A late interception thwarted the last scoring chance for the Hope football team in a 14-7 defeat at Illinois Wesleyan on Saturday.
The Flying Dutchmen will take a 3-1 record into next week's Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) opener against reigning league champion Adrian. Kickoff for Hope's homecoming game is 2 p.m. at Ray & Sue Smith Stadium.
"Defense was solid again," Hope coach Dean Kreps said. "We gave up five sacks and 10 penalties for 95 yards and that killed us. The good news is that everything is fixable. IWU played well, but we shot ourselves in the foot repeatedly. Clean up the penalties and sacks and get ready for a big game next week."
Illinois Wesleyan (3-0 overall) intercepted Hope quarterback Michael Atwell at the Titans 6-yard line with 1 minute, 17 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
Atwell, a senior from Geneseo, Ill. (Geneseo HS), completed 21-of-46 passes for 252 yards and two interceptions. He entered the game leading NCAA Division III in passing yards and fourth in touchdown passes.
Illinois Wesleyan recorded a total 12 tackles for loss.
Atwell did become the fourth Hope quarterback to eclipse the 5,000-yard mark for passing. He now has 5,229 yards — good for third all-time. He passed Greg Heeres (5,120 between 1981-84) on Saturday.
Senior running back Shawn Jackson of Comstock Park (Comstock Park HS) rushed for 87 yards and one touchdown on 21 carries. He now has 2,579 rushing yards for his career.
Jackson scored on a 24-yard touchdown run with 5:17 remaining in the first quarter to give Hope a 7-0 lead.
Illinois Wesleyan put together two 70-yard scoring drives to grab a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter.