Thunder Football News
12/14 - Brown and Puryear to Play in FCS Senior Scout Bowl
ANGOLA, Ind. - A pair of Trine University football seniors, Myron Puryear (Canton, Mich./Plymouth) and Mario Brown (Battle Creek, Mich./Battle Creek Central), were invited to participate in the 3rd annual FCS Senior Scout Bowl to be held Saturday, December 15 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The game is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. as Puryear and Brown will suit up for the North squad.
The Collegiate Development Football League (CDFL) presents an opportunity to showcase the FCS Senior Football Bowl. The FCS Senior Football Bowl brings together players who represent FCS Division football programs and other divisions as invited, to a North vs. South format all-star game in Mid-December each year. These players will have earned the honor to play against their best peers in a showcase for scouts and fans to recognize their talent.
This will be the first of two Senior Bowl games that Brown will participate in; the other is the Dream Bowl taking place on January 21, 2013 in Roanoke, Virginia. Brown, the 2012 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Pete Schmidt Memorial Scholar-Athlete Award winner, finished his career at Trine with 83 catches, which rank 8th in school history, for 1,013 yards and three touchdowns. Brown also finished his career with 78 carries for 485 yards and three scores while playing in 40 career games, despite missing the 2010 season with an injury. In 2009 after his sophomore season, Brown was named to the All-MIAA Second Team.
Puryear came to Trine as a transfer and made an immediate impact, being named a two-time All-MIAA First Team and All-Region player (Second Team in 2011 and Third Team in 2012). In his two seasons at Trine, Puryear finished with six interceptions, 112 tackles (72 solo, 42 assisted) and had a combined 651 yards on 23 kick returns. In both seasons Puryear returned a kickoff and a fumble for a touchdown. In his final season, Puryear finished tied for fifth on the team in tackles with 60 (41 solo, 19 assisted) while picking off a pass and returning a fumble 79 yards for a touchdown. During his junior season, Puryear led the Thunder with five interceptions.
Puryear and Brown will play alongside other athletes ranging from Division I to NAIA, including schools like Harvard, Brown and Coastal Carolina. The game will also be broadcast live on the internet at the following link.
12/11 - Brown Invited to Play in Inaugural Dream Bowl
ANGOLA, Ind. - Trine University senior wide receiver Mario Brown (Battle Creek, Mich./Battle Creek Central) has accepted an invitation to play in the inaugural 2013 Dream Bowl.
The postseason all-star game will be played on January 21, 2013 at Salem Stadium in Roanoke, Va. The college football all-star game is set to showcase the best NCAA Division III and NAIA players from across the country as the two division’s faceoff against one another. The game and the series of events held over Martin Luther King weekend to honor Martin Luther King’s spirit and to recall his motto “I have a dream" as a celebration of the excellence, commitment, and sacrifice made by the players and their families.
Brown, the 2012 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Pete Schmidt Memorial Scholar-Athlete Award winner, finished his career at Trine with 83 catches, which rank 8th in school history, for 1,013 yards and three touchdowns. Brown also finished his career with 78 carries for 485 yards and three scores while playing in 40 career games, despite missing the 2010 season with an injury. In 2009 after his sophomore season, Brown was named to the All-MIAA Second Team.
11/12 - Hence Named MIAA Offensive MVP
12 Thunder Players Named All-MIAA
ROYAL OAK, Mich. - After finishing the football season second in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the Trine University squad had 12 honorees on the All-MIAA squad including the Offensive Most Valuable Player in senior wide receiver/return specialist JaVontae Hence (Elkhart, Ind./Concord).This marks the third time in four years that a Trine player has earned the Conference Offensive MVP as Hence joins former All-American quarterback Eric Watt who was a two-time winner.
Senior wide receiver Mario Brown (Battle Creek, Mich./Battle Creek Central) was also named the Pete Schmidt Memorial Scholar-Athlete Award winner, which honors Pete Schmidt who was a graduate of Alma College where he competed in football and baseball. After a successful high school coaching record he became head coach at Albion College, leading the Britons to nine championships in 14 seasons (1983-96) and an NCAA Division III national championship in 1994. He died of cancer in 2000. Brown joins former Trine/Tri-State students Jeremy Howard in 2010 and Adam Garvin in 2006 to win the award.
In all, 12 Trine football players earned All-MIAA honors, one behind conference champion Adrian who had 14 total. The nine Trine players to earn first team honors were three more than Albion and four more than Adrian.
Hence was also honored as an All-MIAA First Team selections as a both a wide receiver and return specialist joining senior quarterback Ryan Hargraves (Taylor, Mich./Truman), junior left tackle Taylor Sprague (Lowell, Mich./Lowell), sophomore left guard Andrew Webster (Fort Wayne, Ind./North Side), defensive end Louis Danesi (Santa Fe, Texas/Santa Fe), junior outside linebacker Caleb Nitz (Baroda, Mich./Lakeshore), senior cornerback Myron Puryear (Canton, Mich./Plymouth) and junior kicker Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial).
Named to the All-MIAA Second Team was senior right tackle Kenny Kill (Cromwell, Ind./West Noble) and safeties junior Blaek Combs (Rushville, Ind./Rushville Consolidate) and sophomore Tyler Guzy (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater).
It marks the third straight season for Hence to be honored as All-MIAA after earning first team honors in 2011 and second team honors in 2010. Hence finished second in the conference in receptions and reception yards per game and fourth in all-purpose yards. Hence led the Thunder with 865 yards on the year and 64 catches with four touchdowns. As a returner, Hence took nine kicks back for 281 yards including an 82-yard touchdown and seven punts for 106 yards including a 79-yard score.
Hargraves helped led the Trine offense to a conference best 31.5 points per game. Through the air, Hargraves led the MIAA in total offense, averaging 227.5 yards per game, pass efficiency at 168.9 and was second in passing yards per game at 192.2 including completing 73.1 percent of his passes in MIAA play.
Sprague and Webster anchored Hargraves blind side the entire season, as both started all 10 games for the Thunder. This marks the fifth straight season that a Trine offensive lineman has earned All-MIAA First Team honors.
Keck connected on nine straight field goals to start the season, including a season-long 40-yard boot. Keck finished second in the conference in scoring, averaging 7.5 points per game, making a conference best seven field goals and was a perfect 24-for-24 on extra points which also led the conference.
On the defensive side of the ball, Puryear earns first team all-conference honors for the second straight season. Puryear was tied for fifth on the team in tackles with 60 (41 solo, 19 assisted) while also making an interception and returning a fumble 79 yards for a touchdown. Puryear also served as a kickoff returner, taking back 15 kicks for 399 yard including a season-long 92-yard score.
