Since 2012, the University of Indianapolis football team has dominated the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC). The Greyhounds, ranked no. 23 in Division-II football, have posted a 22-0 mark going into Saturday’s game against William Jewell College. The Cardinals ended their season with a marquee win, putting the first blemish on the UIndy record behind the play of quarterback DJ Balazs, senior. For Jewell, it’s one of the biggest upset wins in program history.
Jewell set the tempo early in the game. They opened with a 19-play, nine and a half minute drive, resulting in a touchdown on a 8-yard pass from Balazs to wide receiver Quentin Riser, senior. Kicker Brandon Womack, junior, missed on the ensuing extra point, but did not miss again. UIndy responded with a 37-yard field goal before the end of the first quarter.
The Greyhounds were the first to score after half-time when Matt Ripp scored a two-yard touchdown. Jewell responded with Trejaun Mask, first-year, 12-yard rushing touchdown, and the Cardinals regained the lead at 13-10.
UIndy did not back down. On the their next drive, Ripp punched it in from one yard out as the Greyhounds retook the lead. The back and forth chess match continued as Balazs found Travae Jones, senior, for a seven-yard touchdown pass. Jewell scored the game-winning touchdown with 2:37 left on the clock as Balazs took it in to the end zone himself with a seven-yard run, putting the Cardinals up 27-17. The Greyhounds would score again before the end of regulation, but it was not enough to overcome the William Jewell lead. The final score was 27-24, Jewell.
Balazs, in his final game for the Cardinals, had the best performance of his career. He completed 28 of 41 passes, 68 percent, for 239 yards and two touchdowns. He finished with 58 yards on the ground with a score. His performance earned him the GLVC offensive player of the week, his first GLVC weekly honor.
Punter Zane Kitchell, junior, earned the GLCV special teams player of the week, his first, also. He recorded five punts, averaging 40 yards a punt. He downed one inside the Greyhounds’ 20-yard line.
Mask led the Cardinals in rushing, totaling up 82 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown. Jones led the team in receiving with 87 yards and a score. Defensively, Quinlan Riser, senior, finished with seven tackles and a forced fumble. Defensive-end Marcus Moye, junior, recorded two sacks.
The Cardinals were slated to finish last in the preseason conference poll. They went 5-6 with a GLVC record of 5-3, good enough to tie for second place in the conference with Truman State University, St. Joseph’s College and McKendree University. Despite their loss, the University of Indianapolis defended their GLVC championship, making it three in a row.
With William Jewell’s most successful season in their brief association with the GLVC, the team garnered 12 postseason conference awards. Coach Jerod Kruse was named the GLVC Coach of the Year after leading the Cardinals in the largest turnaround in the conference, from last season when Jewell won only two GLVC games, to finishing in sixth place.
On the offensive side of the ball, offensive lineman Brandon Klewer, senior, and utility player Glen Whitney, senior, both took first team GLVC honors. Mask and wide receiver Anthony Mullins, sophomore, earned second team GLVC honors.
Defensive back Quinlan Riser took first team GLVC honors. Whitney also took home second team honors as a utility defensive player, along with Moye and linebacker Jimmy Destefano, senior. Defensive back Thomas Clanton received honorable mention.
On special teams Kitchell, Mullins and Thomas Cook, junior, both for their roles as punt/kick returners, received honorable mention GLVC honors.
Full GLVC postseason honors can be viewed here.