Eagles' football breaks out in a big way
October 18, 2008
Dave Beyer, Sports Information Director
Benedictine University's football team found the cure for a slow start to 2008 in the team's 44-0 Homecoming Game win over Maranatha Baptist Bible College. The victory improved the Eagles to 1-5 overall and 1-2 in the Northern Athletics Conference.
Benedictine dominated the game from the outset and, when the dust had settled, held a huge advantage in total offense (389-178 yards) and first downs (17-9). The Eagles had a balanced 217 yards rushing and 172 aerial yards.
Conversely, MBBC could muster just 49 net rushing yards against a stingy Eagles' defense. The unit was led by senior cornerback Matt Kunz who had eight tackles (five solo). Junior linebacker Devin Montgomery had six tackles and junior defensive end Eddie Hill had five tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery.
Benedictine found the end zone after forcing a Crusader punt following MBBC's opening drive of the game. On the Eagles' ensuing possession - which began at their own 45 - the hosts quickly drove down the field.
Junior tailback Ryan Schwartz picked up 28, of his eventual 89, yards rushing the first time he touched the ball. He followed that with a eight yard carry.
With the ball on the Maranatha 19, quarterback Derek Hitt kept the ball for a four yard gain. On the very next play, Hitt handed off to Schwartz who strolled in from 15 yards away. Brian Goff's extra point kick made it 7-0 at the 10:58 mark of the first quarter.
Benedictine added another score before the end of the period when Hitt connected with fullback Eric Ritter. The tandem - which were also backfield mates at Griffith (Ind.) High School - turned the play into a 57-yard score, as Ritter took the screen pass and deftly wove his way through the Crusader secondary to make it 14-0 after the PAT.
What was still a close contest at the end of the first quarter erupted into a blow out in the second stanza, largely due to the opportunistic Eagles' defenders.
At the 10:01 mark of the second and with Maranatha deep in its own end, linebacker Alex Dewey knocked the ball free from MBBC back Mike Crawford. Hill was right there to scoop up the ball at the three yard line and traverse the short trip to the "candy shop" and a 20-0 BU lead.
A few series' later, the Eagles tallied again. Beginning on their own 35, a 54-yard Hitt to John Borsellino pass got the ball to the Maranatha 11. Senior fullback Tim Meyer carried it five yards closer and, on the very next play, caught a six-yard toss from Hitt for the TD.
On the very next series for the Crusaders, Benedictine defensive end Kyle Schulz forced a fumble at the MBBC 23, which was recovered by the Eagles' Travis Kalk.
Four plays later, Hitt capped the drive with a five-yard keeper that, with the extra point, made it 34-0 with 2:14 still left in the half.
Maranatha was forced to punt one more time after being pinned by the Benedictine defense. The short punt gave the Eagles the ball at the MBBC 39.
Senior tight end Shawn Morris caught a 21 yard pass and Schwartz ran the ball another seven yards. Faced with a second-and-three with just three seconds left until the intermission, Goff was called on for a 28-yard field goal as the half expired, and the Eagles carried the 37-0 lead in to the locker room.
A 16-yard TD run by Schwartz late in the third quarter would finalize the Benedictine scoring. Schwartz's run culminated a 10-play, 58 yard set that made it the 44-0 final.
Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ben.edu.