Thunder Football News
12/5 - MIAA, CCIW Reach football scheduling agreement
ROYAL OAK, Mich. â€“ The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) and the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) have come to a scheduling agreement in the sport of football for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, as announced on Thursday.
For the first season, CCIW institutions will travel to the MIAA’s seven football-playing schools while St. Norbert of the Midwest Conference will serve as the MIAA’s eighth institution for this scheduling agreement. Games for 2014 will be played on Saturday, September 13.
In 2015, CCIW institutions will play host to the seven MIAA schools and St. Norbert.
MIAA Commissioner David Neilson and CCIW Commissioner Chris Martin randomly selected the matchups for 2014 based upon each team’s 2013 record, taking the top four teams, and the bottom four teams in each conference and randomly paired them together.
Augustana will travel to Hope, Illinois Wesleyan to Albion, Wheaton to Kalamazoo, North Central to St. Norbert, Carthage to Adrian, Elmhurst to Olivet, North Park to Alma and Millikin to Trine on September 13, 2014.
For the second year, games will take place on September 12, 2015, with the pairings to be released after the conclusion of the 2014 season.
The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association is the nation’s oldest collegiate athletic conference, founded in 1888. The MIAA consists of nine private liberal arts colleges from Michigan and northern Indiana. Member institutions are Adrian College, Albion College, Alma College, Calvin College, Hope College, Kalamazoo College, Olivet College, Saint Mary’s College and Trine University.
The College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) was founded in 1946 and currently serves eight member institutions, including Augustana College (Rock Island, Ill.), Carthage College (Kenosha, Wis.), Elmhurst College (Elmhurst, Ill.), Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington, Ill.), Millikin University (Decatur, Ill.), North Central College (Naperville, Ill.), North Park University (Chicago, Ill.) and Wheaton College (Wheaton, Ill.).
11/16 THUNDER DROP SEASON FINALE AT ALMA
ALMA, Mich. - Five turnovers proved to be the difference as the Trine Thunder took to the field for the final time this season and lost 31-13 on the road at Alma College on Saturday. It was a diverse attack for the Scots, as they would score five different ways and capture their first win of the year.
Fresh off the exciting comeback victory at Olivet a week earlier, the Thunder (1-5, 4-6) turned their collective attention to the north against the Scots (1-5, 1-9). The game remained scoreless until late in the first quarter after Trine dodged a blocked punt by the Scots on the opening drive when Alma couldn't connect on a 21 yard field goal attempt by senior Jack Pryde on the ensuing possession.
After another Trine punt, the Scots marched 83 yards and broke into the scoring column on a 36 yard laser touchdown connection from senior quarterback Jarrett Leister to junior wide receiver Tyler Watters down the right sideline. The Scots led 7-0 after the opening quarter.
It was a defensive battle in the second quarter as each team traded unproductive possessions before the Scots intercepted Trine freshman quarterback Brandon Rooze (West Lafayette, Ind./Benton Central) at the Thunder 24 yard line. But on the very next play, the Trine defense fought back. Sophomore cornerback James Gregory (Akron, Ind./Tippecanoe Valley) crept back into the endzone and plucked away an underthrown pass for this third interception of the year, and the Thunder were back in business.
Rooze connected with freshman running back Frank Vuocolo (Jackson, Mich./Grass Lake) on a 13 yard gain to loosen up the Alma defense. After a pass interference penalty on the Scots, Rooze went deep and hooked up with junior Anthony Yoder (Goshen, Ind./Concord) on a 41 yard pass to set the Thunder up at the Alma five yard line. It was back to Vuocolo on the next play, as the freshman burst up the middle into the endzone to tie things up at 7-7 with 6:41 left in the half.
The momentum didn't last long for the Thunder. On the ensuing kick, Watters struck again. This time, he weaved his way through the Thunder defenders for a 97 yard kick return for a touchdown. It was the fourth-longest return in Alma history, as the Scots took a 14-7 lead.
A 31 yard field goal by senior placekicker Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind/Elkhart Memorial) on the next drive cut the Alma lead to 14-10.
Trine grabbed the ball right back after an empty possession by the Scots, when freshman cornerback Devan Emerson (Elkhart, Ind./Jimtown) partially blocked the punt and the Thunder recovered at the Alma 35 late in the second quarter. But the drive stalled again, and Trine settled for another 31 yard field goal off the right leg of Keck to head into the halftime break, down 14-13.
Trine's defense started well in the second half as they forced a punt by the Scots on the opening drive of the third quarter. But Alma head coach Greg Pscodna dipped into his bag of tricks as Watters scored for the third time on the afternoon on a fake punt and sprinted 41 yards into the endzone to give the Scots a 21-13 lead.
The score remained that way until early in the fourth quarter. Rooze dropped back and his pass was intercepted by Alma senior Austin McClelland and returned 34 yards the other way for a touchdown as the Scots built a 28-13 advantage.
The Thunder then turned to junior quarterback Andrew Dee (McComb, Ohio/McComb). On his first pass of the day, he fired a missile into the waiting arms of Alma linebacker Eric Strickler and the Scots had their fourth interception. Three plays later, Pryde sailed a 26 yard field goal through the uprights for the final points to give the Scots a 31-13 victory.
Trine ended up tossing a season-high five interceptions, the most in a game since 2005.
It was a big day for Vuocolo, as he led all rushers with a career-high 133 yards and a touchdown. Senior running back Richard Gunn (Ashley, Ind./Penn) battled an injury and ended with just two carries. He finished the year with 1,154 yards and seven touchdowns. It was the third-highest rushing total for a season in Trine University history.
Rooze connected on 13-26 passes for 121 yards and three interceptions.
Sophomore Gage Corner, (Leo, Ind./Leo) junior Zac Hess (Eagle, Mich/Grand Ledge) and Vuocolo each had four catches. Corner ended the season with 62 grabs, the third highest total in the history of the program.
The defense was led in tackles by freshman Jarred Finnerman (Sturgis, Mich/Sturgis) and senior Jim West (Berne, Ind/South Adams) with eight each.
