ANGOLA, Ind. (WANE) – The Trine University football team overcame an eleven point halftime deficit to pick up an overtime victory over visiting Mount Saint Joseph by the score of 31-30. Junior running back Xaine Kirby (Sweetser, Ind. / Eastbrook) led the team in the contest accounting for more than half of the team’s total offense.
The Thunder opened the game with the ball but a bad snap around the midfield line gave the Lions a shortened field to start their first drive, they would quickly drive down the field and take a 7-0 lead in the contest.
On the first play of Trine’s succeeding drive, Kirby broke a 27-yard rush to move the team into Mt. St. Josephs side of the field. after a pair of incomplete passes, a sweep play by senior Josh Davis (Sterling Heights, Mich. / Sterling Heights) gave the Thunder a first-and-ten at the Lions’ 30-yard line. The drive would stall at the 24, but senior Ryan Hibbetts (Monticello, Ind. / Twin Lakes) easily cleared the crossbar to get the team on the board, trailing 7-3.
Both teams were scoreless through the rest of the quarter, but Mt. St. Joe ending the period with the ball. They started the second by converting a third and five with a 27-yard pass, setting up their second touchdown of the contest to take a 14-3 lead.
After a wayward kick on the following kickoff and an unnecessary roughness penalty on the opposition, the Thunder found themselves at the Lions’ 42-yardline. From their Kirby rushed for seven yards before junior Alex Price (Reading, Mich. / Reading) hooked up with sophomore Connor Arthur (Bryan, Ohio / Bryan) for a 35-yard touchdown. The extra point from Hibbetts would cut the deficit to four at 14-10.
Both team’s next two drives ended in turnovers, giving Mt. St. Joe the ball with 7:30 remaining in the half. They would complete a five-minute drive and convert on a third and goal to build their lead back to eleven with just over two minutes remaining and would finish off the half with a 21-10 lead.
The Thunder defense roared to life for the second half, as they would shutout the opposition in the third quarter and allow just a field goal in the fourth. After allowing 209 total yards in the first half, the defense would allow just 133 in the second. And Trine’s offense took full advantage of the opportunity.
After a quick three-and-out by the Lions to start the half, the Thunder drove the ball down from the fifty for their second touchdown of the contest. After rushing the ball for the first six plays fo the drive, Price would complete a pass to junior Brandon Kline (Callahan, Fla. / Yulee) for a ten-yard touchdown making the score 21-17.
After trading punts for the next three drives, the offense returned to the field on their own 28-yardline with just over three minutes remaining in the quarter. Price took the ball himself on the first play for no gain, but second down saw Kirby break a 72-yard run right up the middle. The team’s longest play of the year gave them their first lead of the contest at 24-21.
The fourth quater saw neither team break into the endzone, but Mt. St. Joe found enough success in one drive to split the uprights and tie the game at 24. Both teams were content to end regulation in a tie and would head to overtime.
The Lions would win the coin toss and elected to play defense first. A pair of penalties against the defense gave the Thunder a first and goal at the two yard line, and Price would end the drive a play later with a sneak up the middle for the touchdown. After another Hibbetts successful kick, the team would lead 31-24.
After a pair of mediocre plays Mt. St. Joseph faced a third and five frome the 20 during their offensive possession. They would convert the down with a 20-yard touchdown pass to pull within in one of the home team. They would elect to go for two and missed the passing attempt as the Trine defense came up with one last crucial stop. The game would end with Trine on top 31-30.
Kirby finished the game with 185 yards on the ground. Price would finish two passing touchdowns and 116 yards in the air. Defensively senior Tyler Pollard (Homosassa, Fla. / Crystal River) led the team with 10 tackles including three solo tallies. Junior Kyle Naif (Riverview, Mich. / Riverview) finished with nine tackles and contributed to the teams lone sack of the day.
The Thunder improve to 2-1 follwoing the victory. They will finish off their nonconference slate of games when they travel to face Centre College on Saturday, Sept. 25. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.