September 24, 2011

Bulldogs Start 4-0 with a 19-17 Homecoming Win over Concordia Chicago

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ADRIAN, Mich. – For the second straight week, the Adrian College football team picked up a closely contested victory as the Bulldogs improved to 4-0 with a 19-17 win on homecoming against Concordia Chicago. The Bulldogs didn't need a last second field goal in their home opener, but senior Logan Mitseff did kick the game-winner with 3:27 left in the game to give Adrian a two-point win.

After three straight road games to begin the season, Adrian got the chance to play at home in their annual homecoming contest against a pesky Cougar squad that came into the game with a 1-0 record. The Bulldogs squeaked out the win despite committing three turnovers and 12 penalties for 110 yards. Concordia did not take advantage of Adrian's miscues with three turnovers on their own and 10 penalties for 84 yards.

Junior Justin Hemm got Adrian off and running just 53 seconds into the game as he hauled in a 47-yard touchdown pass from junior Brandon Miller to give AC a 7-0 advantage. Concordia Chicago answered later in the first quarter as Savonte Hunt caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from Jake Koehler to tie the game at 7-7 with 5:19 left in the opening quarter.

The Bulldogs regained the lead in the final minute of the first stanza as senior Logan Mitseff connected on a 32-yard field goal with 51 seconds to play after an 11-play, 49-yard drive. Adrian increased their lead to 16-7 with 7:17 left in the second quarter as Hemm's second touchdown catch of the afternoon covered 67 yards. Mitseff's extra point was pushed wide right to give AC a nine-point cushion.

The Cougars got within 16-14 with 1:21 left in the second quarter as Jamal Thomas made several Adrian defenders miss and went 54 yards for a score capping off a five-play, 81-yard drive. Adrian and Concordia then reached a stalemate in the second half with each team scoring just three points apiece in the fourth quarter.

Mitseff had a chance to put Adrian up by five points with 44 seconds left in the third quarter but his 22-yard field goal was blocked and Concordia Chicago took over at their own seven-yard line. The Adrian defense was particularly stout in the third quarter as they held the Cougars to minus-four yards of offense and gained 94 yards on their own.

The Bulldogs went for a fourth-and-three on the Concordia 34-yard line on their second possession of the final quarter but were stopped for a loss of five yards to setup the Cougars with decent field position. Concordia drove down the field in 14 plays and covered 53 yards before the drive stalled at the Adrian eight-yard line. Danny Colapietro kicked a 25-yard field goal which gave CUC a 17-16 lead with 6:42 left in the contest.

Adrian lifted Miller for freshman quarterback Aaron Tenney after the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds placing the ball at the 40-yard line. Tenney led Adrian down the field as he completed a 16-yard pass to Hemm on third-and-10 to move the chains. Tenney then found Mitch Gabriele for another 16-yard pitch and catch to move the ball to the Concordia 28-yard line. Tenney then hooked up again with Hemm on a 10-yard gain on third-and-12 to setup Mitseff's game-winning, 37-yard field goal.

Adrian forced a punt by the Cougars and gained possession with 2:20 left in the game. The Bulldogs kept it on the ground and forced the Cougars to burn all three of their timeouts. Concordia took the ball back with 1:55 left but on their first play it was senior Jeff Makowski who ended any comeback attempt with an interception off a tipped pass by sophomore Hunter Juntunen. The third takeaway by the Adrian defense allowed Tenney to take a knee and gave the Bulldogs their first 4-0 start since the 2007 campaign.

Adrian outgained Concordia, 459-289, and ran the ball 47 times for 192 yards (4.1 ypr). Sophomore Danny Cobb carried the ball a career-high 30 times and gained a career-high 167 yards. Miller finished 11-of-27 for 225 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Hemm had his second straight 100-yard receiving game and fifth of his career with seven catches for 155 yards. Gabriele finished with five catches for 84 yards.

The Adrian defense recorded three interceptions, two of which were made by Makowski. Juntunen led the team with nine tackles and had one pass breakup. Senior Steve Mauk had five tackles including two and a half tackles for a loss of five yards. Senior Darren Walter recorded eight tackles and two quarterback hurries.

The Bulldogs will open up conference play next Saturday at 18th-ranked Trine University who is currently 3-0 and had a bye week heading into the rivalry contest. AC will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak against the Thunder and Trine's 20-game MIAA winning streak dating back to 2007.

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