The University of Indianapolis football team sits at the top of the Great Lakes Valley Conference standings after defeating McKendree University on Saturday, Oct. 10. Before the Greyhounds won 34-24 over the Bearcats, both teams were undefeated in conference play. On Oct. 3, UIndy beat Truman State University at home during homecoming on Oct. 3.
Prior to facing McKendree, Head Football Coach Bob Bartolomeo talked about what to expect.
“Well this is a big one this next weekend. McKendree is undefeated, they’re 4-0 on the season,” he said. “They’ll be one of the premiere offenses. They’re quarterback is playing at a high level and they’re going to be a lot to deal with come next Saturday, especially on the road.”
Opening the first quarter was a 65-yard kickoff from freshman kicker Jacob LaFree. The kick was returned 23 yards, and 11 plays later the Bearcats were on the board after a 19-yard rush from senior quarterback Isaac Fisher. With 3:05 left in the first quarter redshirt sophomore kicker Brad Shickel went for a 45-yard field goal, his longest kick this season, and made the score 7-3 Bearcats.
A minute and five seconds into the second quarter the Greyhounds were on the board with a 13-yard rush from redshirt sophomore running back Andrew Walker, Schickel’s extra point was good making the score 10-7 in favor of the Greyhounds. The lead for UIndy did not last long, the Bearcats scored a touchdown less than two minutes later, 14-10.
Before halftime, UIndy freshman Malik Higgins scored after a touchdown pass from redshirt senior quarterback Connor Barthel. UIndy held the lead again, but McKendree’s field goal in the last eight seconds tied the game up at 17-17.
UIndy had the ball to open up the second half, and they took full advantage of that. Barthel connected with redshirt freshman Nate Deno on a 17-yard pass for Deno’s first career touchdown. Schickel’s field goal proved to be good making the score 24-17 Greyhounds.
Before the end of the third quarter the Bearcats tied the score on a 2-yard rush, 24-24. During the fourth quarter Shickel kicked a 36-yard field goal to put the Greyhounds up 27-24 at 1:58. The Bearcats next possession did not last but three plays due to a pick-six by redshirt junior linebacker Jamie Placht. Placht ran the ball back 26 yards for a Greyhound touchdown. Shickel’s kick made it 34-24. The score remained for the last 1:22.
While facing Truman State, the first half featured only two points. UIndy senior defensive line Lee Campbell tackled TSU’s freshman running back Malique Robbins in the end zone to give the Greyhounds its first safety since November 2013, putting the Hounds up 2-0. Redshirt senior wide receiver Reece Horn thought that getting something so big so soon was an advantage for the team.
“That really brought the juice for our defense and our whole team throughout the whole game,” he said. “It really set the bar, and it really got everybody electrified and hyped up. It’s a good way to start the game, that’s for sure.”
The second quarter involved a touchdown for each team, the only difference was that the Bulldogs could not capitalize on the field goal. TSU got on the board with a 41-yard touchdown pass with 8:48 remaining on the clock. Sophomore kicker Nick Dolezal’s extra point for the Bulldogs missed right. UIndy’s Barthel connected with Horn on a 3-yard touchdown pass with 1:03 remaining in the first half, to put the Greyhounds on top 9-6.
UIndy’s scoring did not slow down during the second half. Bartolomeo saw the Hounds’ first touchdown as a wave of momentum.
“Well, I thought the score before half time helped,” Bartolomeo said. “I thought then coming out to start the second half … we took the opening kickoff to score, and I think that set the tone for the whole second half.”
In six plays after a 62-yard kickoff from the Bulldogs, Barthel’s handoff to Walker constituted a 28-yard touchdown, which was followed by a good extra point from Schickel. The score stood at 16-6, with TSU in possession of the ball, until redshirt sophomore defensive back Aeneas White intercepted TSU junior quarterback Devonte Black and ran the ball back for 19-yards. UIndy could not get the six points from the interception but settled for a Shickel field goal.
The Greyhounds scored one more time in the third quarter, the final points that would be produced by the Hounds. With 17 seconds on the clock, freshman running back Shakir Paschall pushed himself one yard for a Greyhound
touchdown. Shickel’s field goal would be good once again, and the score would move to 26-6 UIndy.
In the first three-and-a-half minutes of the fourth quarter, Truman
State rushed one yard for a touchdown of its own. Dolezal’s field goal for the Bulldogs was good, making the score 26-13, the score that would close out the game in the Greyhounds’ favor.
The win against the Bulldogs marked the fifth consecutive homecoming the Greyhounds have won. For Horn, that was something to be a part of.
“Yeah, that’s [winning the fifth consecutive homecoming] very special,” he said. “For Lee [Campbell], Connor Barthel and myself and all the seniors, it’s very nice to go out on top as far as homecoming wins because you never want to lose on homecoming. So it was good, for a great all-around team win, and I’m glad we could show the fans another win.”
UIndy’s next game is Saturday, Oct. 17 at Key Stadium. The Greyhounds will face Quincy University with kick off scheduled for 6 p.m.