BLUFFTON, Ohio -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology crossed 400 yards in total offense and improved to 7-2 on the season with a 31-28 victory at Bluffton University in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference football action on Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore Garrett Wight rushed for a career-high 156 yards with his fourth 100-yard rushing game in the last five weeks to lead the offense. Wight added a pair of rushing touchdown on 33 carries.
Freshman Andrew Dion balanced the Rose-Hulman offense by completing 15-31 passes for 224 yards and one touchdown. Senior Zack Murphy had a game-high five receptions for 56 yards and one score, and Dion added a rushing touchdown of his own.
Defensively, John Kirby led Rose-Hulman with 11 tackles on the day. Alec Thompson added an impressive five pass breakups, and Tyler Stewart led the defensive line with six tackles, 2.5 tackles-for-loss and one sack. Kaelen Garner contributed five tackles, two quarterback hurries and one blocked kick.
Brandon Koch was limited to 17 completions in 44 attempts by the Engineer defense, passing for 197 yards for Bluffton. Darian Greeley added 121 rushing yards and two scores for the host Beavers.
Rose-Hulman jumped out to a 7-0 lead on its first possession, a quick six-play drive that ended with a 29-yard scoring pass from Dion to Murphy. Greeley answered with an 11-yard scoring run on the next drive to tie the score at 7-7.
The Fightin' Engineers regained a 14-7 lead on a one-yard touchdown by Wight late in the first quarter. The contest was knotted up again at 14-14 on a Koch 16-yard scoring strike to Micah Roberson.
Rose-Hulman again took the lead at 21-14 midway through the second quarter. Wight capped a seven-play, 20-yard march that was set up by a blocked punt from Garner that was returned 10 more yards by Thompson. His one-yard plunge put the Engineers up with 8:12 left in the opneing half.
Bluffton tied the score at 21-21 early in the third quarter on an 80-yard interception return. Rose-Hulman marched right back, with Dion giving the Fightin' Engineers a 28-21 lead on a one-yard score with 5:04 left in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, senior Matt Murray added a key 27-yard field goal to push Rose-Hulman's lead to 31-21. Bluffton answered with a one-yard run by Greeley to cut the margin to 31-28 with 9:45 remaining.
Rose-Hulman iced the game on its final possession, taking over after forcing a turnover on downs with 1:40 remaining. On 3rd-and-2, Dion scampered for three yards to give Rose-Hulman its last needed first down to run out the clock and secure the victory.
Rose-Hulman improved to 7-2 overall and 6-1 in HCAC play, while Bluffton dropped to 2-6 and 2-4 in league games. The Fightin' Engineers have a bye next week, before heading to Earlham for the Battle of the Borders Broadsword rivalry game on Nov. 12.