In addition to the interception, Gregory also recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter.
Senior Louis Danesi (Sante Fe, Texas/Sante Fe) and junior Aaron Wolf (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) each recorded a sack. Danesi ends with the most career sacks in school history with 19.
Keck finished the campaign with 16 field goals, the second highest total ever for a Thunder kicker.
The 4-6 final record breaks the streak of six consecutive winning seasons for the Thunder.
11/9 THUNDER COMEBACK CRUSHES COMETS IN OVERTIME
OLIVET, Mich. - It was a comeback for the ages as the Thunder erased a 14 point deficit with just over a minute to play in regulation to win in overtime 47-41 at Olivet College on Saturday. The win marked the first of the conference season for the Thunder and showcased many memorable performances.
With Trine (1-4, 4-5) trailing 41-27 late in the fourth quarter on a windy and dark Saturday afternoon, Freshman Brandon Rooze (West Lafayette, Ind./Benton Central) shined in his first ever collegiate start. He engineered a 65 yard drive, capped off on a three yard touchdown run by freshman Frank Vuocolo (Jackson, Mich./Grass Lake) to pull the Thunder to within seven, at 41-34, with 1:01 left.
Then it was time for the onside kick. Senior Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) angled the kick to left and the pigskin took a perfect hop at midfield into the diving arms of junior Zac Hess, (Eagle, Mich./Grand Ledge) and the Thunder recovered at the Comet 47.
With less than a minute to play, the offense took over. On the key play of the drive, Rooze connected with junior Anthony Yoder, (Goshen, Ind./Concord) who made a leaping catch in the middle of two defenders, for a 34 yard gain to place the Thunder at the Olivet five. After a pass interference by Olivet, Trine was shut down by the Comet defense to force a fourth-and-goal from the Olivet one. There was only time for one final play.
With the last second of regulation ticking away, Rooze rolled out to the right and fired a laser into the chest of junior wide receiver Jared Barton (Middleton, Mich/Fulton) for a one yard touchdown in the right side of the endzone to tie the score at 41-41 after the extra point.
For the fourth time in school history, Trine was headed into overtime. The Thunder won the coin flip and elected to play defense first.
After an incomplete pass by Comet sophomore quarterback Braden Black on first down, sophomore James Gregory (Akron, Ind./Tippecanoe Valley) made the biggest defensive play of the day for the Thunder. Gregory barricaded the receiver down the left sideline and hauled in his second interception of the year inside the ten yard line. The turnover gave the Thunder the ball in overtime, needing a score of any type to secure the victory.
It didn't take long for the offense to strike. Carrying the momentum of the change of possession, Vuocolo hit hard for a 21 yard gain to set the Thunder in striking distance at the Olivet four. On the very next play, Vuocolo barged into the endzone, giving the Thunder an improbable overtime win and sent the entire Trine sideline sprinting onto the field to pile in celebration in the back of the endzone. Trine scored the final 20 points of the afternoon and turned a 14 point deficit with around a minute to play in regulation into a six point thrilling overtime win.
The players weren't in the celebrating mood at the beginning of the game, however. Olivet built a 14-0 lead after a one yard touchdown run by sophomore Tyre Alexander and a five yard scoring scamper on a sweep by freshman Javon Moore early in the second quarter. Then, the Trine offense began to produce.
The Thunder marched 60 yards down the field and broke onto the scoreboard for the first time on a one yard power run by senior Richard Gunn (Ashley, Ind./Penn) to cut the Olivet lead to 14-7.
On the ensuing possession for Olivet, Black threw the ball straight into the swirling wind and sophomore cornerback Travis Smith (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) made a leaping grab to intercept the pass and dart down the left side to score on a 20 yard touchdown return to tie the game at 14-14.
Olivet wasted no time answering, as they took just six plays to travel 80 yards to score on another Moore sweep from six yards out to take a 21-14 advantage.
Trine would not be deterred. The Thunder drove into Comet territory, and a connection from Rooze to Gunn on 12 yard pass put the Thunder in position to score with time quickly fading before halftime. Rooze dropped back and lobbed a majestic pass into the air toward the front corner of the endzone as Yoder leaped over the defender and made an acrobatic catch to haul in a 27 yard touchdown pass to draw the Thunder within a point.
The extra point was missed on an errant snap, and the Thunder headed into the break trailing by one, at 21-20.
Trine's offense stalled in the third quarter, as the Comets added a touchdown on a 10 yard catch by sophomore Kyle Bryson to lead 28-20, headed into the fourth quarter.
Bryson struck again on a seven yard touchdown catch, and Olivet seemingly had all the momentum as they lead 35-20 with just over 11 minutes to play.
The Thunder were already relying on the freshman Rooze, who went the distance in his first ever start at quarterback. Now they turned toward another fresh face in Vuocolo, who was summoned into the game as he took over at running back for Gunn, the conference's leading rusher.
Vuocolo responded in a big way on a two yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 35-27 with 6:10 left.
Olivet's offense continued to roll on the very next possession. Black connected again with Bryson for his third touchdown catch of the day, this time on a perfectly placed 39 yard catch on a sprint down the sideline. The extra point sailed wide, however, and Olivet lead 41-27 with just over three minutes to play.
That set up the frantic final flurry of scoring for Trine at the end of regulation and into overtime to seal their sixth consecutive victory over the Comets, at 47-41.
Rooze was extremely solid in his starting debut, finishing 25-49 for 273 yards and two touchdowns. Vuocolo burst upon the scene late, rushing for a career-high 60 yards and scoring three times. Gunn finished with 70 yards on the ground, with a score.
Sophomore wide receiver Gage Corner (Leo, Ind./Leo) continued to pile up the numbers, finishing with 11 catches for 143 yards. Corner has 58 grabs on the year, which is third all-time in a season in Trine University history. His 884 receiving yards are the third best of any player wearing the Thunder blue in a season, trailing only Nick Testa and Paul Curtis.
Yoder's triumphant return to the field produced four catches for 69 yards and a score, while Barton hauled in the tying touchdown at the end of regulation. He ended with three catches on the day.
