RIVER FOREST, ILL. -- The Trine defense recorded a school single-game record six interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns, which led to a total of five scores as the Thunder remained unbeaten on the season with a 44-7 win against Concordia (Ill.) University-Chicago in River Forest, Ill.
All six INT's came in the first half with the first two made by junior Cayleel Hill (Owings Mills, Md./Owings Mills), both of which led to offensive touchdowns. Junior Marcus Winters (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) tallied the next two interceptions with one returned 29 yards for a score. The remaining interceptions were made by junior J.J. Fierro (Kokomo, Ind./Maconaquah) and senior Kyle Wiswell (Three Rivers, Mich./Mendon) who had a 79-yard return for a TD and tied the school record for longest interception return.
The Trine offense ended the game with 447 yards of total offense with 326 of those yards coming on the ground. Sophomore Seth Boggs (Sandusky, Ohio/Perkins) averaged 6.4 yards per carry to lead all rushers with a career-high 108 yards on 17 carries. Junior Lamar Carswell (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) had 70 yards on 10 touches and found the endzone twice.
Senior Evan Wyse (Archbold, Ohio/Archbold) completed seven-of-nine passes for 117 yards and one TD. Senior Andrew Bonfiglio (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) was Wyse's top target with a team-high three receptions and had 35 yards to go along with one TD. Junior Jeffery Barnett (Fremont, Ohio/Ross) had a team-best 61 receiving yards on two receptions.
After both teams exchanged possessions to begin the game, Hill's first interception led to Trine's (4-0) first points of the contest when Carswell found running room and scampered 49 yards for the score. On Concordia's (2-1) ensuing drive, Hill stepped in front of another pass and set the Thunder offense up at the Cougar 43-yard line. Eight plays later, Carswell found the endzone again, this time from six yards out, and increased the margin to 14-0 with 3:32 to play in the first quarter.
The very next Concorida drive ended with a three-and-out, but the Cougars got the ball right back on a Trine fumble. But the Cougars returned the favor on its first play from scrimmage as Winters posted his first interception of the game. Following an illegal block penalty during the interception play, Trine began its ensuing drive at the 1:24 mark of the first period and five plays later, Wyse found Bonfiglio on an 18-yard completion on the first play of the second quarter to extend the advantage to 21-0.
The Trine defense continued its impressive play as Winters recorded his second INT of the game on the third play from scrimmage for Concordia after the Bonfiglio TD, but this time, he returned it 29 yards for the score to make it a 28-0 ballgame with 13:27 to go in the half. Following the Winters' return, Concordia had its third staright possession end with an interception when Fierro got in on the action with his INT. But the ensuing Thunder drive ended in a turnover of its own. The Cougars couldn't capitalize on the opportunity as yet another interception ended a possible scoring opportunity as Concordia got to the Trine 36-yard line when Wiswell step in front of the errant pass at the 21-yard line and ran 79 yards to the endzone.
Trine had one final offensive opportunity before the end of the half and following a 49-yard pass play from Wyse to Barnett to begin the drive to put the ball at the Concordia two-yard line, senior Mark Wilson (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central) scored the sixth TD of the half on back-to-back one-yard runs to put the Thunder ahead, 42-0, at the intermission.
Coming out of the locker rooms, the Trine offense focused on the ground game as the Thunder ran just two pass plays the entire second half. Concordia got on the scoreboard in the third quarter after forcing Trine to punt on its opening possession of the period. The Cougars then capped an 11-play drive with an one-yard TD run to end the possible shutout, but would still trail 42-7 after 45 minutes.
The lone points of the fourth quarter came on a Trine safety that followed a Thunder drive that stalled at the Concordia one-yard line. On the first play of the Cougar ensuing possession, sophomore Zac McKee (Syracuse, Ind./Wawasee) tackled the Cougar ball carrier in the endzone at the 8:51 mark as the Thunder cruised to the 44-7 final.
In addition to its six interceptions, the Trine defense held its opponents to 178 total yards (49 rushing and 129 passing) and forced a total of seven turnovers (six interceptions and one fumble). Senior Robert Riley (Mendon, Mich./Mendon) led the team with five tackles (three solo and two assists).
Trine will look to remain unbeaten when it opens Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play next Saturday, Oct. 7 when the Thunder travel to Albion, Mich. to take on Albion College. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.