Danesi was the conference leader in sacks, recording 6.0 in MIAA action and 8.0 on the season, which ranks tied for second in school history. Danesi was third on the team in tackles with 68 (35 solo, 33 assisted) which included 15.5 tackles for loss, of which 9 came in conference action which ranked second.
Nitz ranked 13th in MIAA action averaging 6.8 tackles per game while finishing the season with 72 total tackles (37 solo, 35 assisted), despite missing a game due to injury. His 72 tackles ranked him 5th among all players in the MIAA on the year. Nitz also finished second on the team with 9.5 tackles for loss.
Kill earned All-MIAA honors for the first time in his career after starting all 10 games for the Thunder at right tackle.
Combs finished second in conference with four interceptions while making five total picks on the season. Combs was also fourth in the conference with 8.6 tackles per game, finishing with 60 total tackles on the season (31 solo, 29 assisted). Combs also recovered a conference leading two fumbles while making 4.5 tackles for loss on the year.
Guzy led the Thunder defense in total tackles for the season with 74 (44 solo, 30 assisted), and ranked tied for 31st in conference action with 5.0 tackles per game. The 74 tackles on the season ranked him 7th among the leaders in the conference at 7.4 per game. Guzy also recovered two fumbles and picked off a pass on the season.
11/10 - Thunder Send Seniors Out With a 'W'
ANGOLA, Ind. - It was a perfect ending to the season for the Trine University football team as they defeated Alma College 35-27 in their season finale at home. The Thunder end their second in the conference with a 5-1 record and 7-3 on the year.
Both sides struggled early in the opening quarter as Trine gained the only first down through the first five possessions of the game. The Thunder finally broke through in their third possession, as they used a short field to go juts 40 yards in six plays as senior Mike Inge (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Northern) ran in from 7 yards out.
The Thunder defense would force a turnover on Alma’s third play as freshman Jake Boswell (Kokomo, Ind./Western) intercepted the pass at the line of scrimmage. Just four plays and 23 yards later, Inge would score again, this time from just a 1-yard out.
Two possessions later, Alma would score their first points against the Thunder in 11 quarters as Shannon Geren ran in from 4 yards out. Alma would add another score just before the half with 11 seconds remaining on a 1-yard pass as the game was tied 14-14 at halftime.
After neither team scored on their opening possessions of the second half, Trine struck pay dirt on their longest drive of the day, using 11 plays to go 63 yards. Senior quarterback Ryan Hargraves (Taylor, Mich./Truman) scrambled 10 yards for the touchdown.
On the first play of Alma’s ensuing possession, sophomore Ryan Hogan (Vine Grove, Ky./Meade County) would strip the ball from the Alma running back as sophomore Tyler Guzy (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater) fell on the ball. Just five plays later sophomore Austin Shoemaker (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) ran the ball in from 7 yards out.
Alma would answer right back needing just five plays to go 75 yards to pulling within seven, 28-21.
Answering right back, the Thunder drove 70 yards, capped off by a Hargraves to Gage Corner (Leo, Ind./Leo) 17-yard touchdown, for the freshman Corner’s first TD catch of his career.
Both defenses would then pick up as Alma would block a Trine punt, and then the Thunder would answer back by forcing another fumble as junior Blaek Combs (Rushville, Ind./Rushville Consolidate) would recover.
Alma would use three long plays on their next possession to setup a score with just 16 seconds left in the game. On the point after attempt, Boswell would again come up big for the Thunder, blocking the kick. Alma would recover the on-side kick as the Thunder were unable to come up with the ball. With the clock winding down, Alma went for the Hail Mary pass, but Combs came down with the interception for Trine to end the game.
Hargraves ended the final game of his career completing 17-of-24 for 177 yards and a score while taking the ball 11 times for 16 yards and a touchdown. Shoemaker led the Thunder with 72 yards on the ground on 15 carries while reaching the end zone and 74 yards receiving on five catches. Inge finished his final game for Trine with 45 yards on 15 carries and two scores.
Senior Myron Puryear (Canton, Mich./Plymouth) led the Trine defense with nine total tackles including a game-high eight solo stops and an interception.
Trine ends their season for the six straight season with a winning record. Alma’s touchdown in the second quarter was the first the Thunder have allowed to the Scots since their October 10, 2009 game when Alma scored in the third quarter. Trine finished with a season-high three interceptions.
11/5 - Combs Named MIAA Player of the Week in Football
ROYAL OAK, Mich. - The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association has named Trine strong safety Blaek Combs its Special Teams Player of the Week in football for games played through November 3.
Combs, a junior from Rushville, Ind. (Rushville HS), blocked a punt and recovered a bad snap on another punt attempt for a touchdown in Trine’s 49-21 victory over Olivet. He also made four tackles on defense. Combs is being honored as Player of the Week for the second time this season and third time in his career.
11/3 - Big Plays Help Thunder Dominate Comets
ANGOLA, Ind. - On a day in which they dominated the football field 49-21 over Olivet College, the Trine University squad would be eliminated from the chance to earn a share of the conference crown as Adrian defeating Albion.
After the Thunder (6-3, 4-1 MIAA) forced Olivet to turn the ball over on downs on their first possession, Trine would drive 78 yards in just seven plays as sophomore Austin Shoemaker (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) pounded the ball in from 1-yard out.
Olivet would answer back as they used a 63-yard kickoff return to setup a 3-play drive to tie the game.
After both teams punted on their next possession, Trine would take six minutes off the clock, driving nearly the entire length of the field, 93 yards to hit pay dirt. It would again be Shoemaker scoring from 3 yards out to cap the 13-play drive for the Thunder.
On the Comets ensuing possession, as they were attempting to punt, the Olivet center snapped the ball high over the punters head as junior Blaek Combs (Rushville, Ind./Rushville Consolidate) recovered the ball in the end zone for the touchdown as Trine led 21-7 at the half.
Trine wouldn’t waste any time coming out of the break as senior Ryan Hargraves (Taylor, Mich./Truman) connected with fellow senior JaVontae Hence (Elkhart, Ind./Concord) on the second play from scrimmage for a 42-yard touchdown. Olivet would answer right back though, scoring on a 1-yard run by Tyre Alexander.
Not to be out-done, the Thunder would march right down the field just 3 minutes later as Hargraves scrambled from 12 yards out for the score.