The defense was led by junior Tyler Guzy (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater) with 11 tackles. Seniors Louis Danesi (Santa Fe, Texas/Santa Fe) and Caleb Nitz (Baroda, Mich./Lakeshore) each had 10 stops.
With the loss, Olivet drops to 2-3 in conference play and 6-3 overall.
The overtime win for the Thunder was the first since a 20-14 win at LaGrange College in 2011.
Next up for the Thunder is the conclusion to the 2013 season on a road trip at Alma College to face the Scots on Nov. 16 at 1 p.m.
10/18 BULLDOGS STAY HUNGRY AS THEY DEFEAT THE THUNDER
By Haley Killingbeck
ANGOLA, Ind. In a defensive struggle from beginning to end, the Trine University Thunder fall to the Adrian Bulldogs 14-9. The Thunder (3-4, 0-3 MIAA), and the Adrian Bulldogs improve to 6-1, 3-0 MIAA.
Richard Gunn (Ashley, Ind., Penn.) was a power horse racking up 107 yards off of 33 carries rushing for Trine. Andrew Dee (McComb, Ohio/McComb) racked up 201 yards passing off of 15 of 35 completions and no interceptions. Jared Barton (Middleton, Mich./Fulton) led the Thunder receiving with 72 yards off of 4 catches and a touchdown. He had help from Zach Hess (Eagle, Mich./Grand Ledge) who had 45 yards receiving off of 5 catches.
At halftime, the Thunder held the only points on the scoreboard. From a Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) 45 yard field goal with 5:14 left in the second quarter the Thunder led 3-0 at the half.
In the third quarter the Adrian Bulldogs got their 2nd blocked punt of the game by Tommy First which led to Aaron Tenney’s 5 yard touchdown pass to Josh Delaney, which put the Bulldogs up 7-3.
The Thunder continued to struggle moving the ball across the field. The Bulldogs then scored again from a 15 yard rushing touchdown from Robinson putting the Bulldogs up 14-3.
In the fourth quarter Trine tried to rally for the comeback but fell short. They only scored one touchdown off of a 4 yard touchdown pass from Dee to Barton putting the ending score 14-9.
Derek Posey (Newark, Ohio/Utica) ended the game with 10 tackles, and half of a sack. Louis Danesi (Santa Fe, Texas/Santa Fe) and Jim West (Berne, Ind./South Adams) each racked up 9 tackles a piece, Danesi had a solo sack as well.
10/12 BRITONS SEND THUNDER DOWN TO THIRD STRAIGHT LOSS
By Aaron Coyle
ALBION, MI. -It was a day where momentum and runs played a big role as the Trine Thunder started slowly and lost at Albion College, 41-27. It was the third straight loss for Trine, marking the first time they have lost three in a row since 2006.
The opening moments of the game really became a harbinger of the day to come for the Thunder.
Albion (1-0, 3-2) fumbled the opening kickoff, and the Thunder (0-2, 3-3) recovered at the Albion 35. Trine successfully pushed the ball to the Briton 4, but came up empty on a fourth down and 2. Senior running back Richard Gunn (Ashley, Ind/Penn) was stopped, and Trine came away with no points after the opening turnover.
The Britons then promptly and methodically marched 97 yards down the field to score on a 14 yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Dominic Bona to senior wide receiver Zach Brewer. The extra point sailed wide, and the Britons led, 6-0.
Albion grabbed the ball after a Trine punt, and scored again early in the second quarter. Bona and Brewer hooked up again, this time from 25 yards out on a diving catch by Brewer in the back of the right side of the endzone. Albion lead 13-0 with 13:39 left in the second quarter.
With the Trine offense stagnant early, the defense took it upon themselves to shift the momentum of the game. Sophomore cornerback Travis Smith (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) intercepted a Bona pass near midfield with 12:02 remaining in the second quarter. It was the second career pick for Smith, and his first this year.
That set up a 1 yard touchdown run for Gunn, who was on his way to a career day and would become a consistent and potent weapon for the Thunder attack. Trine trailed 13-7.
After an Albion punt on the next drive, the Trine offense manufactured their longest scoring drive of the day; traveling 81 yards and capping it off on a 21 yard touchdown run by Gunn into the left side of the endzone. Gunn carried it five of the six plays on the drive and gave the Thunder a 14-13 lead.
Albion then drove to the Trine 31 on the ensuing possession, but were taken out of field goal range on a sack by senior Louis Danesi (Santa Fe, Texas/Santa Fe) and junior Aaron Wolf (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) With the stop, Danesi became the all-time leader in sacks in Trine University history with 17.5 for his career.
Trine headed into halftime with a 14-13 lead.
The Thunder received the opening kick of the second half, and promptly drove to the Albion 10 after runs of 44 and 5 yards on successive carries by Gunn. A sack stalled the drive, and senior All-American placekicker Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) connected on a 35 yard field goal to give Trine a 17-13 lead.
Albion reacted well to the 17 unanswered Trine points and drove 75 yards to take a 20-17 lead on a 1 yard slant pass touchdown from Bona to junior wide receiver Cody Crawford.
The momentum was beginning to shift again.
After a Trine punt, Albion scored again on a 66 yard touchdown run by sophomore Colin Parks; the first of his career.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Albion lead, 27-17.
The final stanza started well for the Thunder as they drove to the Albion 13. But two holding penalties shut down the drive and they called upon the right leg of Keck again. He drilled another 35 yard field goal to pull the Thunder within a score, down 27-20. Keck leads the entire nation in field goals on the season, with 13.
Albion bounced back immediately on a 53 yard touchdown throw from Bona to Crawford down the right sideline to take a 34-20 advantage with 8:37 left.
Trine absolutely needed a touchdown on the next drive, and they succeeded on a 6 yd pass from junior quarterback Andrew Dee (McComb, Ohio/McComb) to sophomore wide receiver Travis Durham. (Marion, Ind./Mississinewa ) It was the first career touchdown catch for Durham, and again made it a one-possession game with Albion up 34-27, with 4:41 left.
