Football Faces Stern Road Test at Nationally-Ranked Trine Thunder

The Bulldogs had a swarming defense against Finlandia last week and seek the same effort at No. 11/14 Trine on Saturday. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)
The Bulldogs had a swarming defense against Finlandia last week and seek the same effort at No. 11/14 Trine on Saturday. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)

ADRIAN, Mich.--For the first time since Oct. 13, the Adrian College football team hits the road on Saturday to travel to Angola, Ind., to square off against nationally-ranked and defending Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association champion Trine University. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. at 5,000-seat Shive Field at the Fred Zollner Athletic Complex. Here's a preview of the contest: 

TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Adrian still leads Trine in the all-time series 9-6 despite the Thunder winning three in a row. Before that, the Bulldogs reeled off five-straight in the series from 2011 to 2015. Adrian is 4-3 lifetime in Angola, Ind.
  • Jim Deere '89 is 56-34 record (.625) in his ninth season as the Adrian head coach. He has piloted the Bulldogs to MIAA championships in 2012 and 14, and NCAA tournament bids in those seasons. 
  • Senior running back Emmanuel Stewart, who needs just 50 yards to become the 30th player in NCAA Division III history to reach 5,000, ranks second among ACTIVE Division III career leaders at 4,950 yards and third in all NCAA Divisions; No. 1 is Le'Anthony Reasnover (5,503) from Eureka College. Adrian's career rushing leader, Stewart currently ranks second in the MIAA with 136.1 rushing yards per game and 14 touchdowns. He also is third among active Division III career leaders with 5,622 all-purpose yards.      
  • The Bulldogs' defensive unit is paced by senior inside linebacker Tim McPhee with a 70 total tackles (25 solo) to extend his career-best by a lot. He ranks third in the MIAA with 8.8 total stops per game. He also has two interceptions and four pass break-ups.
  • Senior ILB Nate Conner (20 solo, 34 assists) and senior outside linebacker Lawrence Austin (21 solo, 27 assists) are second and third behind McPhee with 54 and 48 tackles, respectively.
  • Freshman quarterback Jack Wurzer has completed 57.3 percent (102-178) of his pass attempts for 1,707 yards and 19 touchdowns with four interceptions, ranking second in the MIAA for passing yards (243.9 per game) and TDs. He lists six times in the Top-50 of NCAA statistical categories including 6th in passing yards per completion (16.74), 14th in passing efficiency (168.6), 33rd in points responsible for per game (18.0), 28th in passing TDs and 43rd passing yards per game.
  • Senior OLB Chris Adams (33 tackles) and sophomore defensive back Danny White (25) lead the Bulldogs with five pass breakups each. Adams has 193 stops (121 solo, 72 assists) in his career to go along with 25 pass breakups--second in Adrian history. 
  • Senior wide receiver Jerron McGaw leads the MIAA in receptions (47), receiving yards (960), yards per catch (20.4) and TDs (11), with NCAA Division III national rankings of 61st (5.9 receptions/game), 6th and 9th, respectively.
  • Adrian's MIAA offensive ranks are first in passing yards per completion (16.6 ypa) and second for passing yards (1,988) as well as TDs (19). It is third with 165 first downs. 
  • Records: Adrian 4-4 (2-3 MIAA), Trine 8-0 (5-0 MIAA); the host Thunder were picked to repeat in the MIAA preseason coaches' poll with seven points (7 first-place votes) while Adrian was chosen third (20 points). 

ADRIAN TWO-DEEP

ABOUT TRINE

  • The Thunder are No. 11 by American Football Coaches Association (with 755 points) and No. 14 in D3football.com (with 279).
  • All-region running back Lamar Carswell leads the MIAA with 195.8 yards rushing per game and 25 touchdowns.
  • Trine tops the conference in scoring (372 points), rushing yards (2,438), fourth-down conversions (62%, 8-13) kick return average (27.2 ypa) and punt return average (20.1 ypa).
  • The Thunder are second in total offense (3,599 yards; 449.9 ypg), passing yards per completion (16.1) and red-zone efficiency (91% touchdowns; 28-32).

LAST TIME OUT

  • In the first-ever football meeting between the schools, Adrian walloped MIAA newcomer Finlandia, 49-6, with an efficient aerial attack and a suffocating defense. The Lions have lost nine games in a row dating to 2017.

  • Junior DB Shawn Starks' 85-yard interception TD return with 43 seconds left before halftime set the Adrian record for the longest ever, breaking the previous 80-yard effort by Pat Stephenson against Olivet on Nov. 5, 2016.

  • Wurzer completed 9 of 12 pass attempts for 237 yards and three touchdowns, tying the Bulldog single-season record (Mike McGee in 2010) of 19 passing TDs.

  • McGaw led all receivers with four catches and 133 yards with a pair of TDs on a record-setting day in which he tied Justin Hemm (2009-12) for the all-time school record for TD receptions with 26. 

  • Junior Colton Randle ran for a game- and season-high 91 yards on 17 carries and he scored a TD from 18 yards out.

  • McPhee posted four tackles and eight total, followed by freshmen defensive back Tim Bryant (1 solo) and linemen Collin Lewis (2 solo, 1 blocked PAT) with five total apiece. 

LAST TIME OUT...vs Trine

  • Adrian fell in a 55-34 shootout at home on Oct. 28, 2017.

  • Stewart carried the ball 25 times for 139 yards and rushed for a touchdown.

  • McGaw led all receivers with seven receptions and 138 yards to go along with a pair of TDs.

  • Outside linebackers Austin and McPhee recorded 10 total tackles apiece. Those figures marked career highs for both student-athletes as Austin had five solos and McPhee, three. 

  • Adams made six tackles before an injury forced him to leave the contest.

UP NEXT

Adrian will have its season finale next Saturday with Senior Day against Hope College. Kickoff for Kapnick Field at Docking Stadium (capacity 3,500) is set for 1 p.m. 

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