After the Trine defense forced the Comets to go three-and-out, the Thunder would use just 2:47 off the clock as Hargraves found Shoemaker who eluded defenders for a 28-yard score with just 10 seconds left in the quarter.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Thunder defense would come up big once again. As the Comets went back to punt, four Trine defenders broke through the Olivet offensive line as Combs again made a big play, blocking the kick as freshman Charles Dreessen (Walkerton, Ind./John Glenn) recovered the ball, returning it 24 yards for the score.
Olivet would add one more score with 2:05 left in the game on a 4-yard run by Alexander.
The Thunder racked up just 30 more yards of total offense than Olivet (350-320), but it was Trine’s big-play ability that made the difference. Trine scored on all but two of their possessions, of which one came late in the game as the Thunder were trying to run out the clock. The Comets also had the ball longer (35:11-24:49) and gained more first downs (24-17).
Hargraves finished the day completing 10-12 through the air for 176 yards and two scores, as the offensive line didn’t allow a sack on the afternoon. Hargraves also scrambled six times for 55 yards and a score. For the second straight game Shoemaker led the Thunder ground attack with 61 yards on 15 carries and reached the end zone twice. Hence led all receivers with three catches for 101 yards.
Leading the way for the Trine defense was sophomore Tyler Guzy (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater) and junior Caleb Nitz (Baroda, Mich./Lakeshore) with a game-high nine tackles each.
Trine will conclude their season at home as they celebrate Senior Day on November 10 when they host Alma at 1:00 p.m.
10/29 - Hence Named MIAA Player of the Week in Football
ROYAL OAK, Mich. - The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association has named Trine return specialist/wide receiver JaVontae Hence its Players of the Week in football for games played through Oct. 20.
Hence, a senior from Elkhart, Ind. (Concord HS), accounted for 304 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in Trine’s 45-28 road win over Hope. He returned two kickoffs for 129 yards, including an 82-yard touchdown, and caught nine passes for 175 yards, including an MIAA-record tying 93-yard touchdown catch that broke the game open in the third quarter. Hence is being honored as Player of the Week for the second time this season, both as special teams, and fifth time in his career.
10/27 - Thunder Come Alive in Win over Hope
HOLLAND, Mich. - After their bye week, the Trine University football team put up their biggest offensive effort in nearly two years and avenging a conference loss from a season ago, defeating Hope 45-28. The Thunder are now 5-3 on the season and 3-1 in the MIAA.
The Thunder caught the Hope return team off-guard to start the game, using a short kick, which the Thunder recovered to start the game. Just five plays later senior Ryan Hargraves (Taylor, Mich./Truman) would find sophomore Zach Hess (Eagle, Mich./Grand Ledge) from 12 yards out for the score.
Hope would answer back on their ensuing drive, converting on a 40-yard field goal.
Trine would then return with an answer of their own with an 8-play, 75-yard drive as junior Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) converted on his ninth straight field goal, scoring from 22 yards out. The scoring would continue, as Hope would answer back again, this time scoring a touchdown on a 13-yard pass to tie the game at 10-10.
Senior JaVontae Hence (Elkhart, Ind./Concord) gave the Thunder good field position with a 47-yard kick return on the ensuing kickoff as the first quarter came to a close.
On the first play of the second quarter, Hargraves would find sophomore Anthony Yoder (Goshen, Ind./Concord) open for a 20-yard touchdown as the Thunder would again take the lead. As the scoring continued, Hope would again answer with a field goal, this time from 32 yards.
However this time on the ensuing kickoff, Hence would take the return all the way to the house, going 82 yards for his first score on a kickoff this season. Once again though, Hope would have an answer, converting again on a field goal from 28 yards.
The scoring marathon would end when Keck’s 31-yard field goal attempt was blocked. Hope however had other things in mind as they used the turnover to their advantage scoring on a 35-yard pass just before the half. The two-point conversion was no good as the Thunder led 24-22 at the break.
Trine would start the second half just as they did the first. A 24-yard pass from Hargraves to Yoder would setup Hargraves to scramble in from 3 yards out to put the Thunder up by nine.
Both offenses would finally be slowed down as the defenses stepped up in the third quarter. Hope was forced to punt on their next possession, then Hargraves would be intercepted deep in Trine territory. Hope would then drive all the way down to the 1-yard-line, but the Thunder defense stepped up big. On third and fourth downs the Thunder defense stopped the run on both plays to turn the ball over.
With the ball at the 1-yard-line, Hargraves would run twice to get the Thunder breathing room. On the first play to start the fourth quarter, Hargraves would find Hence down the left side of the field as Hence was off to the races, scoring on a school record 93-yard touchdown pass.
On Hope’s first play from scrimmage, sophomore Cory Peart (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Western) would intercept the Michael Atwell pass deep in Trine territory. However, fortunes would reverse as Hargraves would throw his second interception of the game inside the Hope 20-yard-line. Hope would need just three plays to score from there, as again the two-point conversion would be no good as senior Myron Puryear (Canton, Mich./Plymouth) picked off the pass.
Trine would put the game away on the following procession as the Thunder ground attack took over. Trine ran the ball nine of their 10 plays as sophomore Austin Shoemaker (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) earned his first collegiate touchdown as he ran in 5 yards out to cap the 54-yard drive.
The Trine defense would again step-up as they forced the Flying Dutchmen to turn the ball over twice on downs, allowing just one first down over the final 12 plays, recording three sacks, including one on the final play of the game.
It was a game of career- and season-bests for the Thunder offense as they accumulated 518 yards of offense for the day and 24 first downs. The 45 points scored by the Thunder was the most since they also scored 45 in their playoff win over DePauw on November 20, 2010. It was also the most points that Trine has scored in their 10 all-time meetings with Hope, in which Trine is now 4-6.
Hargraves finished the day with a season-high 302 yards through the air, completing 19-of-25 and three scores. Hargraves also ran for 26 yards and a touchdown. Shoemaker finished his career day with 25 carries for 151 yards. Hence also finished the day with a career-best 175 yards receiving on nine catches while also having a solid day in the return game, with two returns for 129 yards.
The junior trio of Caleb Nitz (Baroda, Mich./Lakeshore), Derek Posey (Newark, Ohio/Utica) and Blaek Combs (Rushville, Ind./Rushville Consolidate) led the Trine defense with nine tackles each. Seven of Posey’s tackles were solo stops while Nitz recorded two tackles for loss and Combs recorded one. Freshman Charles Dreessen (Walkerton, Ind./John Glenn) recorded a game-high 1.5 sacks.
Trine returns home to host Olivet on November 3 for a 1:00 p.m. game.
