Dragons return home for Northern Michigan

Daijohn Isbell and the Dragons prepare for Northern Michigan on Military Appreciation Day.
Daijohn Isbell and the Dragons prepare for Northern Michigan on Military Appreciation Day.

Tiffin University will take on Northern Michigan in a return home on Military Appreciation Day Saturday, Oct. 14. Kickoff is 1 pm at Frost Kalnow Stadium.

THE SERIES: Tiffin trails the Wildcats 3-2 in the overall series. However, TU has played NMU only once since 2011. The Dragons put together a big 56-7 victory over the Wildcats in their final game last season. The only other win for TU in the series came back in 2008 when they won 34-28 in their first year in the GLIAC.   
MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY:  Today is Veteran/Military Appreciation Day. 
The game offers free admission to all veterans and military members with proof of service. There is a Military Appreciation Tent in the lower parking lot offering free food and giveaways.
At 12:45 p.m. Posting of Colors will be done by the United Veterans of Seneca County followed by 1 p.m. kickoff. At halftime there will be special recognition of all Veterans/Military in attendance.
Northern Michigan Notes
NMU Offense
The Wildcats had a tough day at the office last Saturday, scoring only 13 points. The Wildcats enjoy running the ball, but the enjoyment turned to terror against Ashland as Northern Michigan rushed for only 91 yards on 29 carries. The pass game netted only 169 yards against the Eagles, completing 16 of 26 attempts. The Wildcats have changed their signal caller recently, turning to freshman Ryan Johnson. The youngster has completed 42 of 69 attempts for 485 yards and three touchdowns. On the ground, Jake Mayon is the leader, toting the rock 109 times for 690 yards and four touchdowns. Ryan Knight is the top pass catcher with 21 receptions for 278 yards and three touchdowns. As a unit, the offensive line has allowed nine sacks this season. Points have been hard to come by this year, sitting next to last in the GLIAC and 134th in the nation at 18.8 points per game. Converting 3rd downs haven't been the easiest thing for the Wildcats, being successful on 26.7% of their chances. That percentage is 153rd in the nation and next to last in the GLIAC. 
NMU Defense
This unit has been one of the worst in the GLIAC and nationally rank near the bottom, especially when opponents put the ball in the air. Against Ashland, the Wildcats surrendered 528 yards of total offense with 295 coming in the air. Of the 168 NCAA Division II football teams, the Wildcats are 160th in passing yards allowed, surrendering 282 yards per game. The rush defense hasn't fared much better, allowing opponents to rumble for 201 yards per game. Of the 24 offensive touchdowns scored against the Wildcats, 13 have come on the ground as ball carriers are averaging 5.1 yards per carry. As a whole the defense is allowing 492 yards per game, last in the GLIAC and 157th in the nation. The Wildcats are last in total defense, rushing defense, and passing defense in the GLIAC. Senior linebacker Darryl Williams is the leading tackler with 50. Cole Van Enkenvort leads the Wildcats in sacks with three and tackles for loss with 3.5.
NMU Special Teams
The Wildcats punter John Kwiecinski is one of the best in the business with a 42.4 average per attempt. He leads the GLIAC in punting average and is 14th in the nation. His longest punt this year traveled 65 yards, and he's downed eight punts inside the 20 yard line. The Wildcats kicking game has been a struggle, nailing down only 4 of 8 attempts. Hitting from distance has been an even bigger issue with the season long field goal being from only 22 yards. Dalton Ray, a freshman, has been perfect on extra points going 10 for 10. 
Tiffin notes
Tiffin Offense
The Dragons went toe-to-toe with one of the nation's finest defenses last weekend, and were able to only put three points on the board. A costly penalty cost Tiffin a touchdown and a missed field goal didn't help either. The Dragons are averaging 382.2 yards per game, with 172.3 yards on the ground and 208.8 in the air. Nick Watson has completed 57.1% of his passes for 1,239 yards and seven touchdowns. Watson threw one interception last weekend, giving him four on the year. The leading ground gainer for Tiffin is the always reliable JaQuan Hardy. The bruising back has carried the ball for 629 yards, ranking 25th in the nation. Hardy has scored four rushing touchdowns this year and is averaging 6.1 yards per carry. The receivers are led by Tony Shead with 19 receptions for 263 yards. With his 76 yards against the Bulldogs on Saturday, Tony eclipsed 2,000 career receiving yards. Tyler Denton is another ball catcher for Tiffin, reeling in 15 catches for 253 yards. The Tiffin offensive line faced the best defensive line in the GLIAC last weekend, allowing three sacks. As a unit, