The University of Indianapolis football team traveled north to Hillsdale College on Sept. 26. The Greyhounds overcame the Chargers 38-7, and UIndy had a season-high 542 yards of total offense.
Hillsdale was the first to get on the scoreboard in the first quarter with a 1-yard rush after the Charger defense intercepter Greyhound redshirt senior quarterback Connor Barthel. In the closing minute of the first quarter, redshirt sophomore kicker Brad Schickel put the Hounds on the board with a 29-yard field goal, making the score 7-3.
After the first quarter it was all Greyhound football. Redshirt senior wide receiver Reece Horn got the first touchdown for UIndy with a 20-yard pass from Barthel at 10:54 in the second quarter.
Before the clock hit zero, UIndy put itself up another touchdown as Barthel and Horn connected once again on a 17-yard touchdown pass. At the half the scoreboard read 17-7 in favor of the UIndy, making this the second time they have been up heading into the half.
UIndy offense kept the game moving in the second half with a 38-yard touchdown pass at 10:51 to sophomore running back Tuwan Payton. Payton scored again for UIndy on a 1-yard rush at 4:04.
Redshirt sophomore running back Andrew Walker rushed for 53-yards to score UIndy’s final touchdown of the game at the 1:01 mark in the third quarter.
Defensively, redshirt junior middle linebacker Derrick Bryant led the team with nine tackles. Redshirt sophomore defensive back Mike Hamilton and freshmen linebacker Cole Sigmund each had eight tackles.
On Sept. 19, UIndy beat Great Lakes Valley Conference opponent Southwest Baptist University 26-24.
Despite not getting points on the board first while facing Southwest Baptist, UIndy headed into the locker room up 13-10. This was the first time the Hounds had had the lead at halftime all season, and Barthel knew what needed to be done.
“It’s actually the first game of the season that we’ve been up at halftime. We just knew we had to keep our energy going,” Barthel said. “We knew what we had to do to win the game, so we just regrouped in there and kept the same energy from the first half.”
The Bearcats were on the board in the first, with a 12-yard rush. It was not until the clock read 22 seconds that UIndy was able to score with a 25-yard field goal from Schickel, making it 7-3 SBU.
The second quarter proved to be a back and forth battle. Less than three minutes in, redshirt sophomore defensive back Aeneas White intercepted a pass from the Bearcats’ true freshman quarterback Trent Edwards II, letting UIndy to take over at their own 43.
Fourteen plays later, Greyhound redshirt sophomore running back Andrew Walker’s 1-yard rush into the end zone put the Hounds up 10-7. The Bearcats quickly tied the score with a 20-yard field goal of their own.
UIndy’s last drive of the half put it up by three, after another Schickel field goal from the 33-yard line. SBU had the last possession of the first half but could not capitalize on the opportunity.
After halftime, Barthel connected with Horn on a 62-yard touchdown pass, which looked liked a game changer. Head Football Coach Bob Bartolomeo believed it provided some motivation and momentum for the Greyhounds.
“I think it broke their [Southwest Baptist’s] backs a little bit, but they came back,” he said. “They came back and made a game of it.”
The momentum carried over to the defense as UIndy shut down the Bearcats’ offense. UIndy’s redshirt junior defensive back Korey Rogan blocked SBU’s field goal at the end of the drive to seal the deal.
Following the blocked kick, Barthel threw another touchdown pass, but this time to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Malcolm Fogle, for a 9-yard reception. At the end of the third quarter the game stood at 26-10 in favor of the Hounds.
Offensively, UIndy was silent in the fourth quarter, but SBU scored twice.
With only a two-point difference, 26-24, the Greyhounds were prepared to recover an onside kick from the Bearcats. They did just that, and the score remained.
As conference play picks up, Bartolomeo realizes that a few things need to be addressed.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. It’s too numerous to mention,” he said. “All three phases have got to get better, but that’s the type of team we are. It’s going to be a nip and tuck season, I think, all the way through.”
Barthel also believes that there are some things the team needs to work on, but he also recognizes that Bartolomeo has put the team in a good position.
“We [offense] can be successful when we execute and do things right, but we can’t have any more three and outs. Our defense is going to be tired after the series, and then they kind of come right back. That really makes things hard. We really want to get some more first downs and really put up some more points,” he said. “I’m fortunate enough to have a great offense that I’ve been put into to make some plays. I’m just glad we won the game tonight. Coach has put us in a good position to win, so we’ll keep going and get some more this year.”
The Greyhounds’ next game will be Oct. 10 against Truman State University, with kickoff set for 6 p.m. at Key Stadium.