September 24 was supposed to be a day off for the University of Indianapolis football team, but the seniors had something else in mind. The seniors on the team did not want to play 10 games, they wanted to play 11, and Head Football Coach Bob Bartolomeo put their idea into play.
“For this game [Kentucky Wesleyan] we had an off week. The seniors wanted a game. We got a game. We had to go on the road, but we got a game for them,” Bartolomeo said. “Our seniors came to me and said, ‘Coach, can you go get a game?’ I tried really hard to get a home game, but nobody would come. But we got a game, and we’re going to go play Kentucky Wesleyan at Kentucky Wesleyan and get the 1-0. That’s the theme of the week.”
Bartolomeo’s hope of getting the win came true as the Hounds earned their first win of the season against the Panthers. UIndy beat KWC 37-7.
The Panthers opened up the scoring for the game, but UIndy followed suit with 6:50 left in the first quarter. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Jake Purichia’s connected with junior running back Tuwan Payton on a 56-yard pass for the Greyhounds first touchdown of the game. Redshirt junior kicker Brad Schickel’s kick was good to tie the game.
Early in the second quarter Purichia ran the ball in for the Hounds seconds touchdown of the game. Before closing out the second period, redshirt junior running back Andrew Walker’s found the end zone with 2-yard run, but Shickel’s kick was blocked. Heading into the locker room the UIndy had a 20-7.
The third quarter had three touchdowns from the Hounds. Payton caught at 32-yard pass from Purichia at the 13:13 mark. Three minutes later, sophomore running back Shakir Paschall’s 3-yard run and a good extra point moved the Greyhounds to a 34-7 lead. Schickel finished the Greyhounds’ scoring with a 28-yard field goal to finalize the score at 37-7.
In the win redshirt senior defensive back Zach Hiss, redshirt senior defensive back Korey Rogan and redshirt sophomore defensive back Robert Williams each accounted for a KWC interception. Redshirt senior linebacker Derrick Bryant had a team-high nine tackles.
Before taking on the Panther’s, senior linebacker Rob Dury said that the more defense understands its roles the more successful the team will be.
“There’s a lot of guys coming into their own,” Dury said. “[There’s] guys who didn’t play as much last year taking on bigger roles, so those guys are starting to play a lot better [and] really understand what they need to do on game day. And then there’s guys like myself who have played for a long time and need to play better and put us in a spot to win on Saturdays.”
Prior to KWC, UIndy competed against Southwest Baptist University on Sept. 17. The Bearcats delivered the Hounds their third loss of the season, 41-37. Sophomore kicker Jacob LaFree opened the game with a 65-yard kickoff, placing the Bearcats at their own 25-yard line. Two plays later, UIndy’s Rogan intercepted SBU’s first pass of the game, giving the Greyhounds possession at SBU’s 38-yard line. Six plays later, the Hounds were on the board after a 4-yard rush from Walker. A blocked extra kick from Schickel closed out the first quarter with a score of 7-6 in favor of the Bearcats.
Before halftime, the Greyhounds got on the board two more times. Walker rushed another 14-yards into the end zone, and followed with an extra point, Schickel to give the Hounds a 13-7 advantage at the 12:11 mark. With 50 seconds remaining on the clock, Walker rushed five yards into the end zone yet again. Schickel’s kick was good, bringing the score to 20-7.
The third quarter was back-and-forth play, with SBU scoring two back-to-back touchdowns. After the second touchdown, Payton returned the Bearcats, kickoff 92-yards for a Greyhound touchdown, and the extra point was good, making the score 27-21. Before the end of the quarter, UIndy kicked a field goal, and SBU scored one more touchdown for a 30-27 score in favor of the Hounds.
The fourth quarter brought one UIndy touchdown compared to two by the Bearcats, which gave SBU a 41-37 score advantage and the eventual win.
“They just played one more play than we did,” Dury said. “We had a kick-off and they had a kick-off, and it came down to the end of the game. We needed to get a stop, [and] we couldn’t get off the field.”
According to Bartolomeo, the team’s heart was in the game, but the execution was lacking.
“I thought our effort was there. I thought we played our hearts out from start to finish. So as a coach, you can’t fault effort, and that’s where it starts,” Bartolomeo said. “Execution, now that’s a different story. We talk about our attitude and that type of thing, and that was all good. I thought we played hard, and we just didn’t execute. We learn from it, and we go right down the list: we had too many penalties, we turned the ball over, we couldn’t run it, we couldn’t stop the run very well. And you do those things, and you’re not going to win too many football games. We’ve got some things to work on. I thought our effort was great, and … we still had a chance at the end to win, and we just didn’t get it done.”
UIndy opened its season 0-3, which has not occurred since 2004, but Bartolomeo is not making any excuses for the team’s performance.
“We’re a focused group. We just haven’t made the plays where we’ve had to make plays. We’ve got some injuries in some spots, but that’s not an excuse … as a group they’ve worked hard since last winter…. We won’t make an excuse ever: where we play, who we play, and when we play it. Our program is too solid to make that excuse,” Bartolomeo said. “And again, we played three good teams, two of which are undefeated…. We haven’t played any cupcakes. We played some good teams. Again, we were in two of them, and one we weren’t, so that’s the way it is.”
UIndy hits the road again for a match up against Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., on Oct. 1, with kickoff at 8 p.m.