Thunder Take Over First Place in MIAA With Win Against Albion

Thunder Take Over First Place in MIAA With Win Against Albion

ANGOLA, IND.  --  In a game that saw a combined 101 points scored and over 1,100 yards of total offense, the Trine University football team took a 59-42 decision against Albion (Mich.) College in a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association matchup at Fred Zollner Athletic Stadium in Angola, Ind.

The win also propels the Thunder into first place in the conference with a 5-0 record as Kalamazoo (Mich.) College, who entered the day tied with Trine for the conference lead, fell to Olivet (Mich.) College.  

Trine put up 566 yards of total offense (266 rushing and 300 passing) on 30 fewer offensive plays than its opponent.  Albion, who came into the game ranked in the top-10 in NCAA Division III offensively, racked up 589 total yards (275 rushing and 314 passing).  

One of the highlights of the day for the Thunder offensively, was the play of junior quarterback Brandon Winters (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) who completed all nine of his passing attempts for an impressive 300 yards and three touchdowns.  He was the first 300-yard passer since former QB Brandon Roose '17 threw for 424 yards against Alma (Mich.) College in 2016.  Brandon Winters also added 58 yards rushing on the day.

Senior Lamar Carswell (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) led all rushers with 149 yards on 23 carries and had a pair of TDs.  He now has 27 total scores this season (25 rushing and two receiving) which ties his own single-season mark that he set last year.  

Senior wideout Jeffery Barnett (Fremont, Ohio/Ross) was one of two receivers to have 100 or more receiving yards with 108 yards on three catches and one TD.  He also had a 92-yard kickoff return for a score which was his second of the season, setting a single-season record for kick returns for TD.  Junior Jacob Chesney (Kirklin, Ind./Sheridan) was the other Trine receiver to finish with at least 100 yards with two catches for a team-high 110 yards and a TD.  Barnett and Chesney become the first duo to end a game with 100 or more receiving yards since the 2016 season when Barnett had 150 yards receiving and Andrew Bonfiglio '18 had 104 yards.

Defensively, sophomore Sam Cavanaugh (Muncie, Ind./Central) had a game-high 13 tackles (four solo and nine assists) and junior Simeon Washington (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) had 10 total stops (four solo and six assists), including 2.5 tackles for loss.  Senior cornerback Cayleel Hill (Owings Mills, Md./Owings Mills) had the game's only interception to go along with two tackles and three pass breakups.

Also highlighting the afternoon was a trio of performers on special teams.  Senior Marcus Winters (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) recorded a 71-yard punt return that came late in the fourth quarter.  The punt return for touchdown was his second of the season and sets a single-season mark.  In addition, sophomore kicker Lucas Garza (Syracuse, Ind./Wawasee) became the program's all-time leader in made PATs (Point After Touchdown) with 151 in his career and surpasses former kicker, Jeremy Howard '10, who had 147 successful PATs during his career.  Finally, fellow sophomore kicker Ryan Hibbets (Monticello, Ind./Twin Lakes) connected on a 48-yard field goal to set the record for the longest field goal made in a game.  The previous mark was also held by Jeremy Howard who had a 46-yarder during the 2009 season.

Trine (8-0, 5-0 MIAA) scored on its first three possessions of the game, including both drives in the first quarter that resulted in a pair of touchdowns.  Carswell got the scoring going with a 16-yard TD run at the 10:43 mark and senior QB Andrew Duckett (Niles, Mich./Brandywine) used his legs on a five-yard dash with 2:57 to go in the quarter for the other score.  The Albion (5-3, 2-3 MIAA) offense also came out firing on all cylinders and scored on two of its three drives of the opening frame as both teams were tied at 14-14 after the first 15 minutes.

The second quarter saw the home team pull away as the Thunder outscored the Britons, 24-7.  In a carryover drive from the first period, Trine scored on its first play of the second quarter when Brandon Winters connected on his first of three TD passes of the day with a 76-yard strike to Barnett to make the score 21-14.  Brandon Winters then found Chesney on the team's next drive for his second TD toss to put the Thunder ahead, 28-14.  Carswell tacked on the final touchdown of the half for Trine with four minutes to go on a six-yard run that padded the lead to 35-14.  Albion cut into the deficit with a score of its own following the Carswell run, but Trine got three of the points back when Hibbets was successful on his 48-yard field goal try with just seconds remaining to give Trine a 35-21 advantage at halftime.

In the third quarter, Brandon Winters posted his third TD completion of the game when he found junior Damon Munn (Franklin, Ind./Franklin) in the back of the endzone from 11 yards out with just under six minutes to go.  The Britons answered with a TD that capped a 10-play scoring drive, but on the ensuing kickoff, Barnett went 92 yards on the return for the score to put Trine back ahead by 24 points, 52-28, heading into the final quarter.

The final score for Trine came at the 5:21 mark of the fourth quarter when Marcus Winters picked up an Albion punt and returned it 71 yards to paydirt to make the score, 59-28.  Albion answered on its next drive with a 30-yard pass completion for a TD and then recovered an on-side kick that led to another score and made it a 59-42 ball game with 1:51 remaining.  The Britons attempted a second on-side kick, but would not secure the recovery, allowing Trine to run out the clock and remain undefeated this season with a 59-42 final.

Trine will host its final regular-season home game next Saturday, Nov. 3 when it hosts Adrian (Mich.) College at Zollner Stadium.  It will be senior day with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m.