Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Game Day: Rose-Hulman wins homecoming game vs. Defiance

The people I talked to along the sideline of the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology football team on Sept. 21 seemed disappointed that the school had lost its first two games of the season. And the Fightin' Engineers found themselves struggling, too, in this third game -- their Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener, a homecoming contest against Defiance (Ohio).

The Engineers trailed 13-3 at halftime at Cook Stadium, then rallied to score 20 unanswered points before needing to hold off a Defiance comeback and claim their first 2013 win, 23-19. The rally began with Rose-Hulman's first drive of the third quarter, climaxed by a one-yard punch-in TD by senior running back Danya Francis, a moment captured in the photo leading off this post.

It was a beautiful day for football at the campus outside Terre Haute, and even more remarkable was this hidden treasure of a campus. What a photographer's delight! I don't mean to tease you unnecessarily, but you'll have to wait until the next post to see and appreciate all that I mean by that observation; this post is devoted to the Game Day action on the gridiron.

The campus atmosphere resembled that of a festival; many alumni returned for the game and gathered in various sections of the student center, academic buildings and even tents set up in the tailgating area. They enjoyed each other's company and spreads of finger food and beverages. Grills were everywhere, and kids had a fun area to enjoy in the tailgate area outside the stadium.

I encountered an ... interesting ... (but also frustrating) photo quirk from the day's shoot, but unfortunately not one I noticed or realized until I worked in post-processing. At some point during the day, something attached itself to the sensor of my backup camera, a Canon 30D. A black mark appeared on images thereafter, forcing me to either crop around it (if I could) or try to do damage repair with the cloning stamp. In some cases, one of those techniques did work. But I had to toss out several images because the repair would require too much complicated retouching for my skills.

This is the first of three consecutive posts focusing on my visit to Rose-Hulman. The second post features pictures I took of the beautiful campus during my visit; the third post returns to the area around Cook Stadium and the Sports and Recreation Center to feature the busy activity on that homecoming weekend.

For a full gallery of game shots from this shoot, visit my site at SmugMug. Next post: The campus of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Above and below: The Fightin' Engineers take the field before their homecoming game vs. Defiance. Before action started on the gridiron, these youths sang the National Anthem.

Above and next two below: The key play in the Engineers' opening drive of the third quarter was a 27-yard pass play from Ryan Landwehr to Jacob Dye. In the photos above and immediately below, Dye does a nice job eluding Defiance defensive back Leroy Cheatham (1). Dye's scamper down the left sideline included an arobatic teeter (second below) to stay in bounds before being tackled 15 yards or so later.  

Above: Defiance got on the scoreboard first when sophomore quarterback Sean Washington bulled it into the end zone from one-yard out. 

Above: A hole opened momentarily for Rose-Hulman running back Greg Lee. 

Above: Head Coach Jeff Sokol during a more calm moment of the game.

Above and next two below: A short pass to freshman running back Cody Wilson resulted in a short second-half gain when defensive back John Burt brought fpem Wilson along the right sideline.

Above: Rose-Hulman benefited in the second-half by forcing the Defiance offense to start drives from deep in its own territory. The Engineers' defense swarmed over the Yellow Jackets' ball carrier on this play inside the 10-yard line.

Above and next three below: Fumbles and dropped passes were rampant in this game. Chris Sander bobbled this first-half punt but fortunately was able to hang onto it. 

Above: Chris Sander (right) and Craig Voges (40) sandwich Yellow Jackets' runner Aaron Spence to make a tackle on this rushing play.

Above and next three below: Quarterback Ryan Landwehr (7) ran for 6 yards through the middle of the line to score Rose-Hulman's third TD of the third quarter, and give the home team a 23-13 advantage. The score was cause for celebration, led by lineman Jason Waldenmeyer (74) (first below), and even a jump bump from head coach Jeff Sokol (second below). Landwehr grabbed some refreshment to watch the action after the ensuing kick-off (third below). 

Above: Offensive tight end Jordan Patterson along the Engineer's bench shortly after Landwehr's third-quarter touchdown.

Above and below: The Fightin' Engineers' band pumped up the crowd after the home team's final score, a margin that would come in handy after the Yellow Jackets' defense scored in the fourth quarter on what was ruled a fumbled recovery though it appeared to be more like a grab-away.

Above: A section of the home crowd that supplemented the cheerleaders' efforts. One of the favorite moments of the day for me was when the crowd, I think led by these gentlemen, spelled out the full name of the school -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology -- right down to the hyphen in a rousing school cheer.

Above and below: Perspective shots of and from Cook Stadium. The one below looks out onto a forested area that provides a wonderful backdrop for home crowd fans. By the way, these two pictures were among those marred by the debris I talked about in the text. Can you spot the repair points in the images?  

Above and below: Halftime was packed with activities and entertainment, starting with the cheerleaders, who went through some exercises at midfield. 

Above: It was homecoming weekend at Rose-Hulman, so the homecoming court was introduced to the crowd at halftime after the cheerleaders' show. The women on the court included (from left) Katherine Moravec, queen; Elaine Schaudt; Paige Pinkstaff; and Catherine Fiutem. Fiutem, a senior member of the volleyball team, was injured earlier in the day during competition in Hulbert Arena in the adjacent Sports and Recreation Center. 

Above and next two below: Also at halftime, three teams of high school students from Carmel, Indianapolis and West Lafayette who participate in the annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) international youth robotics competition gave a demonstration of their creations that flung flying discs onto the field, where a young man did his best to catch and corral them.

Above and below: Rose-Hulman mascot Rosie the elephant works through a routine as the band plays ... then takes a break out of the sun underneath the grandstands of Cook Stadium.

Above: After the game ended, the Fightin' Engineers gathered and turned toward the home crowd to sing a victory song and lead a cheer. 

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