NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – In what has become a tradition of offensive shootouts between the two Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foes, Manchester University and Hanover College combined for more than 800 yards Saturday, Nov. 5.
Battling on the natural grass of Carl W. Burt Memorial Field, the two sides riddled the scoreboard for 76 points, putting up 48 first downs in the process in front of a Senior Day 2016 crowd of better than 1,000 fans. MU got up off the mat from an early 21-0 deficit that was due to a high-flying Panthers’ passing attack getting out to a fast start by piecing together two scoring drives in the final 2:15 of the first half to make the count 21-14 at the break. The second 30 minutes’ momentum swung to the visiting sideline, as Hanover posted four touchdown drives in route to the 49-27 decision.
Despite dipping to 1-8 overall and 1-6 in the league, Coach Nate Jensen’s team did have several statistical highlights. Freshman quarterback Alex Downard (Indianapolis, Ind.) continued his rising progression throwing for 228 yards and a touchdown; senior running back Brenner Cruce (North Judson, Ind.), one of 18 Black and Gold Class of 2017 members playing in their final home contest, rushed for three of the four touchdowns; wide receiver Matt Wirick (Granger, Ind.), also among the senior ranks, hauled in nine catches for 82 yards; and junior defensive back Dillon Nelson (Fairland, Ind.) picked off a pair of Hanover pass attempts for his third career multiple-interception contest.
The Black and Gold wind up the 2016 campaign Saturday, Nov. 12, traveling to Anderson University for the annual Bronze Ball game.