10/13 - Black and Blue Border Brawl Lives Up to the Name
ADRIAN, Mich. - In a day that was dominated by the defenses, the Trine University football team dropped the annual Black and Blue Border Brawl to Adrian 10-3. The Thunder are now 4-3 on the season and drop their first MIAA game of the season to fall to 2-1.
Trine’s defense came up with the first stop of the game as the Adrian offense was driving deep into Thunder territory. With the ball on the Trine 13-yard line, the Thunder defense stopped the Adrian run for no gain and then forced an incomplete pass. The Bulldogs would attempt a 27-yard field goal, but thanks to the Thunder pressure, the kick would sail wide right.
After Trine was unable to get anything going on their first possession, the Bulldogs would again start to drive into Trine territory. Once again though, the Thunder defense would come up big as reigning MIAA Defensive Player of the Week junior Blaek Combs (Rushville, Ind./Rushville Consolidate) would intercept the Taylor Copacia pass at the 35-yard line.
After the Thunder would go three-and-out to start the second quarter, the Trine defense would force the Bulldogs to settle for a 22-yard field goal. Adrian had driven down to the Trine 3-yard line, but the Thunder defense came up with a big stop on third down.
On the ensuing possession, Trine would attempt to go for it on fourth down, but senior running back Michael Inge (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Northern) would be stopped at the line of scrimmage on 4th-and-2. Adrian would use the good field position to score the game’s only touchdown on 3rd-and-goal from the Trine 1-yard line. Adrian would have another opportunity right before the half, but again the Trine defense held the Bulldogs as the 38-yard field goal attempt went wide left.
In the second half, defense would rule the field as the Thunder held Adrian to just 63 yards, all of which came on the ground. Adrian’s lone opportunity came early in the third quarter, but once again it would be Combs coming up with his third interception in the last two games, picking off the Adrian pass at the 3-yard line.
Trine made it a one possession game with 1:52 remaining in the game when junior Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) connected on his seventh straight field goal of the season from 22 yards out. The drive was setup when Adrian was called for pass interference and a personal foul on the same play. Senior Ryan Hargraves (Taylor, Mich./Truman) would then find junior Mario Hernandez (Bronson, Mich./Bronson) for an 18-yard completion to put the ball at the Bulldogs 3-yard line.
The Thunder would then try an onside kick, but the ball would go out-of-bounds, giving Adrian the ball as they were then able to run out the clock.
Hargraves finished with a game-high 11-of-18 for 116 yard through the air and added in 22 yards on the ground. Inge finished the rainy afternoon with 13 carries for 54 yards. Senior JaVontae Hence (Elkhart, Ind./Concord) led all received on the day with eight catches for 76 yards.
Senior Myron Puryear (Canton, Mich./Plymouth), junior Caleb Nitz (Baroda, Mich./Lakeshore) and freshman Michael Spears (Kendallville, Ind./East Noble) led the Trine defense with a game-high nine tackles each. All three players also recorded a tackle for loss. Junior Louis Danesi (Santa Fe, Texas/Santa Fe) made eight stops on the day, including two for a loss and a sack. Combs followed up a career-best game last week with seven tackles (five solo) and picking off two passes.
For the day, Adrian out-gained the Thunder 313-199, as they had possession more than 10 minutes over Trine (36:52-23:08). On third-down conversions for the afternoon, the Thunder went 4-of-12 while Adrian completed 7-of-15 attempts.
This marks the first time since 2005-2006 that Trine has dropped back-to-back games to Adrian; 2006 was also the last time the Thunder fell at Adrian’s field. The game saw the second fewest points scored in the 10 career match-ups between the two schools, only the 9-0 Trine win in 2008 had fewer combined points.
Trine will now use their bye week to recuperate before returning to the field on October 27 when they travel to Hope to avenge last season’s loss to the Flying Dutchmen.
10/10 - Combs Named to D3Football.com Team of the Week
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - For the second time this week, Trine University football player Blaek Combs (Rushville, Ind./Rushville) earned honors, this time being named to the National D3football.com Team of the Week presented by Scoutware for his performance against Albion College.
Combs, a junior, was already honored as the conference Defensive Player of the Week after making a career- and game-high 17 tackles, eight solo, and came up with a clutch interception in the game’s final minute to preserve Trine’s 27-22 win over defending conference champion Albion. He is the third Trine player to be named to the National Team of the Week, joining Caleb Nitz and Nick Muir.
The full list of honorees can be found here. Link
10/8 - Hargraves and Combs Named MIAA POW in Football
ROYAL OAK, Mich. - The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association has named Trine quarterback Ryan Hargraves and strong safety Blaek Combs its Players of the Week in football for games played through Oct. 6.
Hargraves, a senior from Taylor, Michigan (Truman HS), was named the Offensive Player of the Week as he accounted for 249 yards total offense in leading the Thunder to a 27-22 victory over Albion that moved the Thunder into a share of first place in the MIAA. He ran 83 yards for a touchdown on the game’s second play to give the Thunder a lead it would not lose. He also completed 11 of 15 passes for 166 yards. Hargraves is being honored as Player of the Week for the first time this season and second time in his career.
Combs, a junior from Rushville, Indiana (Rushville HS), was named the MIAA Defensive Player of the Week after making a career- and game-high 17 tackles and came up with a clutch interception in the game’s final minute to preserve Trine’s 27-22 win over Albion. He is being honored
10/6 - Thunder Earn Big Win on Homecoming
ANGOLA, Ind. - It took just five plays for the Trine University football team to sprint to a lead, helping them pick up a huge win as they knocked off defending conference champion Albion College 27-22 on homecoming. The Thunder improve to 4-2 on the season and are now just one of two undefeated teams in the conference at 2-0.
The scoring came fast as furious for the Thunder to start the game. After going for the long pass on their first play of the game, senior quarterback Ryan Hargraves (Taylor, Mich./Truman) would scramble for a career-long 83-yard touchdown to put the Thunder on the board. On the ensuing Albion possession, the Britons running back Darrin Williams would fumble the ball on their third play as senior Myron Puryear (Canton, Mich./Plymouth) would recover the ball and scramble for 79 yards and the score to give Trine a 14-0 lead just 2:09 into the game.
Albion would answer back going 81 yards in eight plays as Clinton Orr ran for a 28-yard score, but the point after attempt failed when the Albion holder was unable to snatch the low snap.
On the Britons next possession, the Thunder defense would come up big as Albion was driving deep into Trine territory. On third-down and the ball on the Trine 16-yard-line, sophomore Tyler Guzy (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater) would intercept the Dominic Dona Pass at the 2-yard-line to end the Albion threat. Trine would use the turnover to their advantage as they drove nearly the entire length of the field in just 13 plays as senior Mike Inge (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Northern) capped off the drive as he ran the ball in from 4 yard outs to give the Thunder a 21-6 advantage.
