TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- An opening day matchup against the defending NCAA Division III national champions highlights the 2018 Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology football schedule.
Rose-Hulman opens the 2018 season with a trip to the University of Mount Union to face the reigning national champions on Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. Mount Union has won 13 NCAA Division III football championships, including national titles in 2015 and 2017. The Purple Raiders have an overall record of 142-7 over the past 10 years.
The Fightin' Engineers have a second new non-conference opponent in 2017. Rose-Hulman faces Rhodes College in its home opener on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. The two teams were traditional rivals in both the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference and its predecessor the College Athletic Conference, with an all-time series tied at 11-11-1. Last season, the Lynx finished with a record of 4-6.
Rose-Hulman faces the top finishers in the 2017 Hearland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings during a critical September stretch. After the two non-conference games, the Fightin' Engineers travel to Mount St. Joseph on Sept. 15. Rose-Hulman closes the month at defending HCAC champion Franklin on Sept. 29.
The early home schedule includes conference matchups against Manchester on Sept. 22 and Bluffton in the annual Homecoming Game on Oct. 6. Rose-Hulman defeated both teams as part of an 8-2 overall record and a 7-1 conference finish last season.
The remaining Cook Stadium schedule features Anderson for the Hall of Fame Game on Oct. 20; and Earlham for Senior Day on Nov. 10. The HCAC road schedule also includes trips to Defiance on Oct. 27 and Hanover on Nov. 3.
The 2018 team should be a veteran crew with high expectations. Rose-Hulman is projected to return seven offensive and two defensive starters from the 2017 squad. The team ranked among the HCAC leaders in total offense (475.2 ypg) and scoring offense (39.7 ppg), while ranking in the top two in scoring defense (21.9 ppg) and sacks (42).
Eighth-year head coach Jeff Sokol returns an experienced crew featuring four returning first-team all-conference players. Projected returnees who earned first-team all-league honors last year include HCAC Defensive Player of the Year and first-team AP All-American Mike Riley; safety John Kirby; offensive lineman Lucas Leiner; and HCAC rushing champion Garrett Wight. The offense also returns its starting quarterback in honorable mention all-league honoree Andrew Dion along with four members of the offensive line.
The 2018 HCAC champion will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Playoffs, which begin on Nov. 17.
2018 ROSE-HULMAN FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
|Sat. Sept. 1||at Mount Union||7 p.m.|
|Sat., Sept. 8||RHODES
|Sat., Sept. 15||at Mount St. Joseph *||1:30 p.m.|
|Sat., Sept. 22||MANCHESTER *||1:30 p.m.|
|Sat., Sept. 29||at Franklin *||1:30 p.m.|
|Sat., Oct. 6||BLUFFTON *
|Sat., Oct. 20||ANDERSON *
(Hall of Fame Game)
|Sat., Oct. 27||at Defiance *||1:30 p.m.|
|Sat., Nov. 3||at Hanover *||1:30 p.m.|
|Sat., Nov. 10||EARLHAM *
* denotes Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference game