WAVERLY, IOWA -- Two early turnovers led to two quick Wartburg scores and captured all momentum as the Trine University football team fell, 49-7, in a second round game of the NCAA Division III Tournament in Waverly, Iowa.
After forcing Wartburg (12-0) to punt on its opening possession, Trine (11-1) fumbled the ball on its first drive, but the Knights fumbled the ball back over to the Thunder on the same exchange, giving Trine another opportunity.
Five plays later, Trine fumbled the ball again, this time with possession staying with the home team and led to a 25-yard touchdown play to go up 7-0. On the ensuing kickoff, Wartburg forced another fumble which it recovered and returned it 30 yards for the score and quickly jumped out to a 14-0 advantage.
With all momentum on its side, Wartburg added to its lead with a 14-yard run to end the scoring in the first quarter to lead 21-0.
The second quarter didn't get any easier for Trine as the home team put more points on the board with a scoring drive that carried over from the end of the first to make it a 28-0 game. Wartburg tacked on one final score before the end of the half on a six-yard pass play to extend the deficit to 35-0 at the break.
Early turnovers continued to plague Trine in the second half as an interception that ended its first drive of the third quarter led to seven more points for Wartburg as the deficit increased to 42-0 at the 11:22 minute mark.
Following the Wartburg score, Trine got on the scoreboard with a seven-yard TD run by junior Lamar Carswell (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales), his 25th rushing TD of the season, on its next possession to make it a 42-7 game. The Thunder forced a Knight punt on their ensuing drive and then drove inside the Wartburg 20-yard line, but the drive ended with an interception that later led to a 58-yard Wartburg run for a TD to make the score, 49-7, after three quarters of play.
Neither team would find the endzone in the fourth quarter as the Knights won by the final of 49-7.
Senior quarterback Evan Wyse (Archbold, Ohio/Archbold) led the Trine offense with 84 yards on the ground and 95 yards through the air. Wyse carried the ball 20 times to average 4.2 yards per carry. He also completed four-of-11 passes for 95 yards.
In addition to his rushing TD, Carswell finished the game with 34 yards on 23 carries (1.5 yards per carry). He ends the season with a school record 25 rushing TD and now has 42 in his career which is also a school record.
Junior wide wideout Jeffery Barnett (Fremont, Ohio/Ross) led the team in receiving with two catches for 77 yards.
Defensively, junior Zach DeMeester (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater) led the team in tackles with a season-tying high 10 stops (six solo and four assists), including a tackle for loss. Senior Robert Riley (Mendon, Mich./Mendon) was second with nine tackles (six solo and three assists).
Trine ends its season with a school record-tying 11 wins. It is the third time in program history that the Thunder ended the season with 11 victories (1998, 2010, 2017). Trine also ends the year with a 1-1 mark in the NCAA postseason and is now 3-4 all-time in NCAA postseason history.