ANGOLA, IND. -- Senior running back Lamar Carswell (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) had a career day to lead the Trine University football team to a 52-24 win against Alma (Mich.) College at Fred Zollner Athletic Stadium on Homecoming.
Carswell rushed for a career-high five touchdowns and had 293 of the team's 349 rushing yards against the Scots. It marked the first time a Trine running back has had five TDs since Carswell's former teammate did it, Mark Wilson '17, against Albion (Mich.) College on Oct. 24, 2015. It was also just the third five rushing TD performance in program history. It was also Carswell's third straight 200-yard rushing game of the season and has already topped 1,000 yards for the year (1,029).
Trine (5-0, 2-0 MIAA) made a statement early after taking the game's opening kickoff and went 65 yards in two plays that included a 50-yard pass play from junior quarterback Brandon Winters (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) to senior wideout Jeffery Barnett (Fremont, Ohio/Ross) and ended in Carswell's first TD of the day from 15 yards out. Alma (1-4, 0-2 MIAA) came right back and answered the quick score with a 15-play, 75-yard scoring drive to tie the game at 7-7 with 9:12 to go in the first quarter. On Trine's ensuing drive, the Scot defense came up with an interception that led to another Alma score to take a 14-7 advantage. The Thunder's quick-strike offense came through again on their next drive, this time with a second two-play drive that all came from the legs of Carswell with runs of 31 and 39 yards to even the score at 14-14 after the first quarter of play. Trine's time of possession on its first two drives of the game totaled just 2:09 with two TDs.
The shootout continued into the second quarter as Alma regained the lead on a 14-play drive that began in the final minutes of the opening period to make the score 21-14. That would be the final TD of the half for the visitors as Trine then rattled off 17 straight points that saw Carswell find the endzone two more times on carries of 43 and 28 yards. Sophomore Ryan Hibbets (Monticello, Ind./Twin Lakes) recorded the final points of the half with a 41-yard field goal with 42 seconds to go as the Thunder took a 31-21 advantage into halftime.
The third quarter featured a modest 10 combined points with the first points of the second half coming on a 38-yard field goal by Alma to cut the deficit to seven points, 31-24. Trine responded on its next drive with a 15-yard strike from Brandon Winters to sophomore wide receiver Essa Kellah (Wyoming, Mich./Godwin Heights) to increase the margin to 38-24. The Scots had a final chance to add points before the end of the frame with a 31-yard field goal attempt, but the kick missed its mark, leaving the margin at 14 points heading into the final period.
Early in the fourth quarter, Carswell recorded his career-high fifth TD on a 88-yard scamper at the 12:02 mark to put the Thunder up by a comfortable, 45-24, margin. Special teams got in on the scoring shortly after as senior Marcus Winters (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) returned a punt after a three-and-out possession by Alma following the Carswell score, 63 yards to paydirt to make it a 52-24 game. The very next Alma possession saw junior Carl Sandford (Detroit, Mich./Lincoln) step in front of a pass for the interception as Trine went on to claim the 52-24 victory.
Trine attempted only seven passes in the game with Brandon Winters completing three-of-five attempts for 84 yards and a TD. Klepper led the team in receptions with two for 29 yards and Barnett's only catch was his 50-yard reception to begin the game. Kellah's lone reception was his 15-yard TD catch.
Defensively, junior Simeon Washington (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) had a team-high nine tackles (five solo and four assists), including a sack and two tackles for loss. Seniors Robert Riley (Mendon, Mich./Mendon) and J.J. Fierro (Kokomo, Ind./Maconaquah) were tied for second with eight tackles each.
Trine will travel to Olivet, Mich. for a MIAA matchup against Olivet College next Saturday, Oct. 13. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.