DEFIANCE, Ohio – Donavan Henderson, Jr. (Hollywood, Fla./Hollywood Hills) continues to rewrite the Manchester University record books. Henderson, Jr. rushed for 139 yards and set a career-high and new school record with 5 rushing touchdowns as Manchester University defeated Defiance College on the road by a final score of 52-21 on Thursday September 19.
Henderson, Jr. currently holds the school’s all-time records for rushing touchdowns and career touchdowns by a non-QB with 40. He is also just 575 yards shy of breaking Manchester’s all-time career rushing mark set by Dan Taylor in the early 1970s. Henderson moved into a tie with Brandon Wells for second place on the all-time list on Thursday evening for career rushing yards with 2,547.
The Spartans scored early and often against the Yellow Jackets on Thursday evening. MU compiled a 7-play, 65-yard drive on it opening possession that was capped by a Donavan Henderson, Jr. 29-yard touchdown score. Later in the opening quarter, Manchester converted a blocked punt into three more points and grabbed a 10-0 advantage through 15 minutes of action.
The Spartan offense broke the game open in the second quarter, outscoring the Yellow Jackets 28-7. Henderson, Jr. rushed for a pair of touchdowns. Senior quarterback Austin Roberts (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central) added an 11-yard touchdown run and Joseph Garling (Cedar Lake, Ind./Hanover Central) recovered an errant Yellow Jacket snap in the end zone for a touchdown.
Jaquan Walker (Hawthorne, Fla./Interlachen) and Michael Cross (Arcadia, Ind./Hamilton Heights) both intercepted a pass in the first half, helping the Spartans to a 38-7 halftime lead.
In the second half, Henderson, Jr. was able to punch in two more scores on the ground as Manchester built its largest lead of the night of 52-13 midway through the third quarter.
For the game, Manchester finished with 292 yards on the ground. Henderson, Jr. led the way with 139 yards on 21 carries. Austin Roberts added 71 rushing yards while Christian Smith (Indianapolis, Ind./Arsenal Tech) carried the ball six times for 69 yards. Freshman Chico Ward (Woodstock, Ga./River Ridge) added a 73-yard kickoff return against the Yellow Jackets on Thursday night.
Defensively, the Spartans tallied 84 tackles and three sacks. Logan Poll (Hastings, Mich./Lakewood) finished with 11 tackles. Freshman Devontay Moore (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central) finished with nine tackles and two tackles-for-loss for 15 yards. Moore also had 1.5 sacks.
The Spartans improved to 1-2 on the young season with the win. Defiance College fell to 0-3. Manchester University will host Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology on Saturday September 28 at 1:30 pm at Burt Field as Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play opens for both teams.