Where there's a will, there's a way.
Tiffin University overcame more injury adversity, bouncing back from losing starting quarterback Nick Watson late in the second quarter by playing tough defense and getting strong rushing from JaQuan Hardy along with quality backup signal calling from Jihad Vercher and Brock Fargus to nip Michigan Tech 14-7 to secure a winning season on Senior Day at Frost Kalnow Stadium.
The Huskies scored early in the second quarter on a 22 yard pass at the 14:20 mark to take a 7-0 lead into halftime. But the Dragons had their chances, putting together a 10:13 drive in the first quarter and getting to the MTU 3 yard line before coming up short, as a 17 yard field goal attempt was blocked to kill the drive.
Going for it on fourth down on the MTU 33 yard line with just over 3:30 to play in the first half, Watson's pass went incomplete. Being hit on the play, he left the game and never returned, setting up a second half with Vercher calling the signals.
The Dragons did not miss a beat coming out of the halftime locker room, as Vercher led the team down the field covering 78 yards in 11 plays before hitting Victor Talley on a 3 yard TD pass to tie the game. The huge play of the drive came when Vercher left the game after losing his helmet. Third string QB Brock Fargus entered and ran a bootleg 35 yards to pick up a big first down and fire up the offense.
The game then bogged down into a defensive struggle, with neither team gaining the advantage. TU mounted a drive late in the third quarter that carried into the fourth and got down to the MTU 8 yard line before TU missed another field goal, this time wide right.
Two big sacks by Brandon Burks on MTU's next possession led to a punt and a drive by the Dragons that saw Hardy rumble 18 yards to score the go-ahead touchdown at the 3:34 mark of the final quarter to take a 14-7 lead.
Victor Cave posted another sack, TU's 6th of the day, to stop another Huskies' drive on fourth down. MTU got the ball back again with 17 seconds left and quickly moved down the field on two completions before taking a shot at the end zone that fell incomplete to end the game.
TU enjoyed a massive 11 minute edge in time of possession, holding the ball for over 35 minutes in the game. They held a mammoth 275-56 rushing advantage, and 419-282 overall.
TU averaged 6.1 yards per rush, with Hardy finishing with 117 yards and a TD, while Vercher had 58 yards in two quarters of action. Watson and Vercher combined for 21 of 26 passing for 144 yards, with Talley getting 65 yards on 8 catches. Hardy had 144 all purpose yards, adding 27 more on receptions.
TU's defense held MTU to just 56 yards on the ground and 5 of 14 on third downs, totaling 6 sacks and 10 tackles for loss along with 5 pass breakups.
Daijohn Isbell and Carrington Contee had 8 tackles each, while Burks had 6 tackles with 2 sacks and 2 tackles for loss. Jamar Randolph, Jacob Williams, Tyan Young, and Cave also had sacks, with Randolph also posting 3 tackles for loss.