"It's a great way to go out," senior defensive end Tim Groh said. "It was great seeing seniors making plays right and left."
Centre (7-1, 4-1 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference) bounced back from its first loss of the season with its highest point total of the year. The offense rolled up 448 yards, nearly twice as many as Rhodes (2-7, 0-5).
"Coming off the loss, it was good to get another win under our belts and show what we can do, show what we're really about," running back Chase Porter said.
The Colonels rushed for 265 yards, led by Jonathan Pinque, who had 179 yards on 24 carries. The sophomore also scored twice, moving into a tie for second place among the school's leaders in career rushing touchdowns with 21.
Porter ran for another 44 yards, Grant Conliffe completed 10 of 18 passes for 183 yards and Nick Edwards caught three of those passes for 111 yards and a touchdown.
"I thought (offensive coordinator) Tony (Joe White) put together a great game plan, and I thought they executed it well," Frye said.
The defense also played a starring role, holding Rhodes 87 yards below its total offense average and repeatedly giving the offense good field position.
The Lynx had only 77 yards in the second half, when Groh said Centre's defense was strongest.
"Our first-half performance wasn't the greatest, and we knew we had to come back strong in the second half," Groh said. "We were just glad to get some three-and-outs and get the offense in good position, and I'm just glad they took advantage of them."
Centre took a 14-0 lead with a defensive score when linebacker Will Geisen recovered a fumble and returned it 58 yards to the end zone.
"I haven't scored a touchdown since eighth grade. I've been playing defense my whole life," Geisen, a junior, said.
Geisen also blocked two punts, one of which was returned 24 yards for a score by Grant Sharp.
"I just woke up today with a good mindset. Here at homecoming, my family and my friends were here, and it was great to be a part of this win. It was great for these seniors, and I'm just glad I could do my part," Geisen said.
Sharp's score put Centre up 21-7 early in the second quarter. Four minutes later came its first safety of the season, and 31?2 minutes after that Pinque scored his second rushing touchdown to give the Colonels a 30-7 lead with 6:58 left in the first half.
Rhodes threatened to score only once more after that, driving as far as the Centre 9-yard line before settling for a field goal on the final play of the first half.
Still, Groh said the Colonels didn't make many defensive adjustments at halftime.
"We just played our game. We didn't want to do too much, because we knew we could beat Rhodes straight up," he said.
Centre remains effectively tied with Millsaps and DePauw atop the SCAC standings. With a win in their season finale this Saturday at Trinity, the Colonels would clinch at least a share of the conference championship for the first time since 2003.
"(We want) to go out there and win the SCAC. A big trip and a big win, and we want to be able to celebrate," Porter said.
In addition, they would earn the league's automatic berth to the NCAA playoffs if they finish in a three-way tie.
Centre still has to win at Trinity, where it hasn't won since 1995.
"At least we're in a position to win it, so that's the best part," Frye said.
Centre — Jonathan Pinque 16 run (John Starks kick), 12:20.
Centre — Will Geisen 58 fumble recovery (Starks kick), 10:14.
Rhodes — Matt Gilbert 1 run (Lukas Stockhausen kick), 8:39.
Centre — Grant Sharp 24 blocked punt return (Starks kick), 14:37.
Centre — Safety, 10:30.
Centre — Pinque 1 run (Starks kick), 3:32.
Rhodes — FG Stockhausen 31, :00.
Centre — Nick Edwards 50 pass from Grant Conliffe (Starks kick), :11.
RUSHING—Rhodes, Josh McMurray 10-33, Tyler Perkins 12-21, Chris Rose 4-4, Matt Gilbert 2-2, Jake Jackson 1-1. Centre, Jonathan Pinque 23-179, Chase Porter 14-44, Rob Pope 129, Drew Sanderson 5-17, Monte Scotton 2-6, Grant Conliffe 4-minus 10.
PASSING— Rhodes, Brett Stoots 8-13-0-106, Perkins 4-16-2-63. Centre, Conliffe 10-18-0-183.
RECEIVING— Rhodes, Jack Lartigue 3-47, Jackson 3-38, Rose 2-24, Gilbert 2-7, Derek King 1-42, Jacob Papernaster 1-11. Centre, Nick Edwards 3-111, Pope 26, Pinque 2-17, Kyle Saylor 1-24, Aaron Hay 1-5.RHODES7300--10CENTRE141670--37RCFirst Downs1123Rushes29-6149-265Passing169183Return Yards106116Punts-Avg7-24.01-34.0Comp-Att-Int12-29-210-18-0Fumbles - Lost3-14-3Penalties - Yards8-784-49Time of Poss.35:3424:26