Now the Trine defense needed a stop. And they appeared to get it, stuffing Albion on a third down near midfield as senior linebacker Derek Posey (Newark, Ohio/Utica) made the tackle. But an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Trine sideline gave the Britons an automatic first down and a new life. They took advantage, with all-conference running back Darrin Williams escaping for an 18 yard touchdown run to cap the day; handing the Thunder a 41-27 loss.
Dee, making his first conference road start, finished 16-27 for 205 yards and a touchdown.
Gunn was really the story of the day, amassing a career-high 226 yards rushing on 33 carries with two touchdowns. The 226 rushing yards constitutes the second most for a Trine player in a single game in school history and the most in 16 years. All-time leading rusher Barron Chambers had 254 yards against Urbana in 1997.
Sophomore wide receiver Gage Corner (Leo, Ind/Leo) caught a career-high 129 yards on 8 catches. That was his third game of over 100 yards receiving this season.
The Thunder defense was paced by sophomore Michael Spears (Kendallville, Ind/East Noble) with 12 tackles.
The loss drops the Thunder to 0-2 in conference play for the first time since 2006, and 3-3 overall.
Trine looks to bounce back as they host the Adrian Bulldogs (2-0, 5-1) on October 19 at home at 1 pm. Radio coverage is provided by Aaron Coyle and Tyler Benner on WEAX radio.
10/5 - Thunder Shocked on Homecoming
By Trine Sports Information Student Assistant Zach Bigger
ANGOLA, Ind. - After an up-and-down offensive shootout in the first half turned into a defensive struggle for both sides in the second half, the Trine University football squad fell to the run-and-gun no huddle offense of Kalamazoo College 38-31. The Thunder (3-2, 0-1 MIAA), fell to the Hornets for the first time since 2006.
On the opening drive of the game, the Hornets would march down 94 yards in 11 plays, as Kalamazoo quarterback Justin Danzy spread the ball around before hitting wide receiver Josh Wise three straight times, the last for a 7-yard touchdown. The two sides swapped punts before Trine utilized the talents of senior running back Richard Gunn (Ashley, Ind./Penn) all the way to the end zone, including a 32-yard big play down the sideline. Gunn picked up every yard on the drive except for an 18-yard pass completion to from junior Andrew Dee (McComb, Ohio/McComb) to fellow junior Jared Barton (Middleton, Mich./Fulton).
With the game tied at 7-7 late in the first quarter, Danzy again completed several long plays to his receiving corps, including three 15+ yard catches on the drive before wide receiver Cameron Shegos went in on an 11-yard catch as time expired in the quarter.
Opening the second quarter down 14-7, things would get worse for the Thunder following a quick three-and-out. On their first play from scrimmage in the second quarter, the Hornet offensive line sprung running back Elijah Hamilton-Way for a 60-yard touchdown. The Thunder quickly returned the favor however, as Dee hooked up with another fellow junior in Anthony Yoder (Goshen, Ind./Concord) for a 63-yard strike that halted the momentum of the Hornets.
Things began to turn for the Thunder, as the defense held Kalamazoo to a three-and-out before senior safety Blaek Combs (Rushville, Ind./Rushville Consolidate) stormed past the punt protectors and blocked punter George Fishback's attempt. The Thunder recovered the ball at the Kalamazoo 16-yard-line. While the offense stalled and Trine only grabbed three points on a 31-yard field goal by senior Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial), the Thunder had closed within four, 21-17. Both teams would tack on another touchdown through the air as a combined 31-point quarter came to close at 28-24 Kalamazoo as the half.
The second half saw the scoring come to a halt as each side score just a single touchdown. The Hornets would use good field position to convert on a 26-yard field goal. After a lull in the action, the play picked back up when Gunn picked up a head of steam and had just enough speed to beat the backside corner in a 62-yard race to the end zone, a season-long for the Thunder. Trine finally had caught up to the Hornets, tying the game at 31 after trailing from the outset.
In the final quarter of the game, the Hornets were driving and dodged a bullet when backup quarterback Brock Rucinski came in and was rocked by Thunder defensive lineman Ryan Hogan (Vine Grove, Ky./Meade County) and Mitchell Fair (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty). The ball rolled around on the ground, and a fortuitous bounce came up for Kalamazoo as an offensive lineman recovered the ball.
Later in the fourth, the Thunder had backed Kalamazoo up to the shadow of their own goal line, but the Hornets hit all the right buttons at the right moments, using a 12 plays to go 97 yards to regain the lead with 5:38 left.
Trine would get three chances to tie the game after they fell behind, but were unable to convert on all three opportunities.
Gunn finished the night with 172 yards on 25 carries for two scores. It was the fourth straight game that Gunn has run for 100+ yards. Dee completed 14-of-31 for 221 yards through the air. Sophomore Gage Corner (Leo, Ind./Leo) just missed his third straight 100-yard game as he finished with 98 yards on six catches.
Combs led the Trine defense with 13 total tackles (11 solo), broke up two passes and blocked a punt. Sophomore James Gregory (Akron, Ind./Tippecanoe Valley) made 12 tackles, 10 of which were solo stops.
The home conference loss is the first for the Thunder in almost two years, dating back to October 22, 2011 versus Albion College.
Trine looks to rebound on the road as they travel to Albion on Oct. 12 at 1 p.m.
10/2 - Danesi Named to D3football.com Team of the Week
MINNEAPOLIS - For the second time this season, a Trine University football player has been named to the D3football.com Team of the Week. Senior defensive end Louis Danesi (Santa Fe, Texas/Santa Fe) earned the honor for the first time in his career for games through Sept. 28.
Danesi recorded five tackles, four of them solo in Trine's 24-21 loss to Division II St. Joseph's (Ind.). Three of them were tackles for loss and two were quarterback sacks. Danesi now has 15.5 career sacks, just 0.5 away from tying the school record set by former player Brian Balka.
9/30 - Guzy Named MIAA Player of the Week in Football
ROYAL OAK, Mich. - The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association has named Trine defensive back Tyler Guzy its Defensive Player of the Week in football for games played through Sept. 28.
