After multiple rushing plays and defensive stops in the fourth quarter, the University of Indianapolis football team defeated No. 2 Grand Valley State University 24-20 to start their season on Aug. 31.
The Greyhounds got off to a slow start, allowing two turnovers that paved the way for two Laker touchdowns. The first quarter ended 13-0, with UIndy still not on the scoreboard.
UIndy scored its first three points with a 27-yard field goal from redshirt-senior kicker Brad Schickel at the start of the second quarter. The GVSU defense again failed to stop the Greyhound offense, and freshman running back Daveon Bell rushed for his first career touchdown. The second quarter ended 13-10, and the Greyhounds left the field motivated as they closed in on the Lakers.
After the half, neither team scored for the first five minutes of the third quarter, until redshirt-junior quarterback Jake Purichia left the safety of pocket behind the offensive line and ran for a touchdown that put the Greyhounds in the lead 17-13.
According to Head Coach Bob Bartolomeo, having the quarterback run the ball was a successful example of the quarterback reading the Lakers’ defense.
“What you do offensively is try to look at the opponents’ defense and see what they give you,” he said. “We thought that he could pull the ball and some fakes and get around the end to execute, that and he did a good job.”
During the fourth quarter, the Lakers scored a touchdown that gave them back the lead 20-17. As minutes drained from the clock, the Greyhounds answered with an 89-yard drive that ended with a 51-yard touchdown from freshman runningback Al McKeller. The Greyhounds led 24-20 with only three minutes left in the game.
The Lakers’ offense fought back, and attempted multiple big plays. Starting the last drive of the game with 1:09 left on the clock, the Lakers completed a 31-yard pass that put them on UIndy’s 14-yard line. The Greyhounds’ defense successfully stopped the Lakers and gave UIndy its first win of the season.
Bartolomeo mentioned that while the pressure was on during those last few minutes of the game, the defense knew what it had to do.
“We didn’t panic, first and foremost,” he said. “It ended up where we played the final play, where [redshirt freshman linebacker] Joe Lambright made a great play and knocked the ball out, and that was it.”
Throughout the game, the offense attacked with a large number of rushing plays from different running backs, which accumulated more than 300 rushing yards. According to redshirt senior running back Andrew Walker, the rotation not only helps the offense add variety but also gives opportunities to all the players.
“It’s great because it allows us to have fresh players all the time,” he said. “The running back position is demanding, and having veterans as well as freshmen allows us to compete with maximum effort.”
Next, the Greyhounds will travel to Detroit, Mich., to compete against Wayne State University on Sept. 6. Kickoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. at Tom Adams Field.