For the third-consecutive year, the University of Indianapolis football team was crowned champions of the Great Lakes Valley Conference on Saturday, Nov. 8 after defeating the Missouri S&T Miners on the road 30-12.
The championship-clinching victory not only provided UIndy with its third-straight trophy, but also extended its record in the GLVC to a perfect 22-0 since the sport was added to the conference in 2012.
The victory also kept the Greyhounds’ playoff hopes alive, as a loss could have possibly dropped the team out of advancing-contention in the NCAA Super Region Four Rankings.
Headed into this past weekend, the Greyhounds represented the only GLVC program in the top-ten, holding the fifth position out of 42 teams in the region.
At the conclusion of the regular season, only six teams from each region are allowed to advance to the 24-team playoff tournament, which the Greyhounds have accomplished in each of the last two seasons.
In their victory over the Miners, the Greyhounds opened up with a statistically-dominant first half, scoring 14 unanswered points before heading into halftime.
The first touchdown came off a 2-yard touchdown run by redshirt senior running back Matt Ripp in the first quarter, while the second was claimed by freshman tight end Alex Kimack, who made the five-yard touchdown grab thrown by redshirt junior quarterback Connor Barthel.
In the second half, Ripp added to the Greyhounds’ lead, by rushing into the end zone from 14 yards out, giving UIndy a 21-0 advantage. Later in the third quarter, the Miners got on the board for the first time of the contest with a 3-yard touchdown run, but failed to convert the extra point attempt, making the score 21-6.
Senior kicker Scott Miller would close out the quarter with a successful kick from 35 yards out, and heading into the fourth, UIndy led 24-6.
In the fourth quarter, Miller continued to help secure the Greyhounds’ lead with two more field goals, including one at the start of the quarter from 39 yards away, and the other towards the end from 33 yards. The Miners would find the end zone one last time with a 7-yard touchdown pass towards the start of the quarter, but it was not enough to bring them within contention of claiming the lead, as the Greyhounds claimed the victory and conference title.
Prior to its contest with Missouri S&T, the Greyhounds had an unusually long break away from competition, as they hosted the Saint Joseph’s College Pumas on Thursday night football the week before on Oct. 30, winning after four overtimes, 36-33.
The night was an historic moment in the program’s history, as the game was televised nationally on CBS Sports Network for its NCAA Division II Football Game of the Week.
It was the first time the Greyhounds had ever appeared on national television, and the game lived up to its title with a close and unusual finish.
After leading 7-0 heading into the second half, the Greyhounds allowed the Pumas to claim the lead for the first time with 2:32 remaining in the third quarter, 10-7.
After Miller knotted up the score at 10 with a 33-yard field goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Saint Joseph’s reclaimed its lead once again, 17-10, with a two-yard run into the end zone with 10:17 to go in the game.
On a last-minute drive at the end of the quarter, however, Barthel led the Greyhounds down the field and threw a two-yard touchdown pass with just 59 seconds remaining in the game to redshirt senior wide receiver Logan Young.
After three-straight overtime periods where neither team could outscore the other, the Greyhounds were presented an opportunity in the fourth overtime to seal the victory, after Saint Joseph’s failed to convert on its opportunity to score any points.
The failed opportunity by the Pumas led to 35-yard field goal attempt by Miller, and the senior kicker came through in the clutch moment, hitting the kick straight through the uprights which sealed the victory.
As the kick went through, nearly the entire UIndy team and student section stormed the field to surround Miller and celebrate the close victory over an in-state rival. It was a moment that Miller said he would never forget.
“I’ve been waiting for this [hitting a game-winning field goal] for four years. I’ve never really gotten a chance [for this type of opportunity],” he said. “I knew right when I kicked it, it went in. I was telling guys on the sideline to meet me at the 50-yard line and that I’d sprint that way, and everyone was right there. It was awesome.”
Head Football Coach Bob Bartolomeo said that the victory was positively significant to UIndy and the program together.
“I think it [the victory] is great for the university itself, anytime you can showcase your university on national TV,” he said. “It [the game being played on a Thursday] made it tough on us, because it was a short week. We hung in there, and did what we had to do. In terms of the national thing, you can’t pay for this advertisement.”
The Greyhounds will return to Key Stadium for its regular season finale this Saturday, Nov. 15, to host the William Jewell College Cardinals. Kickoff is set to take place at 4 p.m.