TERRE HAUTE —
Rose-Hulman junior Kyle Kovach didn’t top 100 yards rushing Saturday like he usually does.
This time, the talented running back from Munster had to “settle” for 85 yards against Mount St. Joseph at Cook Stadium.
But he did score two first-quarter touchdowns — one on a 27-yard pass from quarterback Mitch Snyder and the other on a 7-yard run — to help the Engineers win the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference football matchup 20-14. He also hauled in a team-high six passes for an extra 67 yards.
Although Kovach has not thrown any passes this season, he’s done just about everything else that first-year coach Jeff Sokol has asked him to do.
n Kovach ranks third in the nation in the latest NCAA Division III statistics for all-purpose yards per game. Through six games (three wins and three losses), his average is 223.17 yards. That includes rushing, receiving, kickoff returns and punt returns.
n Kovach ranks first in the HCAC and 26th in the nation in rushing yards per game with 114.33. He’s also tied for 73rd in the nation in points per game with 8.0, thanks to eight touchdowns.
If Sokol asked Kovach to sweep out the Cook Stadium bleachers after fans left a game, he would probably do that too.
“He’s a very versatile player,” Sokol said after Saturday’s contest. “We ask him to do a lot. We ask him to carry the load for us. I’ve never had more confidence putting the ball in a player’s hands. He doesn’t turn it over. He runs hard whenever he has the ball. He plays hard every snap, whether he’s got it or not.
“He’s just an outstanding player. We love having him here.”
Sokol remembers when he first heard about Kovach. It was in December 2010, right after Rose had announced that Sokol was leaving the University of Chicago as an assistant coach to become the Engineers’ head coach.
“We had a guy from Andrean [Kovach’s old high school] at the University of Chicago,” Sokol mentioned. “He came up to me and said as soon as he found out I got the [Rose-Hulman] head-coaching job: ‘Kyle Kovach is an unbelievable player. You’re going to love coaching him.’ He couldn’t have been more right.”
Meanwhile, Kovach is enjoying his experiences with Sokol and the 2011 version of the Engineers’ offense, which allowed him to post four consecutive games with at least 100 yards on the ground before Saturday.
“It’s always the offensive line,” the 5-foot-8, 185-pound Kovach replied when asked about reasons for his success.
“You can’t do it by yourself. Coach has faith in us and the running game. He knows we’re going to get yards. Our thing is we try to get [at least] 4 yards every play.
“For me, it’s all about working hard in practice, me and the other running backs just pushing ourselves … no one taking it easy.”
Sokol said Kovach is one of the team leaders off the field as well.
“He’s a captain as a junior,” the Engineers’ coach pointed out. “In the off-season, he gets on guys, makes them be responsible. He keeps himself in great physical condition [with weightlifting and cardio workouts]. He has to be in great condition to do all the things we ask him to do.”
Kovach, who idolized Walter Payton as a youngster and admires current Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte nowadays, emphasized that he doesn’t mind doing what ever it takes to help Rose pile up victories.
“It’s a challenge,” he admitted. “I played both ways [offense and defense] in high school. But college is a way different game. You’ve just got to prepare yourself, work hard in the offseason and keep hitting the weight room during the season so you don’t lose anything. You’ve gotta be tough. You’ve gotta handle it.”
Kovach said finishing second in the HCAC would be “a great season” if it happens. The Engineers and Hanover are tied for second at 3-1, while Franklin leads at 5-0.
Sokol and Kovach are not expecting Franklin to lose for the rest of the regular season — although the Grizzlies do visit Hanover on Nov. 12 — so HCAC runner-up is probably the most realistic goal at this stage.
“We always push for first and try to win conference,” Kovach explained. “It’s unfortunate what happened to us in the Franklin game [a 55-24 home loss Oct. 8]. We’ll just try to go as high as we can. We don’t want to lose another game this year.”
TERRE HAUTE —
Rose-Hulman junior Kyle Kovach didn’t top 100 yards rushing Saturday like he usually does.
Rose-Hulman swimmers flying to nationals
Rose-Hulman swimmers John Craig Huster and Orion Martin have qualified for the Division III national meet in the 100 butterfly
Despite four NCAA Division III titles, Rose-Hulman’s Liz Evans remains as driven as ever
Even though Rose-Hulman senior Liz Evans has won four NCAA Division III titles in the women’s high jump, getting motivated is still easy for her.
Ultra-competitive athletes find ways.
Balsbaugh’s late-season scoring giving Rose-Hulman a lift
If someone were to predict before last weekend that Rose-Hulman would capture its second straight Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship in men’s basketball and that senior Brenton Balsbaugh would be named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, fans probably would believe the first statement but consider the second as wishful thinking.
Rose-Hulman baseball team kicking off season in Florida
Jeff Jenkins is serious about his baseball.
Rose-Hulman men clinch conference title
Rose-Hulman will host the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament and claimed the league’s regular-season title with a 59-57 win at Hanover College on Saturday.
No. 23 Rose-Hulman takes down No. 22 Transylvania on the road
No. 23 ranked Rose-Hulman claimed a two-game lead in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball standings with a 54-49 victory at No. 22 Transylvania University on Saturday.
Rose-Hulman 18-2 after pulling away from Anderson
Rose-Hulman opened the second half on a 20-3 run to pull away and earn a convincing 71-40 men’s basketball victory at Anderson University on Wednesday night.
