The home opener for any college football team is supposed to be a celebratory Saturday, but the Trine University Thunder made it anything but that, battering the Lakeland University defense for 486 yards rushing in a 56-6 drubbing of the Muskies. Star running back Lamar Carswell led the way with 223 yards on just 19 carries, scoring twice. Eight Thunder players reached at least double-digits in rushing and the Trine defense held the Muskies to just 28 yards passing.
Trine University turned the ball over on downs on their first possession, giving Lakeland the ball at their own 43. A 10 yard pass gave them a first down on their very first offensive play, but they were forced to punt from the Thunder 44. The snap went over the head of Kyle Ericsson. The Lakeland punter was able to grab the ball and get off the kick, but it was caught by Cayleel Hill 10 yards short of the line of scrimmage and returned to the Muskies 37.
A holding call moved the ball back 10 yards setting up first and 20. Three plays later, Andrew Duckett found Seth Boggs for a first down, but Boggs fumbled and Paul Saucedo was able to recover for the Muskies. It was a huge defensive play, but the offense simply could not move the ball, and they were forced to punt once again.
This time, the Thunder would find the end zone. Starting from their own 47, Lamar Carswell carried the ball three straight times, gaining a total of 37 yards. They would move to the Lakeland 10 where it was first and goal. There, quarterback Brandon Winters found wide receiver Seth Vargo for 10 yards and a touchdown.
Trine University would extend the lead to 14 by capping off a 12 play, 94 yard drive that saw Winters connect for his second touchdown of the afternoon, finding Essa Kellah for 4 yards and a score. The big play on the possession was a 43 yard scamper by Elijah Klepper on fourth and 11 from the Lakeland 47.
Trine would score on each of their next two possessions. The first came when Lakeland turned the ball over on downs at the Thunder 43. On the fourth play of the drive, Andrew Duckett completed a 34 yard pass to Jeffery Barnett to extend the lead to 21.
On their next drive, it would be the big play that would be the difference maker. Winters carried the ball for 5 yards on the first play of the drive, and Carswell followed with a 26 yard gain that was called back because of holding. That set up second and 15, where Duckett found Seth Boggs for 22 yards in a first down. On the next play, Carswell found paydirt, rushing 43 yards for the touchdown to give Trine University a 28-0 heading into the half.
The Thunder continued to dominate in the second half. Lakeland took the kickoff and marched to the Trine 25, but a Nunnery pass was intercepted by J.J. Fiero. Starting from their own 9 yard line, the Thunder would need just three plays before they would score. After a penalty moved them back 5 yards, they were faced with a first and 15 at their own four. That is when Carswell burst up the seam and raced 81 yards before finally being pulled down at the Lakeland 10. One player later, Duckett found Klepper for the touchdown to extend the lead to 35.
The Muskies used the big play to get themselves on the board. Starting from their own 25, the ball was handed to Larry Rivers who raced the length of the field for the touchdown to finally get Lakeland on the board.
Trine responded with their sixth touchdown of the game. That came courtesy of a Carswell six yard touchdown run, capping off a seven play, 66 yard drive.
The Thunder would add two more fourth-quarter touchdowns. The first came with a little under 13 minutes left in the game. Keishon Edwards finished off a 13 play, 77 yard drive with a one yard run for the touchdown.
Trine would add one more score with 1:40 left in the game. After getting the ball at their own 21, the N0. 17 ranked team in the country moved 79 yards in eight plays, finishing the drive when Brent Hays scored from 13 yards out. That made it 56-6.
Lamar Carswell finished with 223 yard rushing and 2 touchdowns on 19 carries. D’on Stinson had 10 carries for 69 yards. Andrew Duckett was 8-9 for 139 yards and 2 TD tosses.
Despite taking the loss, the Muskies had success moving the ball. Larry Rivers finished with 89 yards and a TD on just three carries. Charl’Tez Nunnery had 74 yards on 6 carries.
The schedule does not get any easier next week for Lakeland as they travel to take on the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Kickoff is at 6 PM.
By Robert Pannier