0 in HCAC
Rose-Hulman improved to 7-0 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball action and won its ninth straight game with an 8-4 victory over Franklin on Tuesday night at Art Nehf Field.
Rose battled back from deficits of 2-0 with two runs in the fourth and 4-2 with two more in the fifth to knot the score at 4-4. A three-run sixth inning and clutch pitching in the eighth secured the victory.
Dedicated to helping others
It’s not like Marissa Stout is bored out of her mind and lacking for things to do.
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Indiana State junior Megan Stone and freshman Brooke Riemenschneider each earned Missouri Valley Conference Athlete of the Week honors, according to an announcement from the league office Monday.
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Rose-Hulman's Orion Martin is All-America swimmer
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Junior Yvette Alvarez pitched a complete-game win in the opener and hit her first career home run in the second game to lead the Indiana State softball team to a doubleheader sweep in its home opener Wednesday at Price Field.
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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.
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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
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Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir of Indiana State has been named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week for women’s basketball, the league announced Monday.
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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.
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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
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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).
- More Rose-Hulman Headlines
- Metro roundup: ISU trails by 4 with 18 holes left