NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Manchester University opened quickly Saturday, Oct. 26, scoring the first 13 points of its Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference battle with Mt. St. Joseph at Carl W. Burt Memorial Field.
However, the visiting Lions, running their record to 5-2 overall and 5-1 in league play, reeled off 34 unanswered points en route to a 41-27 victory. MSJ did so behind the arm of junior quarterback Caleb Watkins who hit on 26 of 38 attempts for 333 yards and four touchdowns.
A pair of big plays got the home crowd on its feet early. The senior linebacking duo of Zach Dashner (South Bend, Ind.) and Dylin Kennedy (North Manchester, Ind.) forced and recovered a fumble near midfield on MSJ's first drive, setting up a methodical 16-play, 54-yard drive that Adams cashed in with his fourth rushing touchdown of the season. After holding their guests on five plays, freshman return specialist Dakota Nelson (Fairland, Ind.) broke loose on a 49-yard punt return inside the Lions' 30-yard line. Seven plays later, Williams dove in from a yard out to close the first period with a 13-0 lead.
Mt. St. Joseph answered with 67 and 80-yard scoring drives to tie the game at 13-13 at the half. Their roll didn't end there, as a 73-yard scoring march in the third period broke up the deadlock, and they added three more touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
MU, falling to 2-6 overall and 2-4 in the conference, managed a combined 239 yards rushing and passing. Senior quarterback Nick Williams (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and junior running back Austin Adams (Dowagiac, Mich.) each went over 50 yards on the ground, while Williams and sophomore quarterback Logan Haston (Avon, Ind.) combined for 110 yards through the air.
Kennedy had another strong effort, numbers-wise in tackles, with nine solo and three assisted for 10.5 total. Dashner was among a group of three, joining freshman defensive back Jarvis Mitchell (South Bend, Ind.) and senior defensive back Jacob Meyer (Highland, Ind.), right behind Kennedy with 5.5 tackles. He also added an interception and the forced fumble.
MU breaks from action until Saturday, Nov. 9, when they travel to Hanover College.