by Alan Babbitt
The Hope College football team gave nationally ranked Trine University everything it wanted before two fourth-quarter touchdowns propelled the Flying Dutchmen to a 35-25 loss on Saturday at Smith Stadium.
Hope held the nation's third-leading rushing offense to nearly half of its season average of 370 yards per game, but Trine produced go-ahead drives of 65 and 49 yards on its first two fourth-quarter possessions.
Running back Lamar Carswell bolted for decisive touchdowns of 7 and 10 yards to overcome a 25-21 deficit after Evan Johnson's 35-yard field with 12 minute, 18 seconds remaining. Carswell finished with 200 of Trine's 205 rushing yards while making a season-high 36 carries.
The Flying Dutchmen fell to 2-2 overall after dropping the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association opener. The game featuring the top two teams in the MIAA preseason coaches poll saw six lead changes.
"I thought our guys battled," head coach Peter Stuursma said. "There were plays on both sides of the ball. I thought we responded. It was back and forth there for three straight drives," Stuursma said. "We just didn't make enough plays in the end, but I'm so proud of our kids."
One yard of total offense separated the two teams: Hope 381, Trine 380.
The Flying Dutchmen recorded 11 tackles for loss, including 3 ½ by senior defensive end Tate Knapp of Dorr, Michigan (Hamilton). Knapp forced a fumble on a sack of quarterback Brandon Winters that was recovered by linebacker Toby Hulst of Caledonia, Michigan (South Christian) and set up Johnson's 35-yard field goal for a four-point Hope lead with 12:18 remaining.
Johnson went 3-for-3 on field goal attempts. The freshman from Okemos, Michigan (Holt) also connected from 33 and 35 yards on the first three field-goal attempts of his college career.
Hope's defense also collected a safety when sophomore defensive back Trevor TerHaar of Zeeland, Michigan (East) sacked Winters in the end zone during the third quarter.
Junior Mason Dekker of Holland, Michigan (West Ottawa) collected a team-high 11 tackles for the Flying Dutchmen.
Opple completed 12-of-25 passes for 205 yards. He also rushed for 82 yards on 19 carries.
Running back Mike Miklusicak of Wayland, Michigan (Wayland) led Hope with 96 yards on 17 carries.
Trine (4-0 overall) is ranked 15th in the American Football Coaches Poll and 16th by D3football.com.
The Flying Dutchmen's next game is Saturday, October 6 at Albion. Kickoff is 1 p.m.