HANCOCK, MICH. -- The Trine University football team saw its regular-season unbeaten streak grow to 17 games with a 31-0 win against Finlandia (Mich.) University in a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association game on a snowy afternoon in Hancock, Mich.
The snowy conditions slowed the Trine offensive attack overall, but the Thunder still had an impressive day on the ground with 242 of the team's 301 total yards coming off the heels of its ball carriers. Senior tailback Lamar Carswell (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) led the way with 189 yards on 22 carries (8.6 yards per carry) and had three touchdowns. Junior quarterback Brandon Winters (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) was second with 31 yards on six carries and sophomore D'on Stinson (Findlay, Ohio/Findlay) added 22 yards on 12 touches.
Senior Elijah Klepper (Mendon, Mich./Mendon) caught the lone TD throw, his only catch of the game, and finished with a game-high 35 yards.
Defensively, Trine held its opponent to 197 yards of total offense (111 rushing and 86 passing) and tallied six total sacks. Senior Ryan Potts (St. Joseph, Mich./Stevensville-Lakeshore) led the team in stops with eight tackles (two solo and six assists) that included one of the team's sacks. Sophomores Keysean Amison (Sandusky, Ohio/Perkins), Sam Cavanaugh (Muncie, Ind./Central) and juniors Simeon Washington (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) and Hunter Hiatt (Summitville, Ind./Madison-Grant) were all tied for second with seven tackles each. Two of Amison's tackles were for loss (one sack) and had a forced fumble, Cavanaugh had 1.5 tackles for loss (1.5 sacks), Washington had a tackle for loss (sack) and Hiatt had an assisted sack for a half tackle for loss.
Finlandia (0-7, 0-4 MIAA) got the opening kickoff and put together an 11-play drive to get to the Trine 26-yard line, but the drive would end on a fourth down play, keeping the game scoreless. Following the turnover-on-downs, the Thunder (7-0, 4-0 MIAA) fumbled the ball on their second play from scrimmage, but would recover the ball to continue the drive where the next two plays consisted of a 40-yard run by Carswell and then a 30-yard scamper for his first touchdown of the game which gave Trine the 7-0 lead. The Carswell score was the only points of the opening quarter.
On Trine's second drive of the second quarter, Carswell struck again on a possession composed of five straight running plays by the tailback, including a 36-yard run to paydirt with 8:49 to go in the half to make the score 14-0. Nearing the end of the half, the Trine defense forced Finlandia to punt from its own endzone which resulted in excellent field position at the Lion 38-yard line for a possible scoring opportunity before the break. The Thunder began the drive with an 18-yard pass completion from Brandon Winters to sophomore Seth Vargo (Bellevue, Ohio/Clyde) and then Carswell capped the drive with a 19-yard run, followed by a one-yard run for the score to put Trine ahead, 21-0, at halftime.
The only points in the third quarter came late in the period when Brandon Winters found Klepper for a 35-yard completion with just over three minutes remaining as the Thunder advantage grew to 28-0 heading into the final frame.
In a drive that began with just seconds to go in the third, Trine put the final points on the board early in the fourth quarter with a 21-yard field goal by junior Lucas Garza (Syracuse, Ind./Wawasee) with 12:43 to go in the game. The Garza kick made the score 31-0 and the Thunder went on to capture the 31-point victory.
Trine will play its next two matchups at home, beginning with MIAA opponent Albion (Mich.) College next Saturday, Oct. 27. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Fred Zollner Athletic Stadium.