Michael Engelhardt had a busy opening day.
The senior quarterback scored points with his legs, arm and foot in Father Gabriel Richard’s 28-6 victory over visiting Bridgeport on a chilly and overcast Thursday afternoon in Ann Arbor.
The Fighting Irish played a solid game in all three areas – offense, defense and special teams – to start the season 1-0.
Richard scored on its second possession of the game. After a long drive, Michael Engelhardt took it in on a quarterback sneak from two yards out to make it 6-0. Engelhardt hit Andrew Kendzicky on a pass for the two-point conversion to give the Fighting Irish an 8-0 lead with 1:24 left in the first quarter.
Bridgeport looked to answer and put a nice drive together down the field. But the Fighting Irish “sacked” the drive when the visitors went for it on fourth and eight at the Richard 19-yard line.
Both defenses tightened up for the rest of the first half until the final minute of the second quarter. Bridgeport scored on a 21-yard run with just 15 seconds left in the half to cut the deficit to 8-6. Richard’s Kendzicky intercepted the two-point conversion attempt.
Special teams led to a Richard touchdown early in the third quarter. Nick Brookins blocked a punt giving the hosts the ball on the Bridgeport 21-yard line. On the next play, Engelhardt hit Kendzicky for the TD.
The two-point conversion failed but Richard led 14-6 with 11:01 left in the quarter.
After the Richard defense held, the offense scored again. On a reverse, Charlie Falvey pulled up and threw a pass to a wide open Patrick Patton who could walk into the end zone for the score.
The extra point by Engelhardt gave Richard a 21-6 lead with 8:26 to play.
An interception by Chris Hill ended another Bridgeport drive in the third quarter.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Engelhardt scored on a 16-yard quarterback keeper right up the middle. The senior quarterback kicked the extra point to give Richard a 28-6 lead with 11:55 left in the final quarter.
Richard’s Scott McGlade had an interception on a long pass at midfield with 5:55 left in the fourth quarter.