KALAMAZOO - The Kalamazoo College football team won its season opener 28-23 over Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology at Angell Field on Saturday.
The visiting Engineers got on the board first with a three-yard touchdown run with 6:07 left in the first quarter.
Kalamazoo evened the score as quarterback Justin Danzy capped a 7-play, 52-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run with 14 seconds remaining in the first.
Rose-Hulman regained the lead with a safety early in the second quarter when the snap on Kalamazoo's punt attempt sailed over the head of the punter and was knocked out of the back of the end zone. Rose-Hulman made it a 16-7 game with a touchdown midway through the quarter and maintained that lead into halftime.
Kalamazoo's special teams and defense stepped up in the third quarter. Elijah Hamilton-Wray took the opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown to make it a 16-14 game. A minute later Jake Larioza scooped up a Rose-Hulman fumble and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown to give Kalamazoo a 21-16 lead.
Rose-Hulman battled back and regained the lead (23-21) on a 37-yard touchdown pass with 8:56 left in the third quarter.
Kalamazoo regained the lead with 28 seconds left in the third quarter when Danzy connected with Josh Wise for a 26-yard touchdown which proved to be the eventual game winner (28-23).
"I thought Justin Danzy did a good job managing the game for us on offense," said Kalamazoo Head Coach Jamie Zorbo. "Our conditioning could have been better overall, but we talked about defense and special teams at halftime and it was great to see them come up with huge plays early in the second half."
With both teams running no-huddle offenses, 168 offensive plays were run resulting in 683 yards of combined total offense. Kalamazoo accummulated 366 yards compared to 317 for Rose-Hulman.
Kalamazoo's Justin Danzy was 25-of-40 passing for 279 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Elijah Hamilton-Wray rushed for 56 yards on 10 carries while the quarterback Danzy had 50 yards on 22 carries.
Blake Simon led the Kalamazoo defense with 14 total tackles with one sack. Dylan Zerki had 11 tackles while Thomas Tabor finished with 10 tackles and two sacks. Octavius Sanders had a key interception for the Hornets in Kalamazoo territory early in the fourth quarter.
Kalamazoo returns to action at Manchester College next Saturday, Sept. 14 with a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.