Guzy, a junior from Coldwater, Mich. (Coldwater HS), intercepted two passes and made seven tackles from his secondary position, including one tackle for loss, in Trine’s 24-21 loss against NCAA Division II member St. Joseph’s (IN). Guzy leads all Division III players in interceptions with five heading into the start of conference play this week. He is being honored as Player of the Week for the first time in his career.
9/28 - Thunder Suffer Tough Loss to DII School
RENSSELAER, Ind. - In their first-ever game against a team outside of their division, the Trine University football squad nearly upset Division II St. Joseph’s (IN), falling 24-21. Junior quarterback Andrew Dee (McComb, Ohio/McComb) threw two touchdowns while senior Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) added to his national-leading field goal total making both of his attempts in the game. It was the first loss of the season for the Thunder as they are now 3-1 on the year headed into conference play.
After the Pumas scored on their opening drive, the Thunder also scored on their first drive as Keck connected from 35 yards. After a St. Joseph’s punt, the Thunder would use a short field to allow Keck to connect on his 10th field goal of the season from 24 yards to pull Trine within one.
From there neither team was able to put points on the board until just before halftime. The Pumas would connect on a 44-yard pass to go up 14-6 with just 1:37 to play in the half. Trine would answer back, going 75 yards in just four plays capped off by a Dee to sophomore Gage Corner (Leo, Ind./Leo) 30-yard score. Junior Tyler Guzy (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater) would intercepted the St. Joseph’s pass on their first play of the ensuing possession, but the Thunder were unable to convert on a 4th-and-3 as the half came to a close.
The Pumas would again score on their opening drive of the half on a 43-yard run. Once again though, the Thunder would answer right back as they went 70 yards in 10 plays as Dee connected with freshman Kevin Matejko (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) for a 5-yard score. Trine would go for their first, two-point conversion of the season, and again it would be Dee finding junior tight end Zach Hess (Eagle, Mich./Grand Ledge) to tie the game at 21-21.
With 43 seconds left in the third quarter, St. Joseph’s would connect on a 21-yard field goal to put the final points on the board.
Trine would have two opportunities in the final quarter as they were driving into Pumas territory, but the Thunder lost a fumble and threw an interception to end both drives.
The Thunder out-gained St. Joseph’s 417-367 but the Pumas converted 21 first downs to Trine’s 19.
Dee threw for his second consecutive 200-yard game connecting on 19-of-32 for 205 yards and two scores. It also marked the second straight game that Corner went over 100 yards receiving as he caught eight passes for 101 yards. Junior Jared Barton (Middleton, Mich./Fulton) caught five passes on the afternoon for 72 yards. On the ground, senior Richard Gunn (Ashley, Ind./Penn) went for a season-high 175 yards on 27 carries.
For the defense, Guzy snagged two interceptions in the game to go along with seven tackles. Sophomore James Gregory (Akron, Ind./Tippecanoe Valley) and senior Tony Miranda (Goshen, Ind./NorthWood) led the team with nine tackles in the game. Gregory also broke up two passes. Senior Louis Danesi (Santa Fe, Texas/Santa Fe) made five tackles for the game, two of which were sacks.
It was the first meeting between the two teams since 2001 after the Thunder had won all three prior meetings.
Trine now turns their attention to conference play as they host Kalamazoo for homecoming on Oct. 5 for a 1 p.m. game.
9/23 - Keck Named MIAA Player of the Week in Football
ROYAL OAK, Mich. - The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association has named Trine University placekicker Tyler Keck its Special Teams Player of the Week in football for games played through Sept. 21.
Keck, a senior from Elkhart, Ind. (Elkhart Memorial HS), kicked a 30-yard field goal and six extra points in the Thunder’s 47-41 victory over Concordia, Wis. He also averaged 55 yards per kickoff, including three touchbacks, and executed a successful onside kick. Keck is being honored as Player of the Week for the second time this season and third time in his career.
9/21 - Trine Outlasts Concordia in 47-41 MIAA/NACC Shootout
By Trine Sports Information Student Assistant Zach Bigger
ANGOLA, Ind. - In the annual MIAA/NACC Football Challenge, Trine University and Concordia (WI) University lit up the scoreboard in every which way imaginable, as the teams combined for 88 points and 848 yards of total offense as the Thunder (3-0) earned a 47-41 victory.
It was a signature game for Thunder junior quarterback Andrew Dee (McComb, Ohio/McComb), who in his first career start, threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns while the dominant ground game continued to roll, racking up 212 yards on the day. It was the third game in a row in which the Thunder rushing attack exceeded 200 yards. Concordia's (1-2) aerial assault put up 348 yards and five touchdowns was bogged down by three turnovers from quarterback Austin Damaschke.
Senior running back Richard Gunn (Ashley, Ind./Penn) would be featured prominently by the Thunder on their first offensive possession of the game, rushing six times and catching a pass to account for 37 of the 48 yards capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run. Concordia countered with a heavy dose of Damaschke to 6'6'' wide receiver Garett Wenselburger, completing four straight passes to him and the touchdown as the Falcons tied the game at 7-7 midway through the first.
After a big run back by sophomore Preston Pinrod (North Manchester, Ind./Manchester) on the ensuing kickoff, Dee hit sophomore wide receiver Gage Corner (Leo, Ind./Leo) on a third-and-13 for 37 yards and a touchdown.
Trine got the ball back after Damaschke fumbled with 34 seconds in the first, junior running back Austin Shoemaker (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) carried the load on this drive, running six times for 12 yards before senior Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) connected on a 30-yard field goal to make it 17-7. After a quick series by the Falcons, Trine embarked on a 7 minute, 17 play, 94 yard drive. Dee was at his best, completing passes to five different receivers and showing a steady pocket presence as Shoemaker capped the drive with a one yard touchdown run.
Up 24-7 and smelling blood in the water, Trine rolled the dice with an onside kick and recovered. The Thunder going for the knockout but Concordia defensive lineman DeShawn Pullen made a spectacular catch, intercepting a quick screen pass and brought it all the way back to the Thunder nine. A quick strike from Damaschke to Wenselberger for nine yards made it 24-14 at the half.
