Dragons fall in defensive battle 13-3 to 15th-ranked Bulldogs

Nick Watson passed for 249 yards in a narrow 13-3 loss to Ferris State.
Nick Watson passed for 249 yards in a narrow 13-3 loss to Ferris State.

Tiffin University (4-2, 3-1 GLIAC) battled 15th-ranked Ferris State in a tough defensive battle, coming up just short in a 13-3 loss.

The Dragons gave the Bulldogs a battle for 60 minutes, coming up just short on a number of critical possessions and battling FSU to a draw in most statistical categories.

TU got on the board first, putting together a 6:13 drive that covered 83 yards in 14 plays, with Nick Watson completing 5 passes on the drive and leading TU down to the FSU 4 yard line before settling for a 22 yard field goal from Joe Metcalf at the 3:24 mark to take a 3-0 lead.

The Dragons defense was superb, holding the Bulldogs off the board until the 3:29 mark of the second quarter. FSU put together a 76 yard drive that brought them to the TU 10 yard line, but the defense buckled down and held FSU to a 27 yard field goal that made the score 3-3 at halftime.

The Bulldogs adjusted at the break and found instant success, taking their first possession of the second half and connecting on a big 34 yard pass play to score the game's lone touchdown at the 11:24 mark to take a 10-3 lead.

The Bulldogs put more points on the board on their next possession, taking advantage of another long pass play (35 yards) and a crucial pass interference penalty called on TU on 3rd down to extend their drive. TU kept FSU out of the end zone but the Bulldogs kicked another 27 yard field goal to push their lead to 13-3.

But the Dragons weren't done yet.

With 3:30 remaining in the third quarter, the Dragons drove downfield and found themselves with a 1st and goal from the FSU 5 yard line. A 5 yard scoring run was called back on a penalty but the Dragons connected on another pass play on 3rd down to get them to the FSU 1 yard line. Going for it on 4th down, the Dragons lost two yards and turned the ball over one downs, coming up just short.

TU also missed another opportunity on their next possession, missing a 47 yard field goal in their last best chance to put points on the board. The Dragons could not get past their own 40 yard line for the remainder of the final quarter.

FSU had 18 first downs to Tiffin's 15, while the Bulldogs also outgained TU 376-289 in total offense, including a 147-40 rushing edge.

Nick Watson led the offense, connecting on 22 of 44 passes for 249 yards with one interception. JaQuan Hardy rushed for 50 yards and added 46 receiving yards, while Tony Shead had 76 yards receiving. Victor Talley also had 45 yards receiving.

Defensively Daijohn Isbell had a huge game, making 18 tackles, while Carrington Contee also had 9 tackles. Brandon Burks added 8 stops, while Jamar Randolph had 8 tackles with a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss. Victor Cave also had a sack. Overall the defense registered 2 sacks and 9 tackles for loss.