JACKSONVILLE, Ill. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology defended a game deciding two-point conversion with no time left on the clock to earn a dramatic 33-32 victory over Illinois College in the season opening football matchup for both teams.
With the score tied 26-26, Rose-Hulman took a 33-26 lead with a 63-yard touchdown pass from freshman Andrew Dion to senior Raymond Burtnick with 59 seconds remaining. Senior Matt Murray booted the extra point to give the Engineers a seven-point edge.
Illinois College began a march down the field, reaching the 30-yard line on the final play of the game. Drew Chance connected with Kyle Obertino on a 16-yard strike, who pitched a lateral to Logan Uyetake. The second runner covered the final 14 yards for a touchdown, bringing the Blueboys within 33-32.
Illinois College decided to go for a two-point conversion and the win rather than the extra point in a one-point game. Chance tossed a pass to the corner of the endzone, which was broken up by preseason All-American cornerback Alec Thompson to secure the Rose-Hulman victory.
The final minute capped a wild last 3:18 of the fourth quarter that featured two lead changes, one tie and the two-point conversion with no time on the clock. Rose-Hulman trailed 23-19 after a 40-yard field goal by Zack DeWitt with 5:44 remaining, then marched 72 yards in eight plays to take the lead at 26-23 on an eight-yard run by Garrett Wight with 3:18 left.
Illinois College marched 32 yards in seven plays, before reaching a fourth-and-long at the 32-yard line. DeWitt was called on for a game-tying 50-yard field goal, which sailed through the uprights to knot the score at 26-26.
Rose-Hulman then took the kickoff and on the second play, Dion and Burtnick hooked up down the right sideline on a 63-yard touchdown catch and run to put the Engineers ahead with 59 seconds left. Illinois College brought the score within 33-32 with its final play touchdown before the Engineer defense came up with the winning two-point play stand.
Dion led the Rose-Hulman offense with a 10-22 performance for 155 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Stanley Hogan rushed for 68 yards on 24 carries, and Wight added 64 yards and one score. Burtnick had the big receiving game for Rose-Hulman, with 118 yards on six receptions and two touchdowns.
Chance finished 32-59 for 353 yards and three touchdowns through the air to lead the Blueboys. Uyetake had 164 receiving yards and three touchdowns to lead the Illinois College receivers.
The Fightin' Engineer defense recorded seven sacks and nine pass breakups in another winning performance. Kaelen Garner had three sacks and 3.5 tackles-for-loss among his nine overall tackles. Mike Riley added a pair of sacks among his eight tackles. Tyler Brutofsky led the defense with 11 total tackles and three pass breakups.
Rose-Hulman improved to 1-0 on the season, while Illinois College stands 0-1. The Fightin' Engineers host Millikin University in the home opener next Saturday at 7 p.m.