ADRIAN, Mich. – Junior Jason Barbosa caught three touchdown passes before sophomore Damorria Lilly scored a touchdown from two yards out with 3:18 left to lift the Olivet College football team to a 28-21 win over Adrian College in its Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) opener this afternoon at Docking Stadium in Adrian.
The go-ahead score by Lilly was set-up by a fumble recovery by senior Drew Miller at the Bulldog 2-yard line with 3:20 remaining. The touchdown made the score 26-21, and junior Braden Black completed a two-point conversion pass to junior tight end Dominik Givens for a 28-21 lead. Adrian got the ball back but on a fourth and two play, junior Zachary Gropp intercepted an Aaron Tenney pass. Olivet ran out the clock with three kneel downs.
Both teams failed to score on their first two possessions of the game. After a short punt by the Bulldogs, Olivet took over at the Adrian 26-yard line. On the third play from scrimmage, Black completed an eight-yard touchdown pass to Barbosa.
The Bulldogs gained possession at midfield following a Comet punt. Adrian tied the game on a 2-yard run into the end zone by Aaron Tenney. The score stayed 7-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Olivet scored on its first series of the second quarter. Black capped the six-play, 70-yard drive with a 44-yard touchdown catch-and-run by Barbosa. After holding the Bulldogs to a three and out, the Comets got the ball back at the Adrian 39. Olivet marched down the field before a fumble at the one-yard line ended the drive. The Bulldogs were unable to score any points on the final drive of the half, and the Comets took a 14-7 lead into the locker rooms at the break.
Olivet surged ahead 20-7 on its first possession of the second half. Black ended a 12-play, 48-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Barbosa. Adrian trimmed its deficit to 20-14 on its ensuing drive with an 18-yard touchdown run by Emmanuel Stewart. Neither team was able to generate any more points in the third quarter.
The Comets were forced to punt the ball on their opening drive of the final quarter. The Bulldogs grabbed their first lead of the game at the 10:05 mark on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Tenney to Nathan Hartline. Both teams punted on their next possession.
Olivet elected to punt from the Adrian 45, and the ball went into the end zone for a touchback with 3:57 left. The Bulldogs were called for holding on first down, pushing them back 10 yards. On the next play, the ball was fumbled with Miller recovering it and setting-up the Comets' go-ahead touchdown.
For the game, Olivet piled up 317 yards of offense. The ground game had 146 yards against a team, which entered the game allowing only 109 total rushing yards in three games this season. Lilly led the way with 21 carries for 89 yards. Sophomore Christopher Jones had 11 rushes for 49 yards.
Black completed 13-of-28 passes for 174 yards and three touchdowns. Barbosa was his favorite receiver with seven catches for 105 yards. Five other receivers each caught at least one ball.
Senior Ryan Armstrong led the defense with eight total tackles, including one quarterback sack and another one for loss yardage. Five other Comets recorded four tackles apiece.
The Bulldogs were held to 246 net yards, 129 on the ground and 117 through the air. Stewart carried the ball 14 times for 57 yards, while Dae'Von Robinson had 12 rushes for 53 yards. Tenney was 12-of-33 for 117 yards with two interceptions. Hartline had seven receptions for 62 yards. Charles Fleck topped the defense with 13 tackles.
Olivet celebrates Homecoming next Saturday, Oct. 11, when Trine (Ind.) University visits the Cutler Athletic Complex for a 2 p.m. game.
NOTE: Black broke Olivet's career record for touchdown passes. He now has 31 to pass Jason Tokar, who had 29 from 1993-96.