Not to be counted out though, the defending conference champs would answer back as Orr would score on an 18-yard run as the two-point conversion pass was intercepted.
The Thunder would score once more before the end of the half as junior Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) would split the uprights from 32 yards out as time expired to give Trine a 24-12 halftime advantage.
Albion would start the third quarter with a field goal of the own, a 21-yard kick, but the defense for both teams would prevail in the quarter as the two sides traded three-and-outs.
Trine’s lead would be cut to just two as the Britons started the fourth quarter with a 10-yard touchdown run by Williams. The Thunder would answer right back, using a short field thanks to a 39-yard kickoff return by Puryear as Keck capped off the Thunder’s seven play drive by drilling a 30-yard field goal attempt.
Neither team would be able to get much going on their next possessions as the game would come down to one final drive by Albion.
After a holding penalty to start their drive, Trine sophomore Ryan Hogan (Vine Grove, Ky./Meade County) and junior Louis Danesi (Santa Fe, Texas/Santa Fe) sacked Bona for a 5-yard loss to bring up fourth down. Albion would convert on the 4th-and-15 with a 22-yard pass and the first-down. After another first-down put the Britons near mid-field, another holding penalty would push them back. After two incomplete passes, Bona would be intercepted by junior Blaek Combs (Rushville, Ind./Rushville Consolidate) at the Trine 15 to seal the Thunder victory.
Hargraves led the Thunder through the air and on the ground as he completed 11-of-15 for 166 yards, while scrambling for a net of 83 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. Inge finished the afternoon with 49 yards on 21 carries and a score on the ground. Senior JaVontae Hence (Elkhart, Ind./Concord) caught five passes for a game-high 60 yards.
Combs led all players with a career-high 17 tackles (8 solo) including one for a loss, a pick and a pass break-up. Danesi finished with nine tackles (3 solo), a half sack, and a tackle for loss.
For the afternoon, Albion out-gained the Thunder 356-300, but the Trine defense came up with three turnovers (2 interceptions and 1 fumble). Trine was 3-of-9 on third-down conversions while the Britons converted 5-of-14; Albion was also 3-for-4 on fourth-downs.
Trine has now won four of the last five meeting between the two schools and is now 4-1 against Albion at home in conference play.
Trine will face-off against the only other unbeaten team in conference when they travel to Adrian on October 13 for a 4:00 p.m. game as they try and avenge a 26-7 loss a season ago.
10/1 - Danesi and Keck Named MIAA Football POW
ROYAL OAK, Mich. - The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association has named Trine defensive end Louis Danesi and placekicker Tyler Keck its Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week in football for games played through September 29.
Danesi, a junior from Santa Fe, Texas (Santa Fe HS), earned Player of the Week honors for the second week in a row with seven tackles, including three sacks for 40 yards in losses, in Trine’s 30-20 victory over Kalamazoo. He is being honored as Player of the Week for the second time in his career.
Keck, a junior from Elkhart, Indiana (Elkhart Memorial HS), kicked field goals of 27, 30 and 40 yards, and added three extra points in the Thunder’s MIAA-opening win over Kalamazoo. He also averaged 51.4 yards on kickoffs, including one touchback. He is being honored as Player of the Week for the first time in his career.
9/29 - Thunder End Hornets Comeback Bid
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - In their conference opener, the Trine University football team fought off a second half comeback by Kalamazoo to take down the Hornets 30-20. The Thunder improve to 3-2 on the season with the victory.
The Thunder opening the game by scoring on their first drive, going 81 yards on just seven plays to go up early. Senior quarterback Ryan Hargraves (Taylor, Mich./Truman) found sophomore tight end Zach Hess (Eagle, Mich./Grand Ledge) on a 41-yard pass to take the Thunder down inside the red-zone. From there senior Mike Inge (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Northern) ran the ball on back-to-back plays, scoring from 9 yards out.
After forcing a three-and-out on the Hornets first possession, the Thunder would charge 57 yards down the field as junior Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) would drill his first field goal of the day from 30 yards out.
The Thunder defense would again force Kalamazoo to punt, allowing the Hornets offense just 7 yards. This time Trine needed just five plays and 1:43 to score as Hargraves found fellow senior JaVontae Hence (Elkhart, Ind./Concord) for the 30-yard touchdown.
Kalamazoo would earn their first, first down of the game on their opening possession of the second quarter before Aaron McGuire was able to scramble 50 yards for the score. Trine would go three-and-out as Kalamazoo followed with another score, this time on a 24-yard pass. The Hornets would miss field goals from 41 and 25 yards, the latter coming with just three second left in the half as Trine would head to the locker room with a 17-14 lead.
The Hornets came back out in the second half and scored on their opening possession, scoring from 7 yards out, but the PAT would be missed. That would be the final time the Hornets would find the end zone as the Trine defense stepped it up from there.
Later in the third quarter, Trine would use a short field, going just 36 yards capped off by a 1-yard run by Hargraves for the score, as the Thunder regained the lead for good.
Keck would add two field goals in the fourth quarter, a career-long from 40 yards followed by a 27-yard field goal with 6:07 left in the game.
Late in the quarter Kalamazoo attempted to pull within three, as they went for it on 4th-and-5, but sophomore Ryan Hogan (Vine Grove, Ky./Meade County) came up with his second sack of the season to give Trine the ball back on downs. On the Hornets final possession, Kalamazoo would drive down to the Thunder 10, but the defense would hold strong as they forced three incomplete passes to end the game.
Hargraves finished the afternoon with a season-high 211 passing yards while completing 18-of-24 through the air. Hence also caught a season-high 11 passes from Hargraves for 137 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, Inge finished just 2 yards shy of the century mark, finishing the day with 98 yards on 25 carries.
The Trine defense came up big late in the game as freshman Michael Spears (Kendallville, Ind./East Noble) led the Thunder with 13 tackles, 11 of which were solo stops. Senior Tully Chapman (Eaton Rapids, Mich./Eaton Rapids) and junior Louis Danesi (Santa Fe, Texas/Santa Fe) each recorded seven tackles (six solo), as Danesi made three sacks on the day while Chapman also added one.
In all, the Thunder defense recorded seven sacks (all solo) on the day which is second most in school history and was the most since they also recoding seven as a team against Kentucky Christian on November 14, 2009. Danesi’s three individual sacks are also tied for second most in school history, behind Nathan Denton who recorded 3.5 sacks on September 11, 2010 at Bluffton.
