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November 16, 2013

Rose-Hulman tops Earlham to grab share of HCAC title

TERRE HAUTE — Rose-Hulman captured its first football conference championship since 1988 with a 53-15 victory over Earlham College on Saturday afternoon at Darrell Beane Stadium.

The Engineers shared the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference title with nationally ranked Franklin by finishing 7-1 during the conference schedule. Franklin, however, will receive the HCAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs by virtue of its head-to-head victory over Rose on Oct. 26.

The 2013 Rose-Hulman team joins squads from 1953, 1957, 1958, 1974, 1975, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1986 and 1988 as thos with football conference championships. This marks the 11th conference title in the 119-year history of Engineer football.

Rose also finished with an overall record of 7-3 to match the most wins in a season since 1988. The 1988 squad won the most recent title as a member of the College Athletic Conference.

Individually, senior Ryan Landwehr tied two single-game school records Saturday. He finished 22 of 29 for 222 yards and tied the single-game record with five passing touchdowns. The original mark was set by Jason Duff against Washington University in 1987.

Landwehr also rushed for 59 yards and two touchdowns to tie the single-game school record for TDs responsible for in a game with seven, tying the mark set in 1943 by Eddie McGovern.

Senior Danya Francis crossed the 100-yard mark in his final college game, gaining 107 yards on 23 carries with one touchdown. Four receivers combined for 18 receptions as part of a balanced offensive attack.

Rose-Hulman gained 467 yards for the afternoon. Landwehr set a single-season record with 2,908 yards of total offense and the Engineers gained more than 4,100 yards for the second-most yards of total offense in a season in school history.

Defensively, senior Craig Voges led Rose with 10 tackles, freshman Kevin Nowak snagged two interceptions and senior T.J. Chin contributed eight tackles against Earlham.

Rose-Hulman took a 6-0 lead on its second possession of the game. The Engineers marched 92 yards in nine plays, with Landwehr rushing 15 yards for a score to cap the drive.

The lead reached 13-0 on their next drive, which covered 82 yards in 15 plays. Rose went for a fourth down from the Earlham 11-yard line and Landwehr connected with freshman Alec Fisher on a TD strike.

Rose-Hulman increased its lead to 20-0 on the first play of the second quarter. The Engineers completed a six-play, 55-yard drive with Landwehr’s second touchdown of the day, a 4-yard strike to senior Connor Gerhart with 14:55 left in the opening half.

The lead reached 27-0 just two minutes later when Landwehr threw his third touchdown pass of the first half. Junior Zac Erba scored on a 24-yard reception down the sideline with 13:10 on the clock.

Earlham scored on the next drive, marching 68 yards in 11 plays to reach paydirt. Cody Miller scored from 1 yard out and Earlham converted a two-point play when a blocked extra point was run into the end zone.

Rose’s lead grew to 34-8 on the next Engineer drive. The team marched 44 yards in nine plays, with Landwehr scoring his 11th rushing touchdown of the season from 1 yard out.

One more scoring drive gave Rose-Hulman a 41-8 lead at the half. The Engineers marched 21 yards in four plays, with Landwehr connecting with graduate student Kris Geyer-Roberts on a 4-yard scoring pass.

The second half featured Rose scoring on its second drive once again. The Engineers marched 91 yards in 13 plays, with Francis scoring from 1 yard out.

Landwehr tied the single-game school record for TD passes with his fifth of the day to make the score 53-8 late in the third quarter. Senior Marcus Washington scored from 5 yards out on a screen pass to give the Engineers another score with 4:50 showing on the scoreboard.

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