@AdrianCollegeFB Wins MIAA Opener as the (Cooper) West Sunsets on the Kzoo Comeback Bid

Cooper West kicks off in the season opener to start 2019. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)
Cooper West kicks off in the season opener to start 2019. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)

ADRIAN, Mich.--Sophomore Cooper West went 3-for-3 on field goals, including the game-winner from 18 yards with 3 seconds remaining, and Adrian rolled up 445 yards of total offense as the Bulldogs held off visiting Kalamazoo, 30-27, in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association opener for both schools.

= Final Score: Adrian College 30, Kalamazoo College 27

= Location: Kapnick Field at Docking Stadium; Weather: Partly Cloudy, 61 degrees, Wind SE 10 mph

= Records: Adrian Bulldogs 2-2 overall, 1-0 MIAA; Kalamazoo Hornets 1-3 overall, 0-1 MIAA

TOP DAWGS
= Senior Colton Randle ran the ball 19 times for a game-high 84 yards and a touchdown.

= Junior wide receiver Henry Wilson led all receivers with 104 yards on just four receptions.

= On defense, freshman linebacker Dwight Mann made six tackles for eight total, followed by freshman linebacker Blake Masterman (4 solo), and sophomore defensive backs Brandon Kwiatkowski (3 solo), Steven Moses (4 solo) with five total stops each. 

= Sophomore quarterback Jack Wurzer was 24-for-37 for 301 yards passing with a TD and two interceptions.

= Senior Joe Cleary and sophomore Clarence Madison chipped in with seven catches apiece for 90 and 39 yards, respectively. 

THE OPPOSITION
= Anthony Giovanni rushed for 71 yards on nine attempts and a TD.

= Sam Matthews had three catches for 51 yards and a TD.

= Taylor Jackson had five tackles among nine total, plus an interception. Josh Martin added five solo stops and eight total tackles.

= Bubba Wilson had a 45-yard rush and 53-yard reception.

HOW IT HAPPENED
= Kalamazoo tied the contest 27-all with a 32-yard field goal by Greg Kearns with 8 minutes and 16 seconds left, capitalizing on an interception by Jake Sypniewski to the AC 22.

= Adrian started its game-winning drive on its own 28 and 1:38 left to work with on the game clock. Wilson hauled in a 67-yard pass from Wurzer to the Hornets 5 to help set up West's field goal, which capped a six-play, 71-yard drive in just 1:35.

= In the third quarter, Adrian built a 24-10 lead on the strength of a West 30-yard field goal at the 9:24 mark. He booted another field goal--20 yards--with 11:08 to go in the fourth that made the score 27-17.

= Adrian, which never trailed, also won statistical areas in first downs (25-16), total yards (445-392), passing yards (301-136) and time of possession (35:25 to 24:35).

= On their first possession, the Bulldogs got on the scoreboard first with a long drive that took 14 plays over 67 yards in 6:45 and was capped by a 1-yard TD plunge by Randle at 6:28 in the first quarter.

= In the second quarter, Kalamazoo took advantage of field position to get its first score of the day after an Adrian punt was credited for just one yard after an illegal touching penalty. The Hornets started at the AC 27 and three plays later Giovanni went up the middle into the end zone with 9:57 left.

= The tables turned for Adrian's next score as the Hornets had only a 16-yard punt to set up the Bulldogs at the KC 33. Six plays later, freshman RB Jerome Neal had a 3-yard TD run to put Adrian up 14-7 with 1:35 left.

= Kearns made 28-yard field on the Hornets' next possession to make the score 14-10 in favor of the hosts.

= But Adrian closed the first half with an answer of its own. Wurzer and Company engineered a 6-play, 68-yard drive in only 45 seconds that culminated with a Wurzer-to-Madison 14-yard TD pass play to make it 21-10 at halftime.

= Kalamazoo sandwiched touchdowns around West's second field goal of the day to close within 27-24 with 10:17 left in the fourth quarter. Jared Pittman scored a 3-yard TD run at the 2:09 mark in the third and then Niko Nickson threw a 42-yard TD pass to Matthews.

BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
= Adrian stretches its advantage in the all-time series against Kzoo, 44-36-1. The Bulldogs are now 19-19 at home against the Hornets. The teams have met since the 1909 season.

= Last season's meeting, won 31-30 by Kzoo, also was decided with under a minute left.

= Adrian has won back-to-back games decided by three points or less for the first time since 2012, when the Bulldogs prevailed 20-19 in overtime at Albion and at Huntingdon College, 17-16. Last week, Adrian defeated Wisconsin Lutheran in double overtime, 32-29.

UP NEXT
= Adrian travels to MIAA foe Olivet for a 2 p.m. kickoff next Saturday. 

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