ANGOLA, IND. -- After giving up 24 points and 332 yards of offense in the first half, the Trine University football team held Monmouth (Ill.) College to just 75 yards and no points in the second half, resulting in a 63-24 win in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament at Fred Zollner Athletic Stadium in Angola, Ind.
Senior quarterback Evan Wyse (Archbold, Ohio/Archbold) had a big day offensively with 353 total yards and four combined touchdowns. He completed seven-of-11 passes for 162 yards and a score, while rushing for a career-high 191 yards on 18 carries (10.6 yards per attempt) and three TD. His 191 yards also put him over the 1,000-yard rushing plateau for the season, becoming the second Thunder player to do so.
Along with junior running back Lamar Carswell (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) who has rushed for 1,475 yards this season, the duo becomes the first tandem in program history to both rush for 1,000 yards or more in a season.
Carswell also had a big day against the Fighting Scots with 131 yards of his own on 17 carries (7.7 ypc.) and scored twice. He now has 24 rushing TD on the year.
In addition, sophomore Seth Boggs (Sandusky, Ohio/Perkins) scored a pair of TD, one on the ground and one through the air, as he scampered for an 87-yard run in his only rush of the game, and then caught two passes for 66 yards with one reception being a 60-yard TD.
Defensively, Trine was led in tackles by junior Ryan Potts (Saint Joseph, Mich./Stevensville-Lakeshore) with a career-high 10 stops (three solo and seven assists), inluding a half tackle for loss. The Thunder also had two players record "pick-6's" beginning with sophomore Hunter Hiatt (Summitville, Ind./Madison-Grant) who scored the game's first points on a 56-yard interception return. The final points of the game also came on an interception for touchdown when junior Marcus Winters (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) recorded his sixth INT of the year, and his second return for TD, this time of 25 yards.
There was no shortage of offense in the first half, despite rain soaked conditions which also included a lightening delay. The two teams combined for a total of 599 yards in the first half with Monmouth (9-2) racking up 332 yards and Trine (11-0) posting 267 yards. But it was the defense that put the first points on the board with Hiatt's 56-yard interception return for a score that ended a drive by Monmouth who had driven to the Trine 44-yard line prior to the INT after the game's opening kickoff. The Fighting Scots then answered by scoring points on back-to-back drives with a 30-yard field goal prior to end of the first quarter and a three-yard TD pass on their first drive of the second frame to lead 10-7.
Following the Monmouth TD to begin the second quarter, momentum swung back in favor of Trine as Boggs found space on the team's second play from scrimmage and ran 87 yards for the score to give the Thunder a 14-10 advantage with 12:17 left in the half. Both teams scored on their next possessions with Trine's next score coming on the heels of Wyse from a yard out, making it a 21-17 margin with just over seven minutes remaining. Later in the period, after a missed 42-yard field goal attempt by the home team, Monmouth recorded a quick two-play scoring drive of its own when the Scots broke free for a 76-yard scamper that put the visitors back ahead on the scoreboard, 24-21. On Trine's ensuing drive, Wyse connected on a 32-yard pass play to fellow senior Andrew Bonfiglio (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) on the first play, which was followed up by an 18-yard run by Carswell and then Wyse ran for a 31-yard TD to complete the drive and end the scoring in the half. The teams headed into the locker rooms with Trine leading, 28-24.
Trine looked to make a statement early in the second half as the Thunder took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards in four plays which included a 60-yard strike from Wyse to Boggs at the 13:19 mark to extend the margin to 35-24. The Trine defense also began to take over as the first three Monmouth drives of third quarter ended in punts. Meanwhile, the Trine offense didn't let up as Carswell would rush for his first of two scores on the day with a 12-yard run and then a 39-yard rush on the Thunder's next possession, resulting in a 49-24 lead after three quarters of play.
Wyse scored Trine's final offensive TD of the game to begin the fourth quarter, scoring from a yard out, to make the score, 56-24. The Thunder then picked off back-to-back Monmouth passes, including Winters' 25-yard INT return for a touchdown and was followed by an interception by sophomore Simeon Washington (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic). The Winters touchdown was the final score of the game the rest of the way as Trine went to the convincing, 63-24, to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Trine will next take on Wartburg (Iowa) College, who advanced by defeating Franklin College, in the next round of tournament play next Saturday, Nov. 25. The start time of the game is set for noon, but the location has yet to be announced.