Bulldogs Defense Stands Up Spartans at Aurora, 27-5

The Adrian defense limited Aurora Saturday to opponent season lows of five points and 50 yards rushing. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)
The Adrian defense limited Aurora Saturday to opponent season lows of five points and 50 yards rushing. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)

AURORA, Ill.--A strong defensive effort for the Adrian College football team on Saturday led to a 27-5 road victory over host Aurora in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association-Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Challenge.

= Final Score: Adrian College 27, Aurora University Spartans 5

= Location: Spartan Athletic Park in Aurora, Ill.; Weather: Sunny, 85 degrees, Wind NW 10 mph

= Records: Adrian Bulldogs, 2-1 overall (0-0 MIAA); Aurora Spartans, 0-3 overall (0-0 NACC)

TOP DAWGS
= Freshman Kevin Smitherman led a strong Bulldogs defensive game with a career-high seven total tackles, which included 2-1/2 sacks for 16 yards. He also forced a fumble.

= Senior Emmanuel Stewart rushed 22 times for 137 yards and two touchdowns.

= Also representing the defense, converted running back Foster Walker and Nate Conner, both seniors, added five total tackles apiece. Senior Tim McPhee had a 22-yard interception return, sophomore Danny White contributed four tackles and a pass breakup.

= Freshman quarterback Jack Wurzer ran eight times for 95 yards and a TD, and was 12-for-23 passing for 122 yards and another score.

= Classmate Austin Behnke averaged 41.3 yards on six punts, including a career-long 65 yarder, and had two downed inside the 20. 

THE OPPOSITION
= Gavin Zimbelman threw for 231 yards on 20 completions in 37 attempts with an interception.

= Connor Olson led Aurora with six catches for 54 yards, while Sean Mullen led all student-athletes with 80 yards on four grabs.

= Cole Sinn posted game-highs of six tackles and eight total.

= Keion Adams had two stops, a tackle-for-loss and blocked an extra-point that he returned 98 yards for a safety.

= Ryan Basden averaged 41.3 yards on seven punts, including a long of 52 and one inside the 20.

HOW IT HAPPENED
= For the second outing in a row, Adrian's offense rolled out to another quick start and never looked back. The Bulldogs took a 21-0 lead in the first half before Zac Mirabelli put the Spartans on the scoreboard with a 36-yard field goal just a second left.

= Junior Joe Cleary had an 11-yard TD reception from Wurzer to get Adrian on the scoreboard with 8 minutes and 29 seconds remaining in the first quarter, capping a nine-play, 83-yard drive in 4:50. Stewart helped make it 14-0 with a 10-yard run into the end zone at 2:39, finishing off another long drive of 70 yards in 10 plays and 4:01 time possession. Stewart added a 51-yard score at 1:47 of the second quarter to complete an 88-yard drive in nine plays and 4:23. Adrian led 21-0.

= The last points of the afternoon came at 1:23 left in the third quarter. Wurzer darted between the tackles on a broken play to score from 46 yards out. Then on Adrian's ensuing PAT try, Adams blocked the kick and went 98 yards the other way for two points.

= Besides the score, the Bulldogs also enjoyed statistical advantages in first downs (20-16), total offense (401-281), yards rushing (279-50), sacks (4-17, 1-10) and time of possession (35:51-24:09). Aurora led in yards passing at 231 to 122.

BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
= Adrian moves to 6-1 lifetime in the MIAA-NACC Challenge. The MIAA took this year's Challenge by taking six of eight victories.

= McGaw increased his career totals to 148 receptions and 2,297 yards. Today, he passed Mitch Gabriele (146-1705, 2009-12) for second place on the list for all-time catches at Adrian College.

= Stewart went over 100 yards in a game for the 11 time in his career. The all-time rushing leader in school history, he also lists second among ACTIVE leaders in NCAA Division III with 4,155.

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UP NEXT
=The Bulldogs will be idle until Saturday, Sep. 29, when open conference play at Kalamazoo College. 

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