Both teams had 14 third-down opportunities, as Kalamazoo converted on six of them and the Thunder five. The Hornets finished the afternoon with more offensive yardage, out-gaining Trine 378-350. The key difference in the game came in the red-zone as Trine was a perfect 4-for-4 while the Thunder defense held Kalamazoo to 2-for-5 on opportunities.
Trine will celebrate homecoming with their toughest test of the season when they host defending conference champion Albion College on October 6 at 1:00 p.m.
9/24 - Danesi and Hence Named MIAA Football POW
ROYAL OAK, Mich. - The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association has named Trine University’s defensive end Louis Danesi and return specialist/wide receiver JaVontae Hence its Players of the Week in football for games played through September 22.
Danesi, a junior from Santa Fe, Texas (Santa Fe), recorded 10 tackles, including three for 16 yards in losses and two quarterback sacks, as the Thunder posted a 28-13 victory over Taylor, Ind. Six of Danesi’s tackles were solo stops. He is being honored as Player of the Week for the first time in his career.
Hence, a senior from Elkhart, Ind. (Concord), had 216 all-purpose yards of offense and two touchdowns in Trine’s 28-13 win over Taylor. Hence caught a 50-yard touchdown pass and returned a punt 79 yards for a score within a span of less than two minutes in the third quarter to ignite the Thunder’s comeback from a 10-0 halftime deficit. Hence, who is being honored as Player of the Week for the first time this season and fourth time in his career, finished with 107 return yards and caught four passes for 109 yards.
9/22 - Thunder Earn Comeback Win in a Tale of Two Halfs
ANGOLA, Ind. - In a tale of two half’s, the Trine University football team mounted a second half comeback, defeating Taylor (IN) 28-13 in their final non-conference game of the year. The Thunder end their two-game losing streak to improve to 2-2 on the season.
Taylor, who received votes in the most recent NAIA national poll, jumped out to an early 10-0 lead in the first quarter after the Thunder offense was able to only manage 23 yards in the opening quarter. The Trojans used a short field to drive just 32 yards for the games first touchdown after the game had been delayed an hour because of heavy rains and lightening. Near the end of the quarter Taylor converted on a 46-yard field goal by Alec Eichert.
Neither team was able to find the end zone in the second quarter. Taylor would have the best opportunity late in the half after the Thunder muffed a punt return attempt and the Trojans were able to recover at the Trine 26. On fourth down, Trine senior Myron Puryear (Canton, Mich./Plymouth) was able to partially block the 39-yard field goal attempt, as the Thunder trailed 10-0 at halftime.
At the start of the second half the rain began clear and the sun began to shine down on the Thunder. On the ninth play of their opening possession of the half, senior quarterback Ryan Hargraves (Taylor, Mich./Truman) found fellow senior JaVontae Hence (Elkhart, Ind./Concord) down the right sideline for a 50-yard touchdown.
After the Trine defense forced a three-and-out, Hence would again deliver for the Thunder on the punt return. Hence took the kick back 79 yards, as he dodged through the Trojan defense, breaking several tackles and receiving one final block on the Taylor punter from the Thunder return team to send Hence to the house. Hence broke the school record for the longest punt return which was set by Aaron Selking on September 11, 2010 when he took back a 75-yard punt at Bluffton.
The Trine defense would again step up with Taylor driving deep into their zone. Taylor pushed the ball down to the Trine 22 before the defense came up with back-to-back incomplete passes. On fourth down, the special teams came up big again, forcing the Trojan kicker to miss wide left from 39 yards outs.
Trine would come right back with another scoring drive, going 78 yards on 12 plays, capped off by a 5-yard touchdown pass from Hargraves to junior Jeff Harbrecht (Lowell, Ind./Lowell). Hargraves completed two third-down conversions earlier in the drive on a pair 23-yard completions to sophomore Anthony Yoder (Goshen, Ind./Concord).
The ensuing possession for the Trojans would again put them deep in Trine territory, but a 15-yard personal foul on third down, forced them to settle for a 36-yard field goal.
The Thunder would put the game away on the following possession as they needed just four plays before senior Mike Inge (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Northern) broke free on a 49-yard run, the longest of his career, that saw him burst through the Taylor defense.
Taylor’s next possession would see the Trine defense step up again as they forced an incomplete pass on a fourth-and-18. After Trine had to punt with 1:37 left on the clock, freshman Travis Smith (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) recorded his first career interception on third down, to cement the win for the Thunder.
Inge led the Thunder with a career-, season-, and game-high 130 yards on the ground. Hargraves had his best game of the season in the pocket completing 11-of-16 passes for 189 yards and two scores. Hence finished the afternoon with 109 receiving yards on four catches while returning three punts for 92 yards.
Defensively, junior Louis Danesi (Santa Fe, Texas/Santa Fe) made 10 tackles (six solo) including two solo sacks. Sophomore Tyler Guzy (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater) and freshman Mike Spears (Kendallville, Ind./East Noble) both finished with nine tackles for the day.
Trine ran the ball a season-high 42 times for 135 yards while the Trojans finished with just 75 yards on the ground. Taylor out-gained the Thunder in the air with 211 yards compared to 189 for the Thunder. Trine converted on 9-of-15 third down chances while Taylor was able to convert on 7-of-18 opportunities.
It was the first meeting between the two teams since October 5, 2002, as Trine won their fourth straight game against the Trojans. The Thunder now lead the all-time series 6-3.
Trine will begin conference play when they travel to Kalamazoo on September 29 for a 1:00 p.m. game.
9/18 - Muir Named to D3Football.com Team of the Week
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - For the second time this season, a Trine University football player has been named to the National D3football.com Team of the Week presented by Scoutware, as junior punter Nick Muir (Niles, Mich./Edwardsburg) was honored for his game against Concordia (WI).
The Second Team All-MIAA honoree was the only punter selected as he had one of the best punting games in school history as he attempted six punts on the day, netting 291 yards for a school record average of 48.5. Two of those punts pinned the Falcons inside their own 20 yard line. Late in the fourth quarter Muir also boomed a school record 81 yard punt from deep within Trine’s own territory.
The Thunder are the only team in the MIAA conference to have a player named to the Team of the Week this season. In addition, through three weeks of play Trine is one of only nine teams to have a player honored in multiple weeks by D3football.
The full list of honorees can be found here. Link
9/15 - Late Interception Send Trine Home with a Loss
MEQUON, Wis. - An interception with just four second left in the game sent the Trine University football team home with their second straight non-conference loss for the first time since 2006, falling to Concordia (WI) 13-10. The Thunder now return home with a 1-2 record.
