Spartans extend win streak, move up HCAC

Spartans extend win streak, move up HCAC

CINCINNATI, OHIO – Manchester University used a familiar formula to claim a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference win Saturday, Oct. 20.

The Spartans, earning their fourth straight win, held a usually strong Mount St. Joseph offense to one short field touchdown drive while stopping the Lions on downs twice and forcing two punts in the final two quarters. MU's defensive enabled the Black and Gold offense to convert on a 71-yard scoring drive and a 76-yard journey that killed the clock at Schueler Field on MSJ's campus to preserve a 17-14 win.

Senior defensive back Matt Frieden (Wabash, Ind.) led the defense with 12 tackles. Sophomore defensive lineman Stephen Coble (Edwardsburg, Mich.) added six tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss. The duo was part of an overall effort that held MSJ to 325 total yards and just 16 passing yards.

Coach Shannon Griffith's squad (4-4 overall, 4-2 HCAC), climbing into third place on the league standings, got out to a fast start. On its first possession, Manchester moved across midfield and gave senior placekicker Kyle Evans (Winamac, Ind.) a shot at a 43-yard field goal that he converted. The Spartan defense forced a second successive three-and-out from its hosts which MU took advantage of with a five-play, 74-yard drive for paydirt. Junior quarterback Nick Williams (Fort Wayne, Ind.) dove in from a yard out to complete the march and make it 10-0 less than 12 minutes in.

Mt. St. Joseph answered with a pair of rushing touchdowns to lead 14-10 in the third quarter. However, MU, using the legs and arms of Williams, mustered a 10-play, 71-yard scoring drive late in the third period. Williams hit senior wide receiver Kurt Monix (Crown Point, Ind.) on a 35-yard strike to give the Black and Gold the lead for good. MSJ (3-4, 2-4 HCAC) did get into Spartan territory twice in the final frame but was held on downs in both instances, while Manchester got its 76-yard march going in the closing moments to seal the win.

Williams closed the game with 129 yards rushing and 112 yards passing. Monix led the receiving corps with four catches for 77 yards.

Manchester moves into its bye week this coming week. The Spartans return to action Saturday, Nov. 3, when current league unbeaten Hanover visits Carl Burt Field for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.

NOTES – MU's current win streak is the program's longest since 2009. … The victory snapped a 10-game losing streak in the series. … Williams has led the Black and Gold in rushing and passing yardage in back-to-back contests.