Dragons tangle with Chargers in marquee matchup

Stanley Jackson and the Dragons will take on Hillsdale in a big GMAC showdown Nov. 9.
Stanley Jackson and the Dragons will take on Hillsdale in a big GMAC showdown Nov. 9.

Tiffin University (7-1, 5-0 GMAC) will take on Hillsdale (6-3, 4-1) in a huge conference showdown at Frost Kalnow Stadium Nov. 9 on Senior Day in a game that has important postseason implications.

A win would keep TU in line for a NCAA regional appearance as well as maintain an unbeaten GMAC record heading into its season finale at Findlay on Nov. 16. A win would also guarantee the Dragons of a possible slot in the Crossroads Bowl Dec. 7, a game featuring the runner-ups in the GMAC and GLVC.

Tiffin and Hillsdale also met near the end of last season  on Nov. 3 with big postseason implications hanging in the balance as both were undefeated in conference play. TU got off to a good start with a 19-17 halftime lead on the road, but the Chargers outscored the Dragons 31-7 in the second half for a 48-26 win. 

Tiffin and Hillsdale have faced off 12 times in program history, with the Chargers holding an 8-4 advantage in the series. The last four matchups have been a coin flip, with TU taking victories in 2014 and 2016 while Hillsdale won in 2015 and 2018.


- Hillsdale was picked atop the GMAC Preseason Poll after going undefeated in conference play a season ago.
- The Chargers stumbled out of the gate in 2019, falling to Michigan Tech and Indianapolis in their first two games, but have since won six of seven with the only defeat at the hands of Findlay on Oct. 19, 41-16.
- Hillsdale rolled to a 56-21 win at Alderson Broaddus last Saturday, racking up 483 yards of total offense, including 239 yards on the ground. After the score was tied at seven early, the Chargers scored 42 unanswered points before earning the 35-point victory.
- Luke Keller had 192 yards passing and three touchdowns, while backup quarterback Ty Cox also got into the action with a pair of touchdowns through the air.
- David Graham had 132 yards rushing on 15 attempts with a pair of scores, and Konnor Maloney racked up 123 receiving yards and three touchdowns for the Chargers.
- Hillsdale also totalled four sacks in the game, with three coming from defensive lineman Kyle Parran.


