RHIT Football Team Shocks Austrian Nationals 35-34

RHIT Football Team Shocks Austrian Nationals 35-34

VIENNA, AUSTRIA -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology defended a two-point conversion attempt in overtime to cap a 35-34 come-from-behind victory over the Austrian National Team in Charity Bowl XIII on Sunday.

The Fightin' Engineers rallied from a 28-21 deficit to force a 28-28 tie on a fourth-down touchdown pass from Mitch Snyder to Kyle Kovach with four minutes left in regulation to knot the score.  Rose-Hulman forced a punt from the Austrian National Team on its final possession to set the stage for overtime.

In the extra session, Rose-Hulman had the first possession and scored on a fade touchdown pass in the corner of the endzone from Snyder to Reed Eason, with Nick Schneider booting a key extra point that put the Engineers ahead 35-28.

On Austria's possession, Christoph Gross connected with Mario Nerad for a touchdown that brought the score to 35-34.  Team Austria decided to go for the win on a two-point version, but Armando Ponce de Leon was stopped shy of the goal line on a running play by several Rose-Hulman defensive players to secure the dramatic victory.

"Everyone did a tremendous job with the spectacle of the entire event.  It was a great game, and our players are really excited to have beaten a really talented Austrian team," said head coach Jeff Sokol in a postgame interview with the website vimeo.com.

Kovach led the offensive effort with two rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown.  Snyder tossed two touchdown passes, and Craig Voges provided a key early touchdown on an interception return to provide Rose-Hulman's scoring for the day.

Austria jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a scoring run by Ponce de Leon and were driving for a second score late in the first quarter.  Gross was intercepted by Voges, however, who returned the interception for a touchdown to tie the score at 7-7.

Austria gained a 14-7 lead on a score by Andrej Kliman in the first quarter.  Kovach capped the first quarter with his longest run of the day, a 60-yard scamper to force a 14-14 tie after the opening 15 minutes.

Nerad scored on an 18-yard run early in the second quarter to give the Austrian squad a 21-14 edge.  Late in the second quarter, Jordan Martin snagged an interception to give Rose-Hulman one last chance to tie the score at halftime.  Kovach scored from 20 yards out to force a 21-21 tie at intermission.

Team Austria claimed a 28-21 lead late in the third quarter on a touchdown catch from tight end Daniel Stanzel.  Rose-Hulman ended the third quarter on a strong drive in an effort to tie the game.

After a strong defensive stand by Team Austria, the two teams exchanged two scoreless possessions each until late in the fourth quarter.  Rose-Hulman marched for the fourth down touchdown pass from Snyder to Kovach to tie the score and force the extra session, which ended on the defensive two-point stop.

Snyder finished 14-27 through the air for 136 yards and two touchdowns.  Kovach led the ground attack with 86 yards on nine carries, including two touchdowns, and added 62 yards on five catches with one score. 

Eason hauled in three receptions for 33 yards and one score.  Andrew Huddleston added 18 yards on three receptions.  Calvin Bueltel contributed 55 rushing yards on 11 carries, and Snyder added 34 rushing yards.

Defensively, Andrew Couch had a team-high eight tackles and Bobby Short added six stops.  Voges contributed five solo hits and a 53-yard interception return, with Martin pitching in with five stops and one 22-yard interception return.

Gross led the Team Austria passing game with 13 of 20 passes for 95 yards.  Kliman rushed for 85 yards and one score, and Nerad adding 61 rushing yards.  Ponce de Leon contributed 31 rushing yards and two scores.

The result also marked a victory for Rose-Hulman in the first sideline appearance for Sokol and the Fightin' Engineers new coaching staff.

Rose-Hulman will spend two more days in Austria before returning home.  The team opens the 2011 home season against DePauw University on Sept. 3.