After the first few drives of the third quarter, the Falcons would score again as Damaschke again found Wenselberger to make it 24-21 Trine. Sparked by Shoemaker's 44 yard catch-and-run at the beginning of their next series, Trine overcame two holding penalties to eventually punch it in again with Shoemaker from the 1-yard-line and extend the lead to 10 heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter brought with it plenty of fireworks, as the teams combined for 36 points. The scoring would begin after Concordia maneuvered their way downfield and finished with another passing touchdown. Trine blocked the point after attempt, as junior Tyler Guzy (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater) scooped up the rolling loose ball and at the last possible second lateraled to senior Derek Posey (Newark, Ohio/Utica) at the 35 yard line. Posey turned on the jets and outraced every Falcon to the end zone for an exhilarating two points.
Trine aired it out on the next drive, as juniors Jared Barton (Middleton, Mich./Fulton) and Zach Hess (Eagle, Mich./Grand Ledge) combined for every catch, including a 44-yard Dee to Hess connection for the touchdown to make it 40-27. After a short series by Concordia, Trine would make it 47-27 as Shoemaker's final carry of the game went for his third touchdown from eight yards out.
Although the Falcons would rally within six, 47-41, with less than a minute to play, the Thunder recovered the ensuing onside kick allowing them to run out the clock. Trine finished with 495 total yards of offense as they put together their best and most balanced offensive performance of the season.
It was the first time this season that the Thunder have scored multiple offensive touchdowns in a game, after scoring just one in each of the first two games.
The Thunder hit the road on Sept. 28 to take on St. Joseph’s (IN) in their last non-conference game at 1 p.m. (CST.).
9/18 - Combs Named to D3football.com Team of the Week
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Trine University senior football player Blaek Combs (Rushville, Ind./Rushville) has been named to the National D3football.com Team of the Week presented by Scoutware.
Combs, a safety, made 11 tackles, including eight solo stops, forced a fumble, had one tackle for loss and intercepted a pass that led to the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter of Trine’s 16-7 win vs. then nationally-ranked Elmhurst.
Combs has now been named to the D3football.com team of the week in each of the last three seasons.
The full list of honorees can be found here. Link
9/16 - Combs Named MIAA Player of the Week in Football
ROYAL OAK, Mich. - The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association has named Trine defensive back Blaek Combs its Defensive Player of the Week in football for games played through Sept. 14.
Combs, a senior from Rushville, Ind. (Rushville HS), made 11 tackles, including eight solo stops, forced a fumble, had one tackle for loss and intercepted a pass that led to the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter of Trine’s 16-7 victory over then nationally-ranked Elmhurst. Combs is being honored as Player of the Week for the fourth time in his career.
9/14 - Thunder Knock Off #21 Elmhurst in Home Opener
ANGOLA, Ind. - Trine University senior Richard Gunn (Ashley, Ind./Penn) took the football team on his back late in the 4th quarter, leading them to a come-from-behind win over No. 21 Elmhurst College 16-7 in the Thunder’s home opener. It was Trine’s seventh straight home opening win as they improve to 2-0 on the season.
Trine, who received two votes in the most recent D3football.com poll, used four interceptions, three of which came on the final three Elmhurst possessions to get the go-ahead field goal and a 15-yard score from Gunn.
Elmhurst’s lone score came with 3:10 left in the first quarter as an offensive lineman got a rare touchdown as he recovered their own fumble in the end zone.
The Thunder struggled early on as they lost a fumble as the first quarter ended and missed a field goal on their opening drive of the second. Senior Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) would come through for the Thunder late connecting from 34 and 24 yards. After the first Keck field goal, the Thunder would intercept the Bluejays for the first time with 1:18 remaining in the half by junior Tyler Guzy (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater) giving Keck his second opportunity to split the uprights.
In the third, neither team was able to put points on the scoreboard, but the Thunder headed into the fourth quarter driving into Elmhurst territory. Trine would go all the way down to the Bluejays 5-yard-line, but the Thunder would fumble and Elmhurst recovered at their own 2-yard-line.
Trine’s defense would then make their push as on the fourth play of the Elmhurst ensuing drive, senior Blaek Combs (Rushville, Ind./Rushville Consolidate) would pick off the Bluejays pass and return it to the Elmhurst 34. Trine would get into the red zone and take the lead 9-7 on a 20-yard Keck field goal.
On Elmhurst’s following possession, the Thunder would again come up big defensively as senior Tony Miranda (Goshen, Ind./NorthWood) picked off a pass for the second straight game as the Bluejays were driving into Trine territory. Trine would give it to Gunn on four straight plays as he went for a 45-yard run and then two plays later plowed into the end zone from 15-yards outs for his first touchdown of the season with 1:38 left to play.
Now leading 16-7, Trine would put the game away on the fifth play of the Elmhurst drive as Guzy picked off his second pass of the day with 47 seconds left in the game to give the Thunder the victory.
Gunn finished the afternoon with 129 yards on 18 rushing attempts and junior Austin Shoemaker (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) added 71 yards on 14 touches. Junior Anthony Yoder (Goshen, Ind./Concord) connected on 9-of-17 from the pocket for 89 yards and scrambled nine times for 48 yards. Fellow junior Andrew Dee (McComb, Ohio/McComb) came on to play the final two quarters and finished with 45 yards on 5-of-8 passing. Sophomore Gage Corner (Leo, Ind./Leo) led all receivers with six catches for 64 yards.
Senior Derek Posey (Newark, Ohio/Utica) led the Thunder defense with 13 tackles (eight solo) on the day. Combs added 11 tackles (eight solo) and a forced fumble to go along with his interception.
Trine’s defense held the Bluejays to just 127 yards on the ground after they had run for 302 in their first game. The four interceptions by the Thunder tied for third most in program history and were the most since they also picked off four at Alma on November 15, 2011.
The Thunder improve their all-time home opener record to 14-5 in the programs history.
Trine now turns their attention to Concordia (WI) whom they host in the MIAA/NACC Challenge on Sept. 21 at 1 p.m.
