TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology scored in the final two minutes and recovered an onside kick in a late rally, before falling short 28-26 to Millikin University in the football home opener on Saturday night at Cook Stadium.
Freshman Andrew Dion connected with senior Zack Murphy on a 45-yard touchdown pass to bring the Fightin' Engneers within 28-26 with 1:57 remaining. The ensuing onside kickoff was recovered by Noah Thomas to give Rose-Hulman another possession and a chance to earn the victory.
On 4th-and-13 near midfield, Dion connected with Murphy and the diving receiver came up just shy of the first down marker as Millikin moved to 2-0 on the season.
Dion led the Rose-Hulman offense by finishing 30-45 through the air for 389 yards and three touchdowns. Murphy led the receiving corps with six catches for 173 yards and one touchdown. Garrett Wight led the ground attack with 68 yards and also had a 52-yard kickoff return.
Nicco Stepina paced the Millikin effort by finishing 13-32 through the air for 362 yards and three touchdowns. Gerald Perry led the Big Blue receivers with 207 yards and two scores.
The Rose-Hulman defense forced gained three more sacks on the evening, led by Kaelen Garner with 1.5 sacks. Mike Henry led the defense with 13 tackles and nine solo efforts. Garner had eight stops. Mike Riley added another sack to the effort.
Rose-Hulman jumped ahead 7-0 at halftime, after Dion connected with Burtnick on a two-yard touchdown pass. The lead grew to 10-0 on a 35-yard field goal by Matt Murray.
Millikin gained a lead at 21-13, before the Fightin' Engineers marched 81 yards in eight plays to score on a 15-yard strike from Dion to Burtnick. The potential tying two-point conversion failed and the Big Blue led 21-19.
After a Millikin touchdown, Rose-Hulman relied on its late 45-yard scoring strike and the onside kick recovery to gain one last chance.
Millikin improved to 2-0, while Rose-Hulman dropped to 1-1. The Fightin' Engineers return to action next Saturday with the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener against Hanover.