Centre Football: Colonels roll over Rose Hulman 49-21
Centre College quarterback Heath Haden was 13 of 21 passing for 186 yards and a pair of touchdowns Saturday night as the Colonels lasted Rose Hulman 49-21 in the home opener for Centre. (Hal Morris / September 8, 2012)
Centre turned four of Rose Hulman’s five turnovers into touchdowns Saturday night as they rolled to a 49-21 victory at Farris Stadium.
From muffed punts to fumbles, Rose-Hulman repeatedly put the ball on the ground, while Centre gave it up only once late in the game.
“That’s always a good thing to have,” Centre coach Andy Frye said.
Especially good, he said, because Rose-Hulman exposed other things he said the Colonels need to work on.
In fact, the two teams weren’t far from even in the offensive statistics, where they were separated by 22 yards. Centre (2-0) rolled up 513 yards on offense, but its defense allowed Rose-Hulman (1-1) to amass 491 yards.
“We’ve got some things we’ve got to tighten up. They had 90-some plays ... and we’ve got some things we’ve got to tighten up,” Frye said.
But the imbalance was obvious on special teams, where two of Rose-Hulman’s five fumbles occurred and where Centre held a decided advantage.
“Special teams was big. I was real pleased with how we played special teams. Our punting game, kickoff return, I think we were just better,” Frye said.
The first turnover-to-touchdown turn of events took place on special teams less than 8 minutes into the game, as Heath Haden threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Rob Melillo on the first play after the Colonels recovered a muffed punt.
They dealt a crushing blow early in the second half, scoring twice off turnovers in just over 5 minutes to stretch a 21-7 lead to 35-7.
And they continued to keep the Engineers at bay throughout the remainder of a long, physical game.
“Our kids played hard. It was a real aggressive game. There were a lot of hard hits out there,” Frye said.
It was Centre’s 10th win in its last 12 home openers and its largest¿win in a home opener since a 38-7 win over Earlham, and it marked the second straight year and the third time in four years the Colonels have started 2-0.
The Colonels appeared to be well on their way to that win after scoring twice in less than 3 minutes in the first quarter to go up 14-0.
After their first score, they set up shop at the Rose-Hulman 33 the next time they got the ball thanks to a 40-yard punt return by Michael Del Prince. Justin Williams ran for 13 yards and Haden threw to Austin Jones for 10 yards and Brandon Kamp for 9 before Williams scored on a 1-yard run.
Rose-Hulman got on the board early in the second quarter, driving 90 yards in 14 plays to score on a 5-yard run by Aaron Abbott, but Centre scored once more before halftime on a 58-yard pass from Haden to Jason Osterman.
Haden had another good game in his second career start, going 13 for 21 for 186 yards with two touchdowns.
And the Colonels also moved the ball well on the ground, rushing for 327 yards and averaging 6.3 yards per attempt. Monte Scotton led the attack with 154 yards — 6 short of his career high in the fourth 100-yard game of his career — and two touchdowns on 16 carries, followed by Harry Meisner with 63 yards and Williams with 50.