9/9 - Keck Named MIAA Player of the Week in Football
ROYAL OAK, Mich. - The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association has named Trine placekicker Tyler Keck its Special Teams Player of the Week in football for games played through Sept. 7.
Keck, a senior from Elkhart, Ind. (Elkhart Memorial), set a school record with four field goals in leading the Thunder past Manchester, Ind. 19-3 in their season opener. His field goals covered 31, 25, 36 and 36 yards. He also averaged 55.2 yards on six kickoffs. Keck is being honored as Player of the Week for the second time in his career.
9/5 - Thunder Win Seventh Consecutive Opener
NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. - For the seventh straight season the Trine University football team picked up a win in their season opener over Manchester University 19-3. Despite scoring only one offensive touchdown, the Thunder defense, which returned nine starters, showed what it could do by holding the Spartans to their fewest points in a game since 2010.
The Trine defense got things going early as senior Tony Miranda (Goshen, Ind./NorthWood) made his first career interception as Manchester was moving deep into Thunder territory on their opening drive. The Thunder used that momentum as they promptly drove down the field scoring on their opening drive going 68 yards in 10 plays. Junior Anthony Yoder (Goshen, Ind./Concord), who was making his first career start at quarterback for the Thunder, found sophomore Gage Corner (Leo, Ind./Leo) down the left sideline with 5:51 to play in the first.
Manchester would get on the board with 8:55 to play in the second quarter as they converted on a 26-yard field goal. The damage could have been worse as the Spartans had driven all the down to the Trine 4-yard-line.
Trine would answer back on the ensuing kickoff as senior Richard Gunn (Ashley, Ind./Penn) took it 83 yards down to the Manchester 9-yard-line. The Thunder would have to settle for a 31-yard field goal from senior preseason All-American Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) to take a 10-3 lead into halftime.
On their second procession of the second half, the Thunder went 58 yards as Keck notched his second field goal of the night, this time a 22-yard connection.
The Thunder defense would again come up big as sophomore Charles Dreessen (Walkerton, Ind./John Glenn) recovered a Manchester fumble on their following possession. The Thunder again looked to Keck as he converted from 36 yards this time to give Trine a 16-3 lead with just 40 seconds left in the third quarter.
After forcing another punt, the Trine defense held the Spartans again as they went for it on fourth down allowing just five yards on the drive. The Thunder would use the short 21-yard field to allow Keck to connect on his fourth field goal of the night hitting again from 36 yards to increase the lead by the final margin of 19-3.
With 3:47 to play, the Thunder defense held strong again as they forced a three incomplete passes on the Manchester possession to again force them to turn the ball over on downs. Trine had one final chance to put points on the scoreboard but the 38-yard attempt from Keck was blocked.
Manchester took possession with 1:14 to play but time ran out as the Thunder secured their seventh straight win over the Spartans, all of which have come on opening day.
Keck’s four field goals (31, 25, 36 and 36 yards) set a new Trine record, breaking the previous mark of three which he shared with former players Jeremy Howard, Justin Hoover and Wyatt Brown.
Yoder finished his first game under center completing 14-of-21 for 144 yards and a touchdown. Yoder also finished with 26 yards on the ground on 12 carries. Junior Austin J. Shoemaker (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) led the Thunder ground attack finishing the night with 87 yards on 19 carries while Gunn had 73 yards on 13 touches. Yoder’s top target on the night was Shoemaker who finished with six catches for 36 yards. Sophomore Travis Durham (Marion, Ind./Mississinewa) led the Thunder with 47 receiving yards in his first college game on four receptions.
Defensively, seniors Derek Posey (Newark, Ohio/Utica) and Caleb Nitz (Baroda, Mich./Lakeshore) led the team with nine tackles each. Fellow senior Blaek Combs (Rushville, Ind./Rushville Consolidate) added seven.
Trine finished the night with 334 yards of total offense compared to 269 for the Spartans. The Thunder also held a time of possession advantage 33:40-to-26:20.
The three points allowed by the Thunder defense were the fewest in a season opener since shutting out Albion 38-0 back on Sept. 14, 2002. It was also the fewest points they have ever allowed in a season opener on the road. It was also the fewest points the Spartans offense were held to in a game since also scoring just three points back on Oct. 16, 2010 against Franklin
Trine will now open their home schedule when they host Elmhurst (IL) on Sept. 14 at 1:00 p.m.
9/4 - Webster and Keck Named CDFL Preseason All-American
SOUTHFIELDS, N.Y. - On the eve of the 2013 Trine University football season, two more Thunder players were named preseason All-American as seniors Andrew Webster (Fort Wayne, Ind./North Side) and Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) were recognized by the Collegiate Development Football League (CDFL). Trine was the only MIAA school to have multiple players selected to the list, while the other six conference schools combined for just two honorable mention honors (Adrian and Hope).
Webster, who was previously named to two other preseason lists, was named to the South Offense First Team. The left guard was the only player from the MIAA to be named to the first or second team. Webster is coming off an outstanding junior season in which he anchored the Thunder offensive line starting all 10 games at left tackle. Webster was on the field for 544 plays while finishing with 96 knockdowns and allowing just two sacks on the year en-route to being named to the All-MIAA First Team.
Keck also earned his third preseason All-American nod as he was named an Honorable Mention kicker. Keck finished off his junior season tied for 38th in the nation in field goals per game and leading the conference in scoring with 6.0 points per game. Keck also connected on 33-of-34 point after attempts and was named an All-MIAA First Team selection.
Trine’s season will kick off tonight at 7:30 p.m. as the Thunder travel to Manchester University. The game marks the first NCAA Division III football game of the season.
The 2013 D3Preseason All- American football team is presented by the CDFL. The team is released on the eve of the College football season annually, as the final preseason poll. Selections are determined through scouting contacts and player evaluations during the nine months leading up to the start of the 2013 season. The CDFL is honored to showcase the 2013 preseason All-American players and to sponsor the fifth annual “D3Senior Classic” to be held in Salem, Virginia on Friday, December 13, 2013. The CDFL is a proud sponsor of all FCS, D2, D3 and NAIA college football players, who often toil in obscurity, yet truly represent the fundamental ideals of college football.
