ADRIAN, Mich.--The Adrian College football team will commence its 114th season of competition on Saturday when the Bulldogs travel to Ada, Ohio, to square off against Ohio Northern University. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Dial-Roberson Stadium (4,500 capacity). Here's a preview of the contest:
TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Adrian holds a 6-3 advantage in the all-time series. But the host Polar Bears won a 35-31 thriller in Adrian last season, which was the schools' first meeting since 1989. Adrian last visited ONU in 1989--a 21-3 victory.
- Jim Deere '89 is 52-30 record (.634) going into his ninth season as the Adrian head coach. He has piloted the Bulldogs to Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships in 2012 and 14, and NCAA tournament bids in those seasons.
- Senior running back Emmanuel Stewart holds a plethora of milestones in the AC record book, most notably 3,856 rushing yards, 264 points and 4,425 all-purpose yards for a career and 1,487 rushing yards in a season (2015). In 2017, he ran 212 times for 1,367 yards and 18 touchdowns while also getting 27 catches for another 297 yards and two TDs.
- The Bulldogs' defensive unit is led by three-time All-MIAA standout Chris Adams, who re-established his career high with 58 total tackles among 35 solos--both leading the Bulldogs. This fall, the senior moves back to linebacker after playing free safety and earning first-team all-conference honors a year ago.
- Junior signal-caller Hunter Hamm returns as Adrian's starting quarterback after transfer Clayton Uecker (Akron and Ave Maria [Fla.]) exhausted his only year of eligibility for the Bulldogs. In 2016, Hamm started the last four games of his freshman season and ended up 75-for-139 for 54 percent and 1,179 yards with seven TDs. Freshman Jack Wurzer (Pinckney, Mich./Pinckney Community) is listed second on the AC depth chart.
- DYK? that Stewart received some national attention by HEROSports as one of the nation's top running backs in terms of piling up the yards and scoring TDs and he was profiled in D3football.com KICKOFF '18. In addition, D3football managing editor Keith McMillan noted the AC-ONU game as one he'll keep an eye on in the Week 1 Quick Hits: Welcome to 2018 blog.
- Senior wide receiver Jerron McGaw caught 70 passes for 1,233 yards and 10 TDs on the way to 2017 All-MIAA First Team and D3football.com All-North Region Third Team accolades. He tied the school record for TD receptions and set the yards receiving mark for a season while the 70 receptions listed second in school history.
- Senior linebackers LB Lawrence Austin on the outside and Tim McPhee on the inside help Adams bolster the defense with 51 tackles apiece. Austin made the All-MIAA First Team in 2017.
- Who to Watch Out for Ohio Northern: The ONU running game was led in 2017 by All-American RB Christiaan Williams (269 att, 1,623 yards, 11 TDs). QB Anthony McFadden was 25-of-39 passing for 406 yards and 6 TDs and QB Will Freed was 155-of-259 passing for 2,026 yards and 20 TDs. WR Chad Rex (51 rec, 926 yards, 14 TDs), RB Christiaan Williams (38 rec, 393 yards) and WR Malachi Nolletti (34 rec, 423 yards, 4 TDs) led the receiving corps. LB Zach Schmerge, LB Mark Niles and S Andrew Valenti lead the defense with 94, 90 and 72 tackles, respectively. DL Justin Croswell led the team with 5.0 sacks.
- Last Year's Game: Stewart ran for 106 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns in his return to the Adrian lineup. He added six catches for 44 yards to have a total of 150 all-purpose yards. McGaw had game highs of nine receptions for 154 yards. Adams made an impressive debut at his new defensive back position, notching a game-high 13 tackles (10 solo).
Offense: Tackle-Jaleel Brown/Matt Dehring; Guard-Kimari Carson/Obenson Jean-Gilles; Center-Ben Pelletier/Logan Denn; Guard-Derek Hopper/Max Protske; Tackle-Dammian Booker/Hunter Scoggins; Wide Receiver-Jerron McGaw/Donald Scott; Wide Receiver-Stanley Jean-Pierre/Henry Wilson; Wide Receiver-Tate Honeycutt/Corbin Sines; Tight End--Joe Cleary/Cal Raker; Running Back-Emmanuel Stewart/Colton Randle; Quarterback-Hunter Hamm/Jack Wurzer
Defensive End-Joe Barney/Adrien Kirkland; Tackle-Katron Denson/Brad Pfister; Tackle-Collin Lewis/Kelvon Roberts; Defensive End-Josh Barney/Hunter Casebolt; Linebacker-Chris Adams/Kanin Witte; Linebacker-Nate Conner/Brandon Moody; Linebacker-Tim McPhee/Jack Bouck; Linebacker-Tim Bryant/Steven Moses; Defensive Back-Shawn Starks/Kam Moore; Defensive Back-Lawrence Austin/James Males; Defensive Back-Danny White/Woodton Duclos
- Specialists: Short Snapper-Jaleel Brown/Luke Heide; Kicker-Cooper West/Josh Saggio; Holder-Joe Cleary/Tate Honeycutt; Punter-Josh Saggio/Austin Behnke; Long Snapper-Luke Heide/Robert Ginther; Kickoff Return--Antonio Goines/Nathan Keller; Punt Return--Lawrence Austin/Tate Honeycutt
Adrian will make its home debut on Sep. 8 against Buffalo State, which plays football in the Empire 8 Conference this season before moving to the Liberty League in 2019. The Bengals' primary sport conference is the State University of New York Athletic Conference.
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