Talley, Brunson lead Dragons to 27-20 win at Walsh

Jacob Mertus tied Daijohn Isbell with 8 tackles against the Cavaliers.
Jacob Mertus tied Daijohn Isbell with 8 tackles against the Cavaliers.

For only the second time in their history, Tiffin University's football team has opened its season 4-0.

The Dragons did most of their scoring in the first half and then let the defense hold off Walsh down the stretch, posting a 27-20 victory on the road. The win gives the Dragons their best start to a season since 2006 when TU opened 10-0. 

Walsh, which hadn't played in two weeks due to the cancellatiion of their game with Jacksonville last week due to the hurricane, came out firing, driving down the field to open scoring at the 10:22 mark on a 1 yard run to lead 7-0.

The Dragons got moving in the second quarter, driving 80 yards in 4 plays highlighted by a 48 yard Kyle Brunson run leading to a 9 yard pass from Nick Watson to Charles Holland at the 11:46 mark to tie the score at 7-7.

The Dragons got the defense in on the action on Walsh's next possession, as Jacob Williams picked off a Walsh pass and returned it 40 yards for another score at 11:29 to make it 14-7.

Late in the second quarter, Walsh booted a 43 yard field goal to make it 14-10, but the Dragons again responded, driving 75 yards on 11 plays before Tylan Rice rushed it in from 12 yards out at the 2:09 mark to give TU a 21-10 halftime lead.

The Dragons got the second half started in strong fashion, as Victor Talley hauled in a big 41 yard pass from Watson to set up their next score, as Brunson banged it in from 3 yards out at the 12:45 mark of the third to put TU up 27-10.

Walsh responded on their next drive, reaching the TU 26 yard line before the Tiffin defense stopped them. Walsh settled for a 43 yard field goal to make it 27-13.

Tiffin put together a strong drive on their ensuing possession, driving to the Walsh 8 yard line before coming up short. A 25 yard field goal attempt was blocked, giving Walsh a spark of life that they took into the fourth quarter on an 80 yard drive down to the TU 11 yard line before the TU defense again came up big. The Cavaliers again settled for a 43 yard field goal to bring the game to within one score at 27-20 with 14:20 left in the game.

Walsh had two more possessions to even the score, but the Dragons responded, forcing a three and out on the first attempt and then making a big fourth down stand at the 50 yard line to end Walsh's final possession. The Dragons then controlled the ball with their ground game to run out the clock.

Overall TU outgained Walsh 367-341, with the defense stepping up to hold Walsh to just 3 of 11 on third downs. 

Brunson had a big game, rushing for 127 yards on 20 carries, good for 6.3 yards per rush with a score. Tylan Rice also had a score with 39 rushing yards.

Talley had the best day in the receiving corps, catching 5 passes for 125 yards, while Holland had 40 yards on 5 receptions.

Defensively, Jacob Mertus and Daijohn Isbell had 8 tackles each, while Daigien Morgan had 7 stops. Tyrik Gilbert had 6 tackles with a sack, while Jacob Williams had 4 tackles and an interception return for a touchdown.