TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Andrew Dion threw four touchdown passes and a strong defensive effort included three turnovers and six sacks as Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology topped Hanover College 38-28 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference football opener for both schools on Saturday at Cook Stadium.
Dion finished 20-35 through the air for 319 yards to lead a 497-yard offensive attack for the Fightin' Engineers. Zack Murphy had four receptions for 134 yards and a score, Noah Thomas added 96 yards on seven catches, and Raymond Burtnick had two touchdown catches on the day. The ground attack featured Dion with 72 yards, Garrett Wight with 48 and Stanley Hogan with 44 for Rose-Hulman.
Defensively, the Fightin' Engineers recorded six sacks and forced three turnovers. John Kirby had 14 solo hits and a 50-yard interception return, and Mike Riley added three sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery to pace the individual effort. Alec Thompson added 12 tackles, Tyler Stewart recorded two sacks and Mike Henry added an interception to provide depth.
Chase Lightfoot led the Hanover offense by completing 36-of-62 passes for 446 yards. The defense forced the Panthers to be one-dimensional, however, by holding Hanover to just eight rushing yards as a team.
Hanover led 9-3 early in the second quarter, before Rose-Hulman took a 10-9 lead on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Dion to Murphy. Hanover added a late touchdown to take a 15-10 lead at the half.
Rose-Hulman dominated the second half with 21 of the first 28 points. Dion and Wight connected on a 15-yard touchdown pass to put the Engineers in front, and the lead reached 24-15 on a 3-yard strike from Dion to Burtnick. Hanover closed within 24-22 with an early fourth quarter touchdown, but the Fightin' Engineers scored twice in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Dion and Burtnick connected on a 7-yard touchdown pass after Kirby's 50-yard interception return set up the drive to put Rose-Hulman up 31-22. Dion capped the Rose-Hulman scoring with a 42-yard touchdown run with 2:37 remaining.
Rose-Hulman improved to 2-1 on the season and 1-0 in league play, while Hanover dropped to 0-3. The Fightin' Engineers will host Defiance College next Saturday at 1:30 p.m.