There's something about the football rivalry between Hillsdale College and the University of Indianapolis that spawns absolute classic games.
Another one unfolded under unbelievably hot weather conditions Saturday night at Indianapolis' Key Stadium.
Hillsdale was down 23-0 in the second quarter, came back to take a brief lead, only to see it slip away in a 45-38 loss to the 14th-ranked Greyhounds in front of more than 5,800 fans.
The loss drops Hillsdale to 2-2 overall. The Chargers open Great Midwest Athletic Conference play next weekend when it hosts Kentucky Wesleyan for homecoming.
Indianapolis, already with a win over Grand Valley State under its belt hit one big play after another in the game's opening few minutes, and led by 23 points before the Charger offense got going. But once Hillsdale got going, nothing, not even its 125-year-old record book, could stop it.
Junior quarterback Chance Stewart set a single-game school record by throwing for 485 yards, completing 31 of 44 passes in the game, with two touchdown tosses. His yardage total was 59 yards more than any other Hillsdale quarterback had ever thrown for, breaking a record shared by Mark Nicolet and Mark LaPrairie (426 yards, in 2007 and 2014, respectively).
Hillsdale's first score of the game came on a 60-yard touchdown pass from Stewart to junior wide receiver Trey Brock. After cutting across the middle, Brock caught the pass perfectly in stride and ran through open field to paydirt. It wouldn't be the last time Brock caught a long pass.
Brock set a Hillsdale single-game school record with 302 receiving yards, spread across 12 receptions, scoring two touchdowns. Brock's second scoring reception of the game was an 82-yard pass from Stewart, the longest catch of Brock's remarkable career.
That score made it a 23-21 game. UIndy would score a touchdown late in the first half to take a 30-21 lead into halftime, but considering where the game was early in the second quarter, Hillsdale had momentum on its side.
On the second play of the third quarter, sophomore tailback David Graham sprinted 74 yards for a touchdown, pulling Hillsdale back within two at 30-28. It was the longest run of Graham's career, and was a big part of his 97-yard rushing day, a career high for him.
Hillsdale took its only lead of the night on a 21-yard field goal by redshirt-freshman Joe Philipp, taking a 31-30 lead with 5:03 left in the third quarter. Over a span of 16 minutes, Hillsdale went from down 23-0 to ahead 31-30. But the Chargers' lead was short-lived.
UIndy's Malik Higgins caught a 22-yard touchdown pass right after a 59-yard kick return set the Greyhounds up deep in Hillsdale territory on their next possession. A 2-point conversion made it a 38-31 game, but Hillsdale wasn't done yet.
Stewart plunged his way into the end zone on a 1-yard sneak to tie the game up at 38 with 13:46 left in the fourth quarter.
The Charger defense then came up with some huge stops, giving the offense a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter. But the Greyhounds picked off two passes, one of them for the decisive score, to prevent Hillsdale from completing the comeback.
The Chargers had eight more first downs and possessed the ball for seven more minutes than the greyhounds. But Indianapolis stopped Hillsdale on a fourth-and-1 play near the goal line, and the 93-yard interception return for touchdown, which was the game's deciding score, helped negate those statistical advantages for Hillsdale.
The Chargers generated 650 yards of total offense, outgaining UIndy by 177 for the night. After the first quarter, the Greyhounds held a 244-37 edge in total yards, meaning the Chargers outgained UIndy by 384 yards over the game's final three quarters. Only two penalties were called in the game, another example of why this is one of the Midwest's most compelling and respectful football rivalries.
Wyatt Batdorff led Hillsdale with 9 total tackles, while Shanley picked up 6 and Canada had 5.