ADRIAN, Mich. - The defense set the tone early with a touchdown and then the offense and special teams continued the scoring in a first quarter which saw Adrian jump ahead 21-0 before finishing off visiting Olivet College by the final score of 56-18 on Saturday night (Oct. 8).
Junior Joe Makowski got Adrian on the board on the second possession of the game for Olivet's offense. The Comets had a second-and-two on their own 35-yard line when quarterback Daniel Bolster was picked off by Makowski who returned it 38 yards for a score with 6:03 left in the first quarter.
Olivet drove into Adrian territory on their next drive to the Adrian 35-yard line but could not convert on fourth-and-15 and the Bulldogs took over on downs. Adrian opened up their passing attack on third-and-four with a nine-yard completion to Mitch Gabriele to the midfield stripe and then Brandon Miller found Justin Hemm for a 50-yard touchdown bomb hitting Hemm in stride with a defender on his back in the end zone for a 14-0 lead with 1:05 left in the opening quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, James Williams took the ball towards the visiting sideline and was hit by Ryan Hall seeing action in his first game of the season. Hall spun Williams around and Shuan Hladki scooped up the ball and ran nine yards for a touchdown to make it 21-0 with 54 seconds left in the first quarter.
Adrian rushed for 51 yards on 13 carries in the first quarter and were 2-of-2 passing for 59 yards. Olivet gained 34 total yards with 20 passing and 14 on the ground. Bolster found Jon Beach in the end zone for a nine-yard touchdown strike to begin the second quarter capping off a 10-play, 75-yard drive which proved to be the Comets' best of the game. Blake Iobe missed the extra point to make the score 21-6.
Adrian took possession with 8:18 left in the second quarter and marched 65 yards in eight plays with the drive capped off with a 12-yard touchdown run by Danny Cobb. Logan Mitseff's extra point gave Adrian a 28-6 lead with 3:48 left until halftime. Olivet was forced to punt on their next drive and a 10-yard punt gave AC the ball at their own 42-yard line with 39 seconds to go. Adrian converted one first down and then on the last play of the half, Miller connected with Isiah Cross on a 47-yard touchdown to give AC a 35-6 lead at the break.
Adrian outgained Olivet, 258-129, in the first half and carried the ball 24 times for 145 yards. Olivet was 2-of-7 on third down and 1-of-3 on fourth down in the first 30 minutes. The third quarter started with a Miller interception deep in Olivet territory at the 11-yard line. After a three-and-out from Adrian's defense, the Bulldogs took over at the OC 40-yard line and used seven plays before getting into the end zone as Damon Brown rushed for five yards to push the lead to 42-6 with 7:11 left in the third quarter.
Olivet drove 68 yards in 11 plays on their next drive and Bolster threw his second touchdown of the game with this one going to Austin Khoshneg for four yards with 52 seconds left in the third. The Comets missed on their two-point conversion to put the score at 42-12. Brown fumbled on Adrian's next drive and Olivet took over at the AC 30-yard line.
The fourth quarter began and Olivet's fate was sealed as Williams fumbled at the AC 20-yard line on second-and-five and Keman Jacobs scooped up the ball and rumbled 80 yards for Adrian's second defensive touchdown of the game with 13:28 left in the game. Mitseff's point after made it 49-12 in favor of the Bulldogs.
Olivet's third touchdown was another lengthy drive which went 10 plays and covered 72 yards in 5:23. Bolster threw his third touchdown to Williams for 17 yards after a missed tackle on third-and-eight. Bolster's two-point conversion pass was incomplete and Adrian led 49-18 with 8:02 remaining. On the next offensive play for Adrian, Miller tossed a 57-yard score to Hladki to complete the scoring at 56-18 with 7:49 left in the contest.
The 22nd-ranked Bulldogs gained 405 yards on offense while Olivet gained 278. The ground game was the biggest difference as Adrian rushed for 235 compared to 83 for the Comets. Adrian threw the ball just 10 times all night as Miller finished with five completions for 170 yards and three scores. Adrian had to punt just once while Olivet averaged just 28 yards on four punts. Hunter Juntunen led Adrian's defense with 12 tackles and also forced a fumble. A.J. Gill filled in as a starter at inside linebacker and finished with nine tackles. Jacobs finished with five tackles and three pass breakups to compliment his fumble return for a score. The Bulldogs have a off week before traveling to Kalamazoo College on Saturday, Oct. 22. The game will be played at Western Michigan University's Waldo Stadium with kickoff set for 1:00 PM.