HOLLAND, Mich. — The Hope College football team defeated Kalamazoo College 31-6 on Saturday cruising to their fourth straight victory in as many weeks. The win gives Hope a 5-3 overall and 4-1 MIAA record and sole possession of second place in the MIAA standings.
Kalamazoo opened the scoring with an interception returned 40 yards for a touchdown just five and a half minutes into the game. After a failed two-point conversion, Kalamazoo led 6-0 at the end of the first quarter. Hope responded with a 10 play, 71-yard drive that ended in a six-yard touchdown run by Mike Miklusicak (’18) to give them a 7-6 lead going into halftime. Hope never looked back. Miklusicak took over in the third quarter rushing for touchdowns of 14 and 55 yards to complete a three touchdown day and Hope rode that momentum into the fourth quarter. Brandan Campbell (’18) capped off a six play 64-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run and kicker Darren Ford (’19) hit a 20-yard field goal to end the scoring.
Hope once again dominated the line of scrimmage on offense rushing for over 300 yards for the third time this season. Miklusicak lead the Dutchmen rushing 21 times for 166 yards and three touchdowns followed closely by Campbell who carried 17 times for 129 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Michael Custer (’17) completed 15 of 27 attempts for 102 yards. Cooper Cecchini (’20) was once again Custer’s top target catching 4 passes for 55 yards.
The Dutchmen defense continued its dominance, allowing seven points or less for the third consecutive game. Leading the way were linebackers Aaron O’Meara (’17) and Jacob Pardonnet (’18) with eight and seven tackles respectively and safety Andy Lucas (’17) had an interception.
One thing is for sure, first-year Head Coach Peter Stuursma, has his team playing with incredible intensity. There’s a noticeable difference in energy and the way the team plays this year compared to years past, very similar to the resurgence of the University of Michigan in Jim Harbaugh’s first year. No disrespect to former Head Coach Dean Kreps, who contributed great things to the football program over his 22-year tenure, but Coach Stuursma seems to be the breath of fresh air this team needed to get back to the top of the MIAA.
Hope will be back in action this Saturday at Albion College and then return home for the season finale against Concordia University (Wisc.) on Nov. 12.