It was a tale of two halves, but the Charger football team came up just a bit short in the half it controlled.
The University of Indianapolis spoiled Hillsdale College's homecoming game in a 17-14 contest in a sun-drenched Frank "Muddy" Waters Stadium Saturday afternoon. The Chargers fall to 1-3 overall in this non-league contest. Hillsdale is back in action next Saturday in its first GLIAC North Division matchup of the season at Northern Michigan University.
The Greyhounds dominated the first half, holding a 17-0 lead at intermission thanks to some key third-down conversions. Hillsdale's defense tightened up significantly in the second half, while the offense was able to score two touchdowns, but no more in this tightly played contest.
Two punts by the Greyhounds pinned the Chargers back at their own three-yard line and one-yard line on the home team's final two drives of the game. For a moment, it appeared Hillsdale had one more big play in them when Sam Landry connected with John Haley on a 41-yard pass. But Haley was flagged for illegal touching on the play, since the officials ruled he ran out of bounds, then back inbounds, and was the first to touch the football. That is a penalty that carries with it a loss-of-down, nullifying the team's biggest offensive play of the day.
The Chargers pulled to within three points in the fourth quarter when senior linebacker Steven Embry had a 22-yard interception return for touchdown. It was Embry's second interception of the game, and highlighted a day where he had 10 total tackles.
Embry's first interception came in the third quarter and set the Chargers up with a short field. Landry finished off the drive with a touchdown pass to Haley on a well-designed, well-executed play to make it a 17-7 game 1:08 into the second half.
The Greyhound defense limited the Chargers to just 145 yards of total offense, including 34 yards rushing. Indianapolis also held a huge edge in time of possession, 37 minutes to 22 for the Chargers. Twenty of those minutes for Indy came in the first and fourth quarters.
Indianapolis quarterback Chris Mills threw for 189 yards and a touchdown, and was able to run for 22 yards in the game.
No Hillsdale College runner gained more than 15 yards in the game. Landry was 16 for 33 for 111 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Haley led the team with five receptions for 49 yards, while punter Matt Eltringham averaged 41 yards per kick.
The Chargers have now lost three straight homecoming games, two of those by a grand total of four points. It also marked the first time Indianapolis has defeated Hillsdale in football since 2007. The three teams that have defeated Hillsdale this season - California (Pa.), Ohio Dominican and Indianapolis - have a combined record of 11-1 this season.