LISLE, Ill. – The Adrian College football team used an opportunistic defense causing seven turnovers for the first time since 1992 in a 23-6 win at Benedictine University on Saturday night (Sept. 20). The Bulldogs improved to 3-0 on the season and is the only Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association school to be undefeated this season.
The recipe was again much of the same for the Bulldogs in this 17-point win. Adrian took four fumbles and senior cornerback Ellis Ewing picked off a career-best three passes as the Bulldogs finished plus-5 in the turnover battle. Adrian held Benedictine to 241 total yards including 56 yards on the ground (1.8 ypr). The Bulldog offense gained 324 total yards with splits of 188 passing and 136 rushing yards.
The game started with senior quarterback Aaron Tenney tossing an interception on the first play of the game. The defense held firm as senior safety Charles Fleck forced a fumble and Damon Fuller recovered it at the Adrian 24-yard line. Benedictine drove deep into Adrian territory on their next possession with four first downs and set themselves up with fourth-and-four at the Adrian 12-yard line. Luke Ludolph completed a pass to Max Seibert for three yards as Mitch Osadchuk pushed him out-of-bounds shy of a first down to keep the game scoreless.
The game's first points came in the second quarter with 14:33 on the clock as Tenney threw a swing pass to Josh Delaney who raced 52 yards to the end zone for a 7-0 lead. The Eagles had an answer on their next drive as they went 75 yards in nine plays capped off by a seven-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Keener to Greg German on third-and-goal. The extra point went wide left as Adrian kept a 7-6 lead with 11:15 left until halftime.
The Bulldogs used up 4:33 off the clock and drove 54 yards before Cameron Cook booted a 23-yard field goal to make it 10-6 with 6:42 left in the first half. Keener was intercepted by Ewing on the next offensive play for the Eagles putting the ball at the BU 43-yard line. Adrian did not move the ball for a first down on their next drive as both teams traded possessions and went into the halftime with the Bulldogs up by four points.
Benedictine coughed up the ball on their first two drives to start the third quarter and after a fumble on the second drive it set up Adrian at the BU 23-yard line. On the first play of the drive, freshman Emmanuel Stewart took a pitch around left end and scampered down the sideline for a 23-yard touchdown run as Adrian built a 17-6 lead with 11:38 left in the third quarter.
Ewing's third interception of the contest occurred with 7:51 left in the third quarter and set Adrian up at the Eagle 25-yard line. Cook connected from 32 yards out after the Bulldogs moved it 10 yards and it was 20-6 with 5:54 left in the third quarter. Benedictine started the fourth quarter down by two touchdowns and attempted to get back into the game as they drove 37 yards in nine plays. However, the Eagles' drive stalled on fourth-and-five at the 16-yard line as Ludolph threw an incomplete pass as Fuller rushed the throw.
Adrian put the game away on their next drive as they converted three first downs and put the ball into field goal range. Cook made his third kick of the game from 39 yards with plenty to spare and with 8:30 left in the game it was 23-6. Benedictine's final turnover was a forced fumble by Curtis Rhoden after a catch by Siebert at the Adrian 43-yard line. Osadchuk pounced on the ball at the Adrian 41-yard line and took possession with 7:52 left in the game. The Bulldogs milked 7:07 off the clock driving 52 yards in 11 plays before a blocked field goal ended the drive at the BU seven-yard line.
Tenney finished 14-for-29 through the air totaling 188 yards. Nathan Hartline led the team with five grabs for 62 yards. Stewart carried the ball 18 times for 77 yards to lead the rushing attack. Connor Storms punted four times for an average of 42.8 yards with two inside the 20. Walker Davis led the defense with nine tackles and one fumble recovery. Fleck recorded eight tackles and one forced fumble as his teammates finished with eight tackles for a loss of 28 yards. The Bulldogs will enjoy a week off next Saturday and will be back on Saturday, Oct. 4 for homecoming. Adrian will start MIAA action at 5 p.m. against Olivet College.