Centre bounces back with 35-23 win over Kalamazoo
One week after suffering its first loss of the season, the Centre College football team returned home and defeated Kalamazoo College 35-23 Saturday, Sept. 22 at Farris Stadium in Danville, Ky.
The game looked like a shoot-out from the start as the two teams combined for 21 first quarter points. On fourth and one from their own 34-yard line, the Hornets' Gray Vreeland ran a fake punt for 13 yards and a first down. Two plays later quarterback Aaron McGuire ran 45 yards for the first score of the game and a 7-0 lead.
The Colonels' second possession began on Kalamazoo's 45-yard line. Junior running back Harry Meisner (Wyoming, Ohio) had three carries in the four-play drive, including a 17-yard touchdown run to cap off the drive and tie the game at 7-7.
Centre's defense forced and recovered a McGuire on the Hornets' next drive. The Colonels turned that turnover into seven points when sophomore quarterback Heath Haden (Kingsport, Tenn.) found senior receiver Jason Osterman (Monroe, Ohio) from 27-yards out for a 14-7 lead.
The score stayed that way until William Marx connected on a 24-yard field goal with only 51 seconds left in the opening half to make it a 14-10 game.
Senior returner Michael Del Prince (Cincinnati, Ohio) returned the ensuing kick-off 17 yards to the Centre 33-yard line. With 43 seconds on the clock, Haden directed the offense downfield. On third and 10 from the Colonels' 43, Haden scrambled for 11 yards and a first down to keep the drive alive. Following an incompletion Haden hit junior Austin Jones (Louisville, Ky.) down the middle of the field for a 46-yard scoring strike as time expired. Senior kicker Jordan Gay (Danville, Ky.) hit the extra point and Centre led 21-10 at the intermission.
The Colonels extended the lead on their first drive of the second half. Centre drove to the Kalamazoo four-yard line and set up to attempt a field goal, but a delay of game penalty pushed the ball back to the nine. Again, the Colonels set up to attempt a field goal, but instead faked the kick and Gay carried the ball around the end into the endzone for his second career touchdown run and a 28-10 lead.
The Hornets answered with a pair of touchdowns before the end of the quarter and carried momentum into the fourth quarter down only 28-23.
Both offenses struggled to get anything going in the fourth quarter, but with 7:07 left to play, Centre took over on its own 40-yard line and went 60 yards on five plays to seal the win as Haden found Meisner for a five-yard touchdown reception for the final 35-23 score.
The Colonels were out-gained 404-357 in total offensive yards, but forced four Kalamazoo turnovers. Haden finished 16 of 31 for 189 yards and three touchdown passes, and also led the team with 62 rushing yards.
In addition to the forced turnovers, the Centre defense also recorded 10 tackles for loss, including five sackes and broke up three passes in the win.
The Colonels will host Millsaps in their first game in the newly formed Southern Athletic Association. The game will be played as part of Family Weekend at Centre and is set to start at 1:30 p.m. in at Farris Stadium.