Trine would get on the board first, scoring late in the first quarter. With the Falcons punting from their own 29, sophomore Zach Hess (Eagle, Mich./Grand Ledge) blocked the Concordia punt and junior Caleb Nitz (Baroda, Mich./Lakeshore) recovered the ball in the end zone for the Trine touchdown. It was the first blocked kick by the Thunder since Brandon Killingbeck knocked one away on October 30, 2010 against Olivet.
On the following possession, Concordia would drive the ball down 77 yards, scoring on a 12-yard touchdown pass.
From there, the two teams combined for just 28 yards the rest of the quarter, as the score remained 7-7 at halftime.
After Trine opened the second half with a three and out, Concordia would drive 51 yards and score three points on a 39-yard field goal.
Senior Myron Puryear (Canton, Mich./Plymouth) took the ensuing kickoff back 60 yards, all the way down to the Falcons 21 yard line. Senior Ryan Hargraves (Taylor, Mich./Truman) would find fellow senior JaVontae Hence (Elkhart, Ind./Concord) for an 8-yard completion on fourth down. After three consecutive incomplete passes, the Thunder tied the game with a 24-yard field goal from junior Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial).
Concordia would again take the lead on the next possession, this time on a 29-yard field goal. Both teams would have two chances at the end zone, but all of which resulted in punts.
Trine’s final opportunity came with 2:30 left on the clock as the Thunder quickly drove down to the Falcons 35 yard line. Hargraves would be sacked on first down for a seven yard loss. After an incomplete pass on third down, Hargraves found another senior in Mario Brown (Battle Creek, Mich./Battle Creek Central) wide open on the left sideline for a 19-yard gain. After a Concordia timeout, on the very next play Hargraves was looking for a receiver down the middle, but was picked off by the Concordia linebacker at the Falcons six, ending the game.
Hargraves finished the afternoon completing 13-of-27 for 144 yards and two interceptions while being sacked four times. Sophomore Jared Barton (Middleton, Mich./Fulton) led the Thunder’s ground attack, rushing for a game-high 41 yards on 15 carries. Hence led the Trine receivers with five catches on 35 yards, while Brown had 36 yards on two catches.
Defensively, sophomore Tyler Guzy (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater) led the Thunder with 15 tackles (six solo). Puryear finished with 12 stops (seven solo) and Louis Danesi made 11 tackles (three solo), including game-high 2.5 for loss.
Hence’s fifth and final catch in the fourth quarter made him Trine’s all-time career leader in pass receptions with 151, passing Le’Once Belton (1996-1999) who finished his career with 150.
Junior punter Nick Muir (Niles, Mich./Edwardsburg) had an outstanding game, setting two school records. Muir netted 291 yards, which is sixth all-time in school history, on six punts for a record-setting average of 48.5 per punt. Muir also booted a school record 81 yarder during the fourth quarter from the Trine 19 yard line. The previous record was held by Nathan Fitzsimmons, a 68 yarder during a home game against Washington & Jefferson on September 3, 2005.
Trine will look to end their first consecutive losing streak since 2007, when they host NAIA Taylor University on September 22 at 1:00 p.m.
9/8 - Trine Drops Non-Conference Game on the Road
ELMHURST, Ill. - It was unfamiliar territory for the Trine University football team as their non-conference regular season win streak was snapped at 10 games, falling to Elmhurst College 31-13. The Thunder’s record now stands at 1-1 on the year.
The Thunder looked impressive on their opening drive as they marched down the field 75 yards eating up 8:46 off the clock. It took Trine 17 plays but senior quarterback Ryan Hargraves (Taylor, Mich./Truman) found sophomore tight end Zach Hess (Eagle, Mich./Grand Ledge) in the end zone from 10 yards out for Hess’ first career score.
The Blue Jays would match the Thunder, also going 75 yards in 7:17 and using 17 plays to tie the game.
After Trine went three-and-out on their next possession, the Thunder defense was able to hold the line on a fourth and one. Trine would be unable to use the short field to their advantage and had to punt. Elmhurst would drive down the field in just nine plays to tack on a 36-yard field goal and would never relinquish the lead.
Hargraves would throw in interception with under two minutes to go in the half giving the Blue Jays the ball at their own 40. Elmhurst would recover their own fumble in the end zone for the touchdown with just 14 seconds left in the half to lead 17-7 at the break.
The second half would start just like the first half with Elmhurst driving down the field first, scoring on a 15-yard run. Trine would answer back driving 75 yards, capped off by senior Mike Inge (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Northern) from three yards out for the score.
The Trine momentum couldn’t be held as the Blue Jays would answer right back, this time driving 75 yards on 11 plays, scoring on a 15-yard pass from Joe Furco to Ryan Maguire.
Trine would have their opportunity to close the gap as they were driving into the Elmhurst red-zone early in the fourth. With the ball at the Blue Jays three yard line, Hargraves would be knocked down and stripped of the ball, allowing Elmhurst to recover. Trine’s final chance to score would come late in the quarter, but Hargraves would throw his second interception of the game with the ball at their own 38. Trine would not get another opportunity as the Blue Jays were able to run out the clock.
Hargraves has a solid all-around game, completing 16-22 passes for 165 yards. Hargraves also led the Thunder on the ground rushing for 90 yards on 12 attempts. Sophomore Jared Barton (Middleton, Mich./Fulton) finished the afternoon with 81 yards on 20 carries. Senior JaVontae Hence (Elkhart, Ind./Concord) was the only Trine receiver to catch more than one pass, going for 82 yards on nine catches.
Sophomore Tyler Guzy (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater) led the Thunder defense with 13 tackles (10 solo) and recorded one of Trine’s two sacks.
Elmhurst’s Scottie Williams finished with 229 rushing yards, while the Blue Jays compiled 319 total yards on the ground. It was the most rushing yard the Trine defense has allowed in a game since November 27, 2010 when Wisconsin-Whitewater ran for 324 during a playoff game and the most in a regular season game since MacMurray also rushed for 319 yards on September 17, 2005.
Trine’s last regular season non-conference loss also came on the road on September 26, 2009 to Franklin College.
Trine will look to get back to their winning ways when they travel to Concordia (WI) on September 15 for a 2:00 p.m. (est) game as a part of the MIAA/NAC Challenge.
9/4 - Nitz Named to D3football.com Team of the Week
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Trine University football player Caleb Nitz (Baroda, Mich./Stevensville Lakeshore) has been named to the National D3football.com Team of the Week presented by Scoutware.
