Two Division II heavyweights met on a frigid Saturday afternoon in Indiana, both with an eye beyond the conclusion of the regular season.
The Hillsdale College football team, ranked 20th in Division II, dropped a 34-24 contest to No. 12-ranked University of Indianapolis at Key Stadium. Hillsdale finishes the regular season at 9-2 overall, and now awaits its playoff fate.
The NCAA Division II selection show will be broadcast on NCAA.com starting at 5 p.m. Sunday.
Hillsdale's 9-2 mark is its best regular season record since 2010. The Chargers were fifth in last week's Super Region 1 rankings, and since UIndy's final season record is 9-1, this loss is not likely to be fatal to Hillsdale's playoff hopes.
As most Hillsdale-UIndy game are, this was a compelling, back-and-forth game with each team hitting the other with big plays. Coming into the game, these teams matched up evenly across the board, and that played out in the box score, as each team had identical scores of 7, 7, and 3 points each through the game's first three quarters.
But in the fourth quarter, the Greyhounds used a 64-yard punt return for touchdown and a 35-yard touchdown pass to create separation in the fourth quarter and shake loose from the Chargers to hold on for the win.
After trailing 27-17, senior quarterback Chance Stewart threw passes of 38 and 30 yards to senior wide receiver Trey Brock, the latter resulting in a touchdown to pull Hillsdale within three, 27-24, with 6:50 to go in the game. The two-play, 68-yard drive was exactly emblematic of the skill Stewart and Brock have shown throughout their great careers.
However, UIndy's Malik Higgins caught a 35-yard touchdown pass with 3:32 to play to re-establish a double digit lead for the Greyhounds.
Stewart completed 16-of-29 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown. Brock notched his 21st career 100-yard receiving game, hauling in 8 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Martin Petersen helped set up Hillsdale's first score of the game with a career-long 63-yard reception. Junior running back David Graham ran the ball 13 times for 70 yards and a touchdown.
Senior Wyatt Batdorff led the defense with 8 solo tackles and 9 overall. Junior linebacker Nate Jones had a hard-hitting game with 7 tackles and a sack. Senior Jay Rose had 6 tackles and broke up a pass for the Chargers.
PHOTO: Carly Gouge