Back-to-back road contests begin

Back-to-back road contests begin

A visit to Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tri-unbeaten Mt. St. Joseph University Saturday, Oct. 6, is next on Manchester University's schedule.

Game details: Kickoff at MSJ's Schueler Field is 1:30 p.m. … Live audio, statistics and video are available via links at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of MU athletics … Mt. St. Joseph holds a 17-5 lead all-time against the Black and Gold with MU's most recent victory occurring on its home Carl W. Burt Memorial Field in 2015. Close-knit encounters have been part of the series trend with half of the previous eight decisions decided by 14 points or less.

Spartan Shorts: Three statistical categories see two Black and Gold juniors ranked in the conference's top five. Junior running back Donovan Henderson, Jr., (Hollywood, Fla.), due to a run of four successive 100-yard-plus games, is first in rushing yardage per contest (141.8) and rushing scores (10). Classmate Justin Thomas (Lowell, Ind.), a linebacker, is tied for third in sacks (four) … Henderson's numbers also transfer well on the NCAA Division III rankings. He's 11th in rushing yards per contest, while his ground score total is tied for fifth-highest in the country … MU (2-3 overall, 2-1 HCAC) looks to break through for its first road victory of the season this weekend. They've had near misses in their last two excursions, falling 39-33 at Alma College of Michigan Sept. 8 and dropping a 19-12 cliffhanger at Rose-Hulman Sept. 22 … Head coach Nate Jensen's team is coming off a ferocious offensive attack in a 69-0 Homecoming 2018 win over Earlham Sept. 29. Tying the second-largest margin of victory in program history and hitting 60-points-or-more for the first time since 2016 didn't come quickly, though. After freshman return specialist Charles Stefanek (Van Wert, Ohio) broke through the Quakers' special teams unit and raced 86 yards for a touchdown on the first play, Earlham nearly countered on their first possession. Using the arm of freshman signal caller Collin Hauschild, they efficiently moved into the red zone before a game-changing interception from sophomore defensive back Nick Tillmann (Lawrenceburg, Ind.) turned the tables. From that point, it was all Spartans and then some. Henderson rushed for three scores for the third time in four weeks; another kick return new face in the form of Clevarius Marshall (Miami, Fla.) took a punt back 85 yards to paydirt; and quarterback Bryce Tomasi (Mishawaka, Ind.), yet another first-year standout, rushed for one score and threw for another to keep the Burt Field scoreboard flashing consistently. On the defensive side, there was plenty to be happy about for the Spartans, too. An opportunistic and aggressive crew compiled a sack, 13 tackles for losses, three fumble recoveries and one interception. The stars were many, as senior defensive back Dillon Nelson (Fairland, Ind.) totaled a unit best six tackles; Thomas had two tackles for losses and a sack among his four tackles; Tillmann's ball-hawking ways gained him his third interception; and the trio of senior defensive back Lucas Lorian (Reelsville, Ind.), freshman defensive back Michael Cross (Arcadia, Ind.) and senior defensive back Austin Coughlin (Fairland, Ind.) each grabbed a fumble recovery.

Bluffton Bound: Manchester University takes the short eastern trek to Bluffton University of Ohio Saturday, Oct. 13.