BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – The Lawrence Technological (Mich.) University football team fell at Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) University 49-31 on Saturday afternoon in Bourbonnais, Ill. Derrick Hinton Jr. breaks the single-game record for all-purpose yards in the loss with 267 including a record breaking kickoff return of 95-yards for a touchdown.
Lawrence Tech (1-2) opened the game with nine play drive that went 52 yards, but ended with a fumble recovery for the Tigers. Olivet Nazarene took advantage of the turnover, going 62 yards in four plays as LeShaun Rule went 34-yard to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
The Blue Devils responded with another great drive, going 61-yards on nine plays as Brad Gibson hit a 24-yard field goal to cut the ONU lead to 7-3. The Lawrence Tech defense showed their fight with a fumble recovery on the Olivet Nazarene one-yard line. Tyler Kulka made the Tigers pay with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Hinton Jr. to take a 10-7 lead to end the first quarter.
Keivlan Griffith got his first interception of the season on the next drive, as he picked off Joe Brawley to give LTU the ball on the 38-yard line. The Tigers forced their second fumble on the following possession as Jason Freeman recovered the ball for ONU on the Olivet Nazarene 32.
The Blue Devils defense continued to make plays as Griffith made his second interception of the game to give Lawrence Tech the ball back on the 35-yard line. However, Olivet Nazarene was able to make a defensive stand, forcing LTU to punt. Michael Fox punted the ball for 44-yards as the Tigers downed it on the 19-yard line of ONU.
Olivet Nazarene (1-2) retook the lead with 4:59 left in the second quarter as Rule took it 64-yards to give the Tigers a 14-10 lead. Rule added his third touchdown of the game on a 15-yard scamper to make it 21-10 with 3:16 left in the first half.
Lawrence Tech had a chance to cut the lead to four as Hinton Jr. returned the kickoff 53-yards to give LTU the ball in Olivet territory at the 30. Kulka followed with a 22-yard pass to Kendyl Williams to get the ball to the one-yard line, but the Tigers defense was stout and forced a field goal attempt. On the field goal attempt, the ball slipped through the rain soaked hands of LTU and ended the drive for LTU as they closed the first half down 21-10. Turnovers continued to be the difference early in the game.
The Tigers opened the second half with seven yard touchdown run from Jaren Honey to extend the lead to 28-10, but Hinton Jr. answered with a 95-yards kickoff return to make it a 28-17 lead with 12:39 left in the third quarter.
Rule would take over the game offensively for Olivet Nazarene as he would rush for his fourth touchdown of the day, this one a 49-yard run to give ONU a 35-17 lead. Rule would finish the day with a single-game record for Olivet Nazarene with over 291 yards rushing and five touchdowns.
The Blue Devils opened the fourth quarter with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Kulka to Hinton Jr. to cut the lead to 49-23 with 14:44 left in the game. On their next possession, Lawrence Tech went 14 plays for 72 yards to cut the lead to 49-31 as Kulka hit Kendyl Williams for a 15-yard touchdown pass. It was Kulka's third touchdown of the game, finishing the game 19-for-39 for 212 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
The Tigers would hold on in the end, as they outscored the Blue Devils 42-7 over the second and third quarter to earn their first win of the season 49-31.
Hinton Jr. finished the game with 267 all-purpose yards including 82 receiving yards and four rushing yards with three touchdowns. Mekai Otero led the way on the ground with 73 yards on 13 carries for a 5.6 average while Tanner Foley added 53 yards on 15 carries. Williams had a team high 85 receiving yards with one touchdown while CJ Thompson added 40 yards on six catches.
Defensively, the Blue Devils were led by Drake Barry with eight tackles while Griffith added two interceptions with four talks including three solo tackles. Zachary Brown finished with two sacks and five total tackles. Will Stertz added five total tackles.
Lawrence Tech returns home to face Saint Francis (Ill.) on Saturday, September 28 at Blue Devils Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 12 p.m.