Freshman paces Engineer women to HCAC win
The Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team improved to 10-10 for the season and 6-7 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play with a 52-44 win over Anderson on Wednesday in Hulbert Arena.
Rose men top Franklin
Rose-Hulman improved to 14-2 overall and kept its Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference lead at 8-1 with a 58-42 men's basketball victory at Franklin College on Wednesday night.
Rose men run winning steak to 11 games
Anderson arrived in Terre Haute with a 7-6 record and a scoring average of 76.5 points per game.
Anderson holds off rally by Rose women
Rose-Hulman rallied from an 11-point deficit to close within three points late, but Anderson University held on to earn a 64-57 victory in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference women’s basketball Wednesday night inside O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.
Rose-Hulman men ranked 26th in Division III
Rose-Hulman’s men’s basketball team is ranked 26th nationally in the d3hoops.com national weekly poll released on Thursday.
Gerken hits game-winner to put Rose-Hulman at 9-1 on season
Making the game-winning shot, with what turned out to be seven-tenths of a second to go, was probably the easy part for Jon Gerken on Saturday afternoon in Hulbert Arena.
Rose women struggle from field in loss to Hanover
In the Rose-Hulman women’s college basketball game, frigid shooting undermined good work the Engineers did in other aspects of the game against Hanover.
The Engineers came out on the wrong end, 55-43.
Efficient Engineers stifle Millikin
The word that probably best describes the Rose-Hulman men’s basketball team is efficiency.
Rose-Hulman women's basketball regains Clabber Girl Trophy
Rose-Hulman reclaimed the Clabber Girl Trophy for the first time since 2009 with an 80-74 women’s basketball victory over Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College on Tuesday night in Hulbert Arena.
Balanced Rose tops Fontbonne
Senior forward Nate Gissentanner came off the bench to deliver 14 points for balanced Rose-Hulman in a 72-54 men’s basketball victory over Fontbonne University on Wednesday night in Hulbert Arena.
Rose-Hulman men's basketball preview: Engineers looking to follow up last year’s success
It’s pretty safe to say that expectations for the Rose-Hulman men’s basketball team have not been this high since the late 1990s when the Engineers reached the NCAA Division III tournament three times within a four-year period.
Rose-Hulman women's basketball preview: Engineers continuing to improve
The Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team didn’t dominate many opponents last season when it ended up with records of 9-18 overall and 6-12 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Earlham tragedy leads to Rose football cancellation
Little did Rose-Hulman’s football players and coaches know, their 42-8 home victory over Anderson University last Saturday turned out to be their final game of the season.
This weekend's Rose-Hulman vs. Earlham football game canceled
Due to Friday's tragic events involving three Earlham College students, the football game between Earlham and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology has been canceled.
Anderson squeaks past Rose-Hulman
Anderson University scored in the 11th minute and held off a Rose-Hulman charge to earn a 1-0 men's soccer victory in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference semifinal match on Wednesday night at the Engineer Intramural Field.
Rose swimmers near top because of vets, youth
Rose-Hulman swimming depth is at an all-time high, putting the Engineers at No. 15 in the NCAA Division III national rankings.
A bigger taste?
On the night of Oct. 14, Rose-Hulman basketball fans were treated to something described by a couple of men’s players as “spectacular” and “epic” when they all jammed into Hulbert Arena for the insititute’s first “Midnight Madness” to tip off a season.
The memorable site wasn’t a 360-degree dunk or a no-look, behind-the-back pass.
It was Rose men’s coach Jim Shaw performing the “Bernie Dance,” based on the deceased character from the 1989 movie “Weekend At Bernie’s.”
“For a second, I thought he was having a seizure,” senior starting guard Austin Weatherford said with a straight face later.
Rose women picked for 6th
The Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team has been picked to finish sixth in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference this season, according to a preseason poll of league coaches released Tuesday.
Hanover and Franklin were selected for first and second respectively, with just two poll points separating the two squads.
Rose-Hulman no match for Franklin
Franklin showcased its No. 23 NCAA Division III ranking from d3football.com in a 56-0 victory over Rose-Hulman in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference football Saturday.
Rose blanks Woods 3-0 in women’s soccer
Rose-Hulman women’s soccer coach Amy Helliwell is riding a youth movement to what she hopes could produce a strong turnaround in this 2012 season.
It has so far.
Led by freshman Hayley Gilliam, a Zionsville native, the Engineers improved to 5-4-1 for the season with a dominant 3-0 victory against cross-county rival St. Mary-of-the-Woods College on Wednesday at Jim Rendel Field.
METRO ROUNDUP: Engineers dominate HCAC honors
Rose-Hulman Institute student-athletes earned three Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week awards, in results released by the league office on Monday.
West Vigo graduate John Burt was named HCAC Defensive Player of the Week and Eric Schaible the Special Teams Player of the Week in football, and B.J. Thompson earned Player of the Week honors in men’s soccer.
Snyder throws for two early TDs in Rose-Hulman victory
Rose-Hulman scored 33 points in the middle two quarters and held off a Defiance rally to earn a 33-20 victory in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference football opener for both schools Saturday.
Rose’s record setter
Kyle Kovach got off to a great start in Rose-Hulman’s football season opener Saturday night in what turned out to be a heartbreaking 29-28 home loss to Kalamazoo College at Cook Stadium.
- More Rose-Hulman Headlines
- Rose-Hulman swimmers flying to nationals