Nitz, a junior linebacker, was also named the MIAA Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts during Trine’s 24-14 win over Manchester University. Nitz, one of four linebackers honored, led the Trine defense with 12 tackles, six of them solo stops, and had 1.5 tackles for loss in the Thunder’s victory. Nitz is the first Trine player to be named to the D3fiitball.com Team of the Week since Blaek Combs was recognized on October 10, 2011.
The full list of honorees can be found here. Link
8/30 - Thunder Roll to Victory in Season Opener
ANGOLA, Ind. - For the sixth straight year the Trine University football team has started their season with a win as they defeated Manchester University 24-14 behind a 17-point second quarter.
After neither team was able to get going in the opening quarter, both sides broke the game open in the second quarter, started by a 15 play, 80 yard drive by Trine that was capped off by a two yard run from senior quarterback Ryan Hargraves (Taylor, Mich./Truman) to put the Thunder on the board first.
The Spartans would answer right back with a long drive of their own, going 19 plays and 78 yards to tie the game on four yard run by Austin Adams.
The tie game wouldn’t last long though. On the ensuing kickoff, senior Myron Puryear (Canton, Mich./Plymouth) took the kick back 92 yards for his second career kickoff return for a touchdown. Trine’s defense came up big on Manchester’s ensuing possession forcing a three and out.
The Thunder would again drive down the field as Hargraves connected on a 16 yard pass to fellow senior JaVontae Hence (Elkhart, Ind./Concord) and then another to sophomore Luke Roush (Marion, Ind./Southern Wells) for 11 yards. Junior Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) would connect on a 39 yard field goal with just 13 seconds left in the half to give the Thunder a 17-7 lead at the break.
The third quarter would again see neither team put points up on the scoreboard. Trine was able to connect on four first downs, but committed three penalties for 20 yards.
Trine opened the fourth quarter by going three and out allowing Manchester to use a short field, driving just 37 yards on six plays, capped off by an 18 yard run by the Spartan quarterback Nick Williams.
After Trine went three and out, the Thunder defense came up big again as they forced the Spartans to turn over the ball on downs after causing an incomplete pass. This time Trine would use the short field to their advantage as they needed just 46 yards to put the game away. Hargraves would easily score his second rushing touchdown of the game on a draw play from 11 yards out. Hargraves score was setup when his pass found fellow senior Sean Collins (Fort Wayne, Ind./Northrop) for the longest play from scrimmage of the night for 29 yards.
Junior Blaek Combs (Rushville, Ind./Rushville Consolidate) put an exclamation mark on the game as he intercepted the Manchester pass on third down to run out the final seconds on the clock and secure the victory for the Thunder.
On the night Hargraves completed 13-of-23 passes for 123 yards while running for 28 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns. On the ground for the Thunder, sophomore Jared Barton (Middleton, Mich./Fulton) led the way with a game-high 73 yards on 18 carries. Hence led all receivers with seven catches for 64 yards.
On the defensive side, junior Caleb Nitz (Baroda, Mich./Lakeshore) had a game-high 12 tackles (6 solo). Fellow junior Tony Miranda (Goshen, Ind./NorthWood) recorded eight tackles while sophomore Ryan Hogan (Vine Grove, Ky./Meade County) recorded Trine’s only sack of the game.
The two teams had nearly identical statistics for the night as Manchester out-gained the Thunder 259-244 in total yards. The Spartans ran for 133 yards while Trine scrambled for 121. Manchester threw for three more yards than the Thunder 126-123. Trine converted 6-of-13 on third downs while going a perfect 3-3 on red-zone opportunities.
The win improves Trine to 12-6 all-time in season openers. It marks the sixth straight win against Manchester, improving their all-time record against the Spartans to 6-1.
Trine will head out on the road to Elmhurst College for the first-ever meeting between the two schools on September 8 beginning at 2:00 pm (est.).
8/2 - Thunder Picked Third by MIAA Coaches
ANGOLA, Ind. - The Trine University football team was picked third in the preseason Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) coaches poll a season after their streak of three straight MIAA conference titles ended. Adrian College topped the poll with defending conference champion Albion College a close second. Trine was picked third, one point ahead of Hope College. Rounding out the poll was Alma, Kalamazoo and Olivet.
The Thunder will return eight starters on the offensive side of the ball including senior quarterback Ryan Hargraves who will lead a potent offense that includes a trio of returning wide receivers in seniors Mario Brown, Will Chrystal and First Team All-MIAA Ja Vontae Hence. The Thunder must replace their second all-time leading rusher in Kent Biller and will look to a quartet of players to solidify the run game.
On the defensive side of the ball, the squad returns seven starters and will look to All-North Region Second Team defensive back, senior Myron Puryear, to lead the way. Last year’s second leading tackler, senior Ben Mohr, will return to help lead the way at linebacker. The Thunder are young on the defensive line after losing all four starters from a season ago. The squad returns sack leader sophomore Aaron Wolf and junior Louis Danesi who was fourth on the team in tackles for loss.
Trine’s special teams will be solid for another season as the junior tandem of kicker Tyler Keck and All-MIAA Second Team punter Nic Muir will enter the year as the starters. Keck was second on the team in scoring and led the conference in PAT conversions last year while Muir was second in the conference in punting.
“The biggest key for us this year will be to stay healthy,” seventh-year head coach Matt Land said. “The other thing we are really talking about is being an angry team. We were not happy that we didn’t win the conference title last season. We are going to try and get the title back, but in this league you never know what is going to happen. I look forward to seeing how the season unfolds and it’s going to be a fun year.”
The Thunder will kick off the 2012 season as they open the year under the lights in their only night game of the season as they host Manchester on Thursday, August 30 at 7:00 pm. Trine will head out on the road for a pair of games against opponents they have never faced. Trine will take on Elmhurst (Ill.) on September 8, followed by the MIAA/NAC Challenge game on September 15 at Concordia (Wis.).
The Thunder will return home to face Taylor for the first time since Trine moved to Division III on September 22, the last time the two teams met was in 2002. Trine will then begin conference play on the road at Kalamazoo on September 29. The home conference schedule will begin the following week as the Thunder host defending conference champion Albion on October 6, which is scheduled as the 2012 homecoming weekend.
Trine will then head back out on the road for a matchup with Adrian on October 13. After a bye week, the Thunder will travel to Hope on October 27 before rounding out their season schedule with back-to-back home contests against Olivet (Nov. 3) and Alma (Nov. 10).
Poll Results (first-place votes in parenthesis): 1. Adrian (3) 10 pts. 2. Albion (3) 11. 3. Trine 16. 4. Hope (1) 17. 5. Alma 30. 6. Kalamazoo 31. 7. Olivet 32.