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