Dragons prepare for football finale

Jalen Santoro and the Dragons take on Grand Valley State in the season finale.
Jalen Santoro and the Dragons take on Grand Valley State in the season finale.

Tiffin University will wrap up its 2017 season with a trip to Grand Valley State Saturday, Nov. 11 for a 1 pm contest.

THE SERIES: Tiffin has not been able to post a victory yet against the Lakers, trailing 9-0 in the series. The closest they have come was in 2015 when they fell 49-42. Last season TU opened the season at Grand Valley and fell 45-7. The Dragons have given up less than 42 points to GVSU only once in their series history.  
LAKERS AND DRAGONS  ROUNDUP:   Tiffin University pulled out a 14-7 win over Michigan Tech in a game that saw the Dragons overcome more injury adversity. Backup quarterback Jihad Vercher helped lead the Dragons to two second-half scores for the win. 
The Lakers, meanwhile, fell to Ashland in a national slugfest 34-31 on a field goal by the 10th ranked Eagles as time ran out. The loss knocked GV out of the Top 25. 
Grand Valley State Notes
GV offense
The Lakers fell on the road last weekend 34-31 to the Ashland University Eagles. The Lakers offense managed 311 yards of total offense in the loss, rushing for 143 yards and throwing for 168. Grand Valley State completed less than half their passes on the night, and tossed an interception. Quarterback Bart Williams is completing 59.8% of his passes for 2,079 yards and 23 touchdowns. Under the leadership of Williams, the Lakers are averaging 409 yards of total offense per game and 36.6 points per game. Marty Carter is the leading ball carrier for Grand Valley State, carrying the ball 122 times for 931 yards and nine touchdowns. Carter is averaging 7.6 yards per carry and has fumbled only once this season. Bryce Young-Walls has been a steady producer for the Lakers, rushing for 567 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore. On the outside the Lakers are led by Brandon Bean with 722 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Tight end Nick Keizer has 509 receiving yards this year for a team high nine touchdowns. Inside the red zone, the Lakers are scoring 84% of the time with 80% being touchdowns.
GV Defense
Grand Valley State is allowing only 13.6 points per game and 302.5 yards of total offense. The Lakers' pass defense is tops in the GLIAC, surrendering 136 yards through the air. Grand Valley State's defense has been stingy when it comes to allowing passing touchdowns, surrendering only four scores. The rush defense is allowing 166.5 yards per game and 13 touchdowns. Against Ashland the Lakers surrendered 188 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. Grand Valley State has recovered 11 fumbles, intercepted six passes, and have three defensive touchdowns. Garrett Pougnet leads the Lakers in tackles with 73, fumble recoveries with two, sacks with 4.5, and tackles for loss with 9.5.  Linebacker Colin Schlosser has logged 71 stops with six coming behind the line of scrimmage. 
GV Special Teams
The Lakers have attempted only five field goals all year, using three different kickers to do so. Avery Echols has made one field goal this year and is 31 of 32 on extra point attempts. The Lakers have used two punters this year with Collin Cribley punting 30 times for a 39.4 yard average. Dan Madded has punted 12 times for a 37.8 yard average. Brandon Wadley is a dangerous kickoff returner for the Lakers, averaging 30.1 yards per return. 
Tiffin notes
Tiffin Offense
Even as the injuries have decimated the Dragons' offense, Tiffin has still managed to win games, posting a 14-7 victory last Saturday against Michigan Tech. Tiffin starting quarterback Nick Watson left Tiffin's last game with an injury in the 1st half and was unable to return to action in the 2nd half. Prior to his exit, Watson was 13 of 15 for 97 yards. In relief, Jihad Vercher led two Tiffin touchdown drives, including the game winner with 03:34 left in the 4th quarter. Vercher finished 8 of 11 for 47 yards and a touchdown through the air and carried the ball nine times for 58 yards. JaQuan Hardy logged his 2nd 100-yard game of the season, toting the rock 22 times for 117 yards and a touchdown. Hardy needs 77 yards to become the first Tiffin running back to total 1,000 yards rushing since 2005. Tyler Denton leads the Tiffin receivers in yards (492) and touchdowns (5). Freshman receiver Victor Talley has come on strong for the Dragons, hauling in 24 receptions for 251 yards and a touchdown. 
Tiffin Defense
The Dragons continue to impress even with two main starters missing from the lineup. The Dragons are allowing only 19.4 points per game, 321.7 yards per game, and lead the GLIAC with 32 sacks. Against Michigan Tech, Tiffin allowed only seven points and 56 yards rushing while posting a season high six sacks. Nationally, Tiffin is 13th in the nation in sacks per game (3.20), and are 11th in tackles for loss (8.7). Victor Cave has been a menace on the defensive line with a GLIAC leading eight sacks, ranking 26th in the nation. Brandon Burks leads the club in tackles with 81 stops. Burks has logged 6.5 sacks and a team high 12.5 tackles for loss. Carrington Contee continues to lead the GLIAC in solo tackles (57) and nationally he is 11th in the category. Contee is joined by Delan Wynn and Jawan Nelson for the team lead in interceptions with two. Tiffin's defense is one of the best in several categories nationally, ranking 21st in 3rd down defense, 16th in pass defense, 20th in red zone defense, and 28th in scoring defense.
Tiffin Special Teams
Tiffin's kicker Joe Metcalf has made 11 field goals this year and leads Tiffin with 61 points scored. Punter Harry McCollum has been a weapon for Tiffin's defense, flipping the field with his punts. McCollum is averaging 38.7 yards per punt with 21 punts downed inside the 20-yard line, 2nd in the GLIAC. 
Tiffin Football Record Countdown
Tiffin University Career Top 10
Receptions – 190 – 3rd all-time – needs 37 to be the all-time leader
Yards – 2627 – 2nd all-time
Touchdowns – 30 – 2nd all-time
Scoring – 30 - touchdowns 5th all-time
Points – 180 – 8th all-time
Most 100-yard receiving games – 10 – 2nd all-time
Most 200-yard receiving games – 3 – 2nd all-time
GLIAC Career Records within reach
Receiving Yards – 2239 – Needs 453 to move into 10th all-time
Tony Shead
Receptions – 195 – 3rd 
Yards – 2182 – 5th 
Receiving Touchdowns – 14 – T9th 
Kickoff Returns – 67 – 4th
Kickoff Return Yards – 1491 – 4th
All Purpose Yards – 3769 – 5th