ANGOLA, IND. -- The Trine University football team tallied 477 yards of total offense in a 58-0 rout of Finlandia (Mich.) University in a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association matchup on a rain-soaked afternoon at Fred Zollner Athletic Stadium in Angola, Ind.
The win snapped a three-game skid for the Thunder and marked the 100th overall victory for the coaching tandem of Offensive Coordinator Jake Kinsey and Head Coach Troy Abbs since becoming part of the Trine football coaching staff in their coaching careers.
The Thunder rushed for a season-high 358 yards with a pair of players finishing with over 100 yards that included sophomore Darrell Banks (Battle Creek, Mich./Battle Creek Central) and freshman Xaine Kirby (Sweetser, Ind./Eastbrook). Banks finished with a game-high 113 yards on 15 carries (7.5 yards per carry) and had a pair of touchdowns. Kirby ended the game with 112 yards on 11 touches (10.2 ypc.) and also scored twice.
Trine also threw for over 100 yards with several players seeing playing time. Freshman Alex Price (Reading, Mich./Reading) started the game and threw for 41 yards on a perfect three-of-three passing to go along with a TD completion. Sophomore Jake Hill (Lizton, Ind./Tri-West) threw for a game-high 46 yards and completed three-of-five passing attempts in addition to a TD pass. Senior Brent Hays (Fishers, Ind./Fishers) completed two passes in six attempts for 32 yards and also tossed a TD pass.
Sophomore Adam Gutting (Findlay, Ohio/Findlay) was the leading target for the Trine passers with three catches for 46 yards which also included a TD reception.
Defensively, Trine held Finlandia to just 50 yards of total offense (13 rushing and 37 passing) and forced four takeaways with a pair of interceptions and fumbles. The Thunder also had nine tackles for loss against the Lions. Senior Mason Bowers (New Castle, Ind./New Castle) led the team individually in tackles with four total (two solo and two assists).
Both teams got off to a shaky start as Finlandia (0-7, 0-4 MIAA) received the game's opening kickoff and then fumbled on its first offensive play from scrimmage. Trine (4-3, 1-3 MIAA) then started at its own 47-yard line and marched to the Finlandia one-yard line, but were denied the endzone as the Lion defense held on a fourth down play to keep the game scoreless. Despite not scoring an offensive touchdown, the Thunder took advantage of Finlandia starting at its own one-yard line and forced a punt attempt that was fumbled on the snap and recovered in the endzone by Trine's Jordan Smith (Sterling Heights, Mich./De La Salle Collegiate) to put the Thunder on the scoreboard, 7-0.
The lone TD was the only points of the first quarter, but the Trine offense began to fire on all cylinders in the second quarter. On the first play of the second period that was part of a Trine drive that started in the late minutes of the first quarter, freshman quarterback Alex Price (Reading, Mich./Reading) found senior wide receiver Seth Boggs (Sandusky, Ohio/Perkins) for a 23-yard TD strike to increase the margin to 14-0.
After forcing a three-and-out on the ensuing Finlandia possession following the Boggs score, senior Jacob Chesney (Kirklin, Ind./Sheridan) returned the Lion punt 32 yards to the Finlandia 20-yard line and set up a 20-yard scamper by Kirby on the first play from scrimmage for Trine and put the Thunder up by three scores, 21-0, with 12:28 remaining in the half.
On the next Trine drive, sophomore running back Darrell Banks (Battle Creek, Mich./Battle Creek Central) saw the majority of the work load with carries of 11, five and two yards on the first three plays of the offensive series. The drive looked to stall as the Thunder were forced into a fourth down, but "trickery" on what appeared to be a punt by the Thunder that saw junior punter Nick Funk (Auburn, Ind./Winfield) keep the ball and gain six yards to get the first down and continue the drive. Two plays later, Banks was called on again and this time found daylight for a 37-yard scamper for another Trine touchdown which made it a 28-0 ball game with 4:29 to go in the second quarter.
The Trine offense got the ball one more time late in the second quarter and would set up a field goal attempt by senior Ryan Hibbets (Monticello, Ind./Twin Lakes) with two seconds remaining. Hibbets' attempt came from 53 yards out which found its way inside the left upright setting a school single-game record. He improved upon his own school record of 51 yards which he set in the season opener against Manchester University back on Sept. 5.
Trine kept the pressure on the Lions both offensively and defensively in the second half as an interception by Trine's Marc Guerrero (Merrillville, Ind./Merrillville) that ended Finlandia's first drive coming out of the locker rooms, later led to a series of four straight rushes by Kirby and was capped by a two-yard run to the endzone to extend the margin to 38-0.
The Thunder found the endzone again on their next possession that began in the offensive zone at the Finlandia 42-yard line. This time, Hill completed a 21-yard pass to Gutting in the endzone for the team's seventh TD so far during the afternoon. The Thunder failed to convert the extra point attempt, but Trine still led by a score of 44-0 with 7:30 to go in the third quarter.
The final score of the period for Trine was also set up by a defensive interception when sophomore Max Slusser (Bourbon, Ind./Triton) stepped in front of a Finlandia pass and later led to a 17-yard pass play from Hays to Schuttler with 27 seconds left as the Thunder took a 51-0 advantage into the fourth quarter.
In the final period, the lone points of the quarter came off the heals of Banks who rushed for his second TD of the day that ended a drive of eight plays, seven of which were running plays by Banks, and culminated in a seven-yard run to end the afternoon as the Thunder cruised to the 58-0 victory.
Trine will play its next two contests on the road, beginning with a MIAA game against Albion (Mich.) College next Saturday, Nov. 2 in Albion, Mich. The game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.