- Hillsdale is currently third in the GMAC at 31.9 points per game and fourth with 369.3 yards of total offense per game.
- The Chargers are very disciplined, as they lead the conference and the nation with just 4.22 penalties per game and 35 penalty yards per contest.
- Hillsdale is 15th nationally on fourth-down conversions, converting at a rate of .667 thus far on the season.
- Redshirt freshman Luke Keller quarterbacks the offense, going 113-220 (51.4%) on the year for 1743 yards, 14 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Keller is also a threat to run, ranking second on the team with 128 yards on the ground and three touchdowns.
- Senior back David Graham is the star of the offense, ranking second in the GMAC with 917 rushing yards on the season and leading the conference (4th in the nation) with 13 touchdowns on the ground.
- Konnor Maloney leads all Charger receivers with 38 catches, 698 yards, and six touchdowns through the air, marks that are all fourth in the conference for the junior.
- Other receivers to keep an eye on are redshirt freshman Joe Bentley (232 yards, two touchdowns) and junior tight end Martin Petersen (210 yards).
- Hillsdale's defense ranks fourth in the conference with 23.4 points allowed per game and third with 361.2 total yards allowed per contest.
- The Chargers have a very strong red zone defense, ranking fourth nationally by holding opponents to a .571 success rate.
- Sophomore defensive back Zach Herzog leads the conference with 81 total tackles on the season, adding a tackle for loss, forced fumble, interception, and two pass breakups.
- Linebacker Dan Shanley is second on the team with 55 tackles, and leads the Chargers with four sacks and six tackles for loss on the year.
- Senior Drake Temple is tied for third in the conference with three interceptions while ranking fourth on the team with 52 tackles.
- Junior Alex Anschutz is tied for the GMAC lead with 12 pass breakups on the season.
- Picked fourth by the conference coaches in the GMAC Preseason Poll, the Dragons continue to exceed expectations, holding down the top spot in the conference with an undefeated 5-0 mark.
- Dating back to when Tiffin joined the GMAC last year at the start of the 2018 season, Tiffin is 11-2 against conference competition.
- Since 2016, Tiffin is 30-11 (.732 winning percentage), the highest winning percentage of any GMAC school over that four-year stretch.  Ohio Dominican is next at .711 (27-11) followed by Findlay (.682, 30-14) and Hillsdale (.651, 28-15).
- Prior to their bye week last Saturday, the Dragons ran all over Lake Erie to the tune of a 63-35 victory on Oct. 26. Tiffin led from start to finish, tallying 443 yards of total offense and 221 yards on the ground while holding the Storm to just 22 yards rushing.
- Nick Watson went 14-21 for 222 yards and four scores through the air on the day. JaQuan Hardy was a beast on the ground, racking up 124 yards on 18 attempts with three touchdowns, which earned him the GMAC Offensive Player of the Week award. Stanley Jackson caught five passes for 106 yards and a touchdown, while Devin Butler added 84 yards, a receiving touchdown, and his second kick return touchdown of the season.
- The Dragon offense has been a machine in 2019, leading the conference by wide margins in both points per game (44.6) and total yards per game (531.5). Those marks are also 9th and 3rd in the nation, respectively. 
- Tiffin does it both on the ground and through the air, ranking 15th nationally in passing offense at 287.9 yards per game and 17th in rushing offense at 243.6 yards per game.
- The Dragons are 16th in Division II in offensive first downs, recording 211 on the year.
- Nick Watson is the runaway candidate for top quarterback in the conference thus far, ranking in the top two in the GMAC with 159 completions, 2234 yards, 279.3 yards per game, 24 touchdowns, and a 163.7 rating. Nationally, he is 10th in passing touchdowns, 11th in passing yards per game, 22nd in completions per game, 15th in passing efficiency, and 19th in completion percentage.
- JaQuan Hardy ranks first in the GMAC at 125.8 rush yards per game and second with 11 rushing touchdowns. Of running backs with at least 35 attempts, he leads the conference at 7.7 yards per carry. In Division II, he is seventh in yards per carry and eighth in rushing yards per game.
- Kyle Brunson joins with Hardy to form Tiffin's potent ground attack. In five games this year, he has 68 attempts for 368 yards and a touchdown.
- Stanley Jackson Jr. leads the conference in receiving yards with 888, 100 more than the next wideout despite having played either one or two less games than the rest of the top 10. His average of 126.9 yards per game is second nationally, eight touchdowns is 27th in DII, and 7.8 receptions per game is tied for eighth in the country.
- Devin Butler is also in the top 10 in the conference in receiving, ranking fifth with 68.1 yards per game on 37 catches with four touchdowns. Gavin Woods is not too far behind, piling up 40.4 yards per game and five touchdowns.
- Tiffin also leads the GMAC in scoring defense (17.4 points allowed per game) and total defense (313.1 yards allowed per game).
- The Dragons are 17th in the country with a +1.13 turnover margin.
- TU is second in the conference and is 25th nationally with 12 interceptions on the year. 
- Carrington Contee has taken over the team lead with 53 tackles on the year, and also is tied for the team lead and ranks tied for third in the GMAC with three interceptions.
- Ross Moore also has three picks while ranking sixth on the team with 39 tackles.
- Charlie Cleveland has 42 tackles and is second in the GMAC with 12 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.
- Jacob Mertus is second on the team with 47 tackles on the year. The senior also has 2.5 tackles for loss.
- Latrell Robinson has also been a force on the line, recording 45 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and five tackles for loss on the season.