Dragons scorch Warriors 27-13 to open 5-0

Kyle Brunson had a superb night at Wayne State, rushing for 143 yards in Tiffin's 27-13 win.
Kyle Brunson had a superb night at Wayne State, rushing for 143 yards in Tiffin's 27-13 win.

Tiffin University (5-0) wasted little time setting the tone in their road trip to Wayne State.

The Dragons used a potent offense and a stingy defense to control the tempo in the opening half, amassing 24 first half points en route to a convincing 27-13 win over the Warriors.

TU racked up 285 yards in the first half along with 13 first downs while holding WSU to 159 total yards and 7 first downs. They led 24-3 at the half, and did not allow a Wayne State touchdown until just 5:28 remained in the game. 

The Dragons scored the first 17 points of the game, with A.J. Nickoli booting a 32 yard field goal at the 10:40 mark of the first quarter on Tiffin's opening possession to put TU up 3-0.

After TU's defense forced a three-and-out, Derell Williams got the first touchdown of the day for TU, hauling in a 78 yard bomb from Nick Watson to cap a 2 play, 80 yard drive at the 8:06 mark as TU jumped ahead 10-0.

TU's defense allowed only one first down in the opening quarter, and promptly forced a fumble immediately after allowing it. Avion Boyd forced the turnover, with Daigien Morgan getting the recovery as the quarter expired.

The Dragons took the turnover and turned it into points, with Charles Holland hauling in an 11 yard TD strike from Watson to make it 17-0 at the 12:16 mark of the second quarter.

The only points for the Warriors in the first half came after a Watson sack and fumble inside TU's 10 yard line. Even then, the TU defense held firm, not allowing a touchdown and holding WSU to a 24 yard field goal.

With 4:00 remaining in the half, the Dragons finished with an exclamation point, driving 90 yards and scoring with 15 seconds left in the half on a 9 yard Holland pass reception from Watson giving TU a huge 24-3 lead at the break.

The second half opened with WSU driving inside the red zone but again settling for a 36 yard field goal as TU's defense refused to break.

The Dragons held Wayne State off the board for the remainder of the third quarter, eating up valuable clock time with a solid ball control offense. They got their final points on a 77 yard drive that ate up 6:17 of the clock and ended with a 20 yard Nickoli field goal to push TU's lead to 27-6 with 11:36 left.

Wayne State finally scored a touchdown with 5:28 to play but it took them nearly 6:00 to do it, putting them down 14 points. Wayne State had a couple more possessions in the game, but TU's defense intercepted two passes over the remaining minutes, with Daijohn Isbell and Chrystian Watkins doing the honors to put the game away.

Overall TU had 387 yards of offense while holding WSU to just 4 of 15 on third downs. Overall the TU defense stood tall, posting 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, and forcing a fumble.

Watson finished with 258 yards on 17 of 28 completions with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Kyle Brunson pounded his way to 143 rushing yards on 28 carries, good for a 5.1 yards per carry average. 

Derell Williams had 78 yards receiving on one catch, while Tyler Denton had 62 yards on 4 catches and Holland had 61 yards receiving on 6 catches. Victor Talley also had 38 yards receiving.

Defensively Avion Boyd had 8 tackles with a forced fumble, while Jacob Williams had 7 tackles with a sack. Watkins also had 7 tackles with a pick, while Alexander Melfe had 1.5 sacks and 6 total tackles. Ross Moore had 5 stops, A.J. Wright had a half sack, and Isbell had another interception. 

Nickoli also accounted for 9 points with 2 field goals and 3 extra points.

TU now returns home for their Homecoming game with Malone at 4 pm Oct. 6.