BLUFFTON, OHIO -- Quarterback Evan Wyse (Archbold, Ohio/Archbold) and wide reciever Jeffery Barnett (Fremont, Ohio/Ross) both recorded personal best performances as the Trine University football team trounced Bluffton University, 55-14, in non-conference action in Bluffton, Ohio.
With the memory of last year's meeting between the two squads still fresh, Trine (2-0) looked to make a statement and did so with 505 total yards of offense, including 359 yards on the ground which ranked as the third most all-time in a game in program history. The Thunder defense also looked to make an impact of their own as they held Bluffton (0-2) to 260 yards of offense (123 yards rushing and 137 passing) and forced two turnovers, both of which led to offensive scores.
Individually, Wyse recorded career-highs in nearly every statistical category including: completions (nine), pass attempts (15), passing touchdowns (four), all-purpose yards (120) and total offense (244 yards). In addition, he also recorded a career-high on the ground leading the team with 120 rushing yards (10.9 yards per carry) to go along with a TD. Barnett caught two of Wyse's TD throws which was a career-high. He ended the game with five receptions for a game-high 73 yards.
Junior tailback, Lamar Carswell (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) fell three yards shy of a 100-yard rushing effort of his own, finishing the game with 97 yards on 18 carries to go along with a TD. He also caught three passes for 43 yards and had a TD reception.
Trine jumped out early in the first quarter, scoring on the first possession of the game with a drive that was set up by a 41-yard return by Barnett on the game's opening kickoff. Four plays later, Carswell put the Thunder on the board on a 19-yard TD reception to cap a drive that took just 1:35 off the clock. On the Bluffton ensuing possession, Trine's defense came up with an interception by junior Zach DeMeester (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater) to give the ball back to the Thunder offense at the Beaver 29-yard line.
The lead grew to a pair of touchdowns shortly after when Wyse found sophomore Seth Boggs (Sandusky, Ohio/Perkins) on an eight-yard completion to make the score 14-0 less than five minutes into the game.
Later in the quarter, Bluffton capitalized on a Trine turnover to score its first touchdown of the game with 3:29 remaining thanks to a 10-yard pass play. The score by Bluffton was the final points of the period as Trine led, 14-7, after the first 15 minutes.
Trine then took over the game, scoring 41 unanswered points following the Bluffton TD, including a 24-point second quarter that began with a 32-yard field goal by sophomore Lucas Garza (Syracuse, Ind./Wawasee) that ended an 11-play, 53-yard drive. The remaining scoring in the quarter came on a three-yard run by Carswell, his second touchdown of the game, and a pair of TD passes by Wyse on back-to-back hookups to Barnett of 28 and nine yards as the Thunder led by a commanding, 38-7, advantage at the break.
The Trine offense didn't let up to begin the second half as Wyse added more points for the Thunder. But this time he did with his feet, as he found paydirt from nine yards out on the team's first drive of the third quarter that was set up by fumble recovery by Trine's Simeon Washington (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic). The remaining points of the frame came off the foot of freshman kicker Ryan Hibbetts (Monticello, Ind./Twin Lakes) who connected on a 40-yard field goal to extend the margin to 48-7 heading into the fourth quarter.
In a drive that carried over from the third quarter, Trine put its final points of the game on the board when backup quarterback Andrew Duckett (Niles, Mich./Brandywine) scored on a seven-yard TD run that ended an 11-play, 63-yard drive.
Bluffton would tally the final points of the game late in the fourth period, but the game was already well in hand as the Thunder cruised to the 55-14 final.
Defensively for Trine, DeMeester led the way with five tackles (all assists) to go along with his one interception. Washington was second with four stops (two solo and two assists) in addition to a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.
The Thunder will look to continue their early momentum when they host Wisconsin Lutheran College next Saturday, Sept. 16 at Zollner Athletic Stadium. The game will be part of Homecoming festivities with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m.