Dragons fall 14-9 to Cardinals

Nick Watson passed for 298 yards in Tiffin's 14-9 loss at Saginaw Valley State.
Nick Watson passed for 298 yards in Tiffin's 14-9 loss at Saginaw Valley State.

Tiffin University (5-4, 3-2 GLIAC) had numerous chances and put up solid offensive numbers but could not get the ball in the end zone when it counted, falling on the road to Saginaw Valley State 14-9.

Trailing by five points, the Dragons had two chances to take the lead with drives in the final 6:00. Starting a drive with 6:17 left in the game, the Dragons drove to the SV 33 yard line but an interception on fourth down stopped the drive.

The Cardinals took over but a big forced fumble and recovery by Carington Contee on their first play gave TU new life and the ball with 2:00 left at the SV 49 yard line.

TU pushed the ball down to the Saginaw 21 yard line but a sack, penalty, and 3 incompletions ended TU's last chance to take the lead.

Overall TU had 24 first downs to SV's 14 and outgained the Cardinals 410-325 but were hurt by 3 turnovers (interception, two fumbles). The Dragons also went 3 for 14 on third downs.

TU threatened to get on the board in the first quarter, as it drove 62 yards midway through the quarter down to the SV 7 yard line, but Joseph Metcalf missed a 26 yard field goal to end the drive. The Cardinals then took their next possession and scored on a 47 yard TD pass at the 1:37 mark to take a 7-0 lead.

Neither team could put points on the scoreboard over the rest of the half. At the start of the second half, an interception by the Dragons gave the Cardinals the ball on the TU 29 yard line and they promptly took advantage of it, scoring on a 5 yard run at the 11:29 mark to lead 14-0.

On Tiffin's next possession they drove down to the Saginaw 4 yard line but could not punch it in the end zone, settling for a 24 yard field goal by Metcalf to get on the board down 14-3.

The Cardinals answered immediately, putting together their own drive down to the TU 12 yard line but TU escaped as the Cardinals missed a 33 yard field goal.

TU got to within five points on their first possession of the final quarter, as Watson connected on six straight completions including a 4 yard strike to Tyler Denton with 8:47 left for a touchdown. The two point conversion failed, setting up Tiffin's offensive attempts over the final 6 minutes.

Tiffin's defense led the way with 5 sacks, with Victor Cave logging 2.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. Contee had 8 tackles with a forced fumble, fumble recovery, and a tackle for loss, while Tyan Young had 8 tackles with 4 tackles for loss and a sack. Daijohn Isbell also had 7 tackles, while AJ Wright (sack) and Charlie Cleveland (half sack) also made an impact.

Watson finished his day 31 for 49 with 2 interceptions for 298 yards. JaQuan Hardy rushed for 84 yards and had 43 receiving yards, while Denton had 71 yards receiving. Trent Stamm had 51 yards and Jalen Santoro 47 yards through the air, while Tony Shead had 92 all purpose yards (30 receiving, 62 kick returns).