BLUFFTON, OHIO – A combination of big plays on the offensive and defensive side helped guide Manchester University to a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference road victory Saturday, Oct. 13.
Senior defensive back Dillon Nelson (Fairland, Ind.) was a spectre for the Bluffton University offense, picking off Beavers' quarterback Plummie Gardner three times during the afternoon at BU's Alumni Field. Two of those interceptions wound up with the Black and Gold standout finding himself in the home team end zone with touchdowns including the game-deciding score with 7:07 left and another that sealed the win with just over a minute remaining.
Head coach Nate Jensen's offense also added to the big-play theme. Junior quarterback Austin Roberts (Indianapolis, Ind.), highlighting a five-of-10, 137-yard effort through the air, hit freshman wide receiver Clevarius Marshall (Miami, Fla.) on a 70-yard catch-and-run strike for six to give the Spartans a 14-7 lead in the latter portion of the second period. Junior running back Donovan Henderson, Jr., (Hollywood, Fla.) continued to take the league by storm on the ground, rushing 30 times for 134 yards for his fifth triple-digit total of the season, while the freshman wide receiving tandem of Marshall and Harrington Greer (South Bend, Ind.) combined for 130 yards.
MU, improving to 3-4 overall and 3-2 in the conference which was good for fourth place on the standings, had its defense add more highlights than Nelson's three interceptions. Fellow senior defensive back and Fairland, Ind., native Austin Coughlin totaled 10 solo tackles and a sack, while junior linebacker Justin Thomas (Lowell, Ind.) continued to impress with seven solo tackles and a sack; junior defensive back De'Lon Barnes (Los Angeles, Calif.) tallied five solo tackles and a sack; and senior defensive lineman Jacob Cooper (Fairland, Ind.) added another sack.
The Spartans return to Carl W. Burt Memorial to start back-to-back match-ups against the conference co-leaders Saturday Oct. 20 and 27. The set starts with Hanover College making the northern trip for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.