(Note- Only graduating seniors in 2013 are eligible for this preseason team selection)
8/8 - Trine Football Chosen Second in MIAA Preseason Poll
ROYAL OAK, Mich. - The Trine University football squad was picked to finish second in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) this season in the preseason poll that was released today. The Thunder received 15 points, including one first place vote, as it tied with both Hope College and Albion College. Defending conference champion Adrian College was chosen as the favorite to repeat with nine points and four first-place votes.
Head coach Matt Land enters his eighth season after coming off back-to-back 7-3 seasons, and Trine finished second in the MIAA in 2012. The Thunder will need to replace several key starters from a season ago, including MIAA Offensive MVP in wide receiver JaVontae Hence. Trine also lost two-year starting quarterback Ryan Hargraves and All-MIAA First Team defensive back Myron Puryear to graduation.
The 2013 squad will features four players who were named to preseason All-American lists, led by senior guard Andrew Webster and senior kicker Tyler Keck. Webster was named to three different preseason All-American teams, including being selected as a first team honoree by D3football.com. Keck was one of just two MIAA players to be named to the Beyond Sports Network (BSN) second team. Joining Keck and Webster on the USA College Football, Inc., 25th annual list were senior tackle Taylor Sprague and senior outside linebacker Caleb Nitz; they each garnered First Team All-MIAA honors in 2012.
Trine’s season will get underway on Sept. 5 when the team heads to Manchester (IN) for the opener at 7:30 p.m. The Thunder then plays its home-opener against Elmhurst (IL) at 1 p.m. Sept. 14. Other non-conference games for the Thunder include a home game Sept. 21 against Concordia (WI) for the MIAA/NACC Challenge series before traveling to Division II St. Joseph’s (IN). Trine’s conference season begins at home when it hosts Kalamazoo during homecoming weekend at 1 p.m. Oct. 5.
Poll Results (first-place votes in parenthesis): 1. Adrian (4) 9 pts. 2. Hope (2) 15 pts. 2. Trine (1) 15 pts. 2. Albion 15. 5. Olivet 29. 6. Kalamazoo 31. 7. Alma 33.
7/23 - Webster Named D3football Preseason all-american
MINNEAPOLIS - Trine University football player Andrew Webster (Fort Wayne, Ind./North Side) has been named to the D3football.com Preseason First Team All-American team as announced by the website. Webster becomes the first Thunder student-athlete to earn the preseason honor from D3football.com since the Thunder joined the NCAA back in 2004.
Webster, a rising senior, anchored the Thunder offensive line starting all 10 games at left tackle in 2012. Webster was on the field for 544 plays while finishing with 96 knockdowns and allowing just two sacks on the year. He also started eight games as a freshman during the 2011 season.
Webster adds to his already impressive list of accolades that include a 2012 First Team All-MIAA selection and being named to the D3football.com All-Region Third Team.
Trine opens their season on the road as they take on Manchester University on September 5 at 7:30 p.m.
7/16 - Four earn Pre-Season All-American Football honors
ANGOLA, Ind. - USA College Football, Inc. has named its 25th Annual Division III Pre-Season All Americans and four Trine University players are honored.
Senior left tackle Taylor Sprague, a Lowell (Mich.) High School graduate, was named to the offense second team. Last season, Sprague was honored as an All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association First team selection and he started all 10 games for the Trine Thunder.
Senior kicker Tyler Keck, an Elkhart Memorial High School graduate, was named to the special teams second and third teams. In June, Beyond Sports Network (BSN) announced that Keck was named to the Preseason Division III All America Second Team.
At the conclusion of the 2012 season, Keck was named to the BSN All America Third Team after also being named to the All-MIAA First Team and D3football.com All-North Region Third Team. He 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.
Senior left guard Andrew Webster, a North Side (Fort Wayne) High School graduate, was named to the offense fourth team. Webster was also named to the All-MIAA First Team and D3football.com’s third team. Webster, like Sprague, started all 10 games for the Thunder.
Senior outside linebacker Caleb Nitz Sr., a Lakeshore (Baroda, Mich.) High School graduate, was named to the defense honorable mention team. Nitz was also named to the All-MIAA First Team last year. Last season, 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 because of injury. His 72 tackles ranked him fifth among all players in the MIAA on the year. Nitz also finished second on the team with 9.5 tackles for loss.
Matt Land begins his eighth season as head coach of the Thunder program. Last year, Land became the winningest coach in school history with 53 victories while the Thunder ended the season second in the conference with a 5-1 record and 7-3 on the year.
All first and second team USA College honorees are on the Watch List for the 11 Division III Position Player of the Year Awards. Recipients will be recognized at the annual USA Small College Football Banquet on the eve of the 20th Anniversary of the Hansen Bowl in February 2014. Every senior with no remaining eligibility, first, second, third, fourth teams and honorable mention as well as upcoming Regional Players of the Week are eligible to participate in the annual four-day, three-night event. All seniors participating in the event will be presented certificates at the Annual Small College Football Awards Banquet.
6/20 - Keck Named to BSN Preseason All America Team
LEESBURG, Va. - Beyond Sports Network (BSN) has announced that Trine University football senior kicker Tyler Keck (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) has been named to the Preseason Division III All America Second Team.
BSN selected Preseason All America Team for the FBS, FCS, D2, D3, and NAIA. Athletes were chosen based on awards won, statistics, video, and SID recommendations mostly from the 2012 season.
At the conclusion of the 2012 season Keck was named to the BSN All America Third Team after also being named to the All-MIAA First Team and D3football.com All-North Region Third Team honors.
Keck was one of just two players honored from the MIAA.
Keck finished off his junior season tied for 38th in the nation in field goals per game and leading the conference in scoring with 6.0 points per game. Keck also connected on 33-of-34 point after attempts.
For his career, Keck as connected on 11-of-16 field goals attempts and 67-of-70 PAT attempts.
For a complete list of the All America teams click here.