The University of Indianapolis football team opened the season at home against the Saginaw Valley State University Cardinals on Thursday, Sept. 3. Despite the slow start, the Greyhounds picked up the pace in the second half to achieve their first season victory of 27-17. Head Football Coach Bob Bartolomeo said first games can be challenging.
“First games are always the toughest, like pulling teeth sometimes, before we get going,” he said. “But we did a good job in terms of finishing the game. We started finishing drives in the second half, offensively, and that was important.”
A key element to the Greyhounds’ success was redshirt senior wide receiver Reece Horn. Horn finished the game with a near record-breaking performance of 13 receptions for 241 yards.
“That’s [breaking the record] always the goal,” Horn said. “But I’m not thinking about that. I’m thinking about how I can help my team win. As long as I can help my team win, it’s all I care about.”
In the first half, the Cardinals were the first to score with a 30-yard field goal, with a little over three minutes left on the board. The field goal brought the score to 3-0 in SVSU’s favor.
Two and a half minutes into the second quarter, the Greyhounds matched the score with a 22-yard field goal from redshirt sophomore kicker Brad Schickel, tying the game at 3-3. SVSU came back and scored an 18-yard touchdown pass after a 75-yard drive, giving it the 10-3 advantage with the clock at 7:24. The Greyhounds ended the second half with a field goal but were still down 10-6.
Although SVSU had possession first in the second half, the Greyhounds’ defense made a key stop to get the ball back into their hands. Redshirt junior linebacker Derrick Bryant led UIndy’s defense with eight solo tackles and four assists. Right behind Bryant was junior linebacker Rob Dury with six solo tackles and six assists.
The Hounds’ defense set the offense up with a favorable field possession at UIndy’s 31-yard line. Redshirt senior quarterback Connor Barthel moved the team down field to rush for a 1-yard touchdown from freshman running back Shakir Paschall. The Greyhounds’ first touchdown of the game resulted in a UIndy lead of 13-10.
UIndy quickly increased its lead in the early minutes of the fourth quarter with a 7-yard touchdown pass between the common connection of Barthel and Horn, advancing the score to 20-10. Ten minutes later, redshirt sophomore running back Andrew Walker scored a 1-yard touchdown to expand the Greyhounds’ lead to 27-10 with three minutes remaining in the game.
SVSU’s final drive came with three minutes left on the clock, with a 21-yard touchdown pass, but that was not enough to put the Cardinals ahead of the Greyhounds. UIndy regained possession of the ball with 41 seconds left and finished the game on top 27-17 for the first win of the season.
With the first game under his belt, Horn hopes that the team can make a playoff run again this season.
“We are trying to make it to the playoffs. We take it one game at a time and then shoot for the national championship,” he said. “That’s always in our minds. We shoot high.”
The Greyhounds will travel across town to St. Vincent Health Field to compete against the Marian University Knights in the inaugural Monumental Matchup on Saturday, Sept. 12. Tickets and transportation will be provided for students who wish to attend the game. Kickoff is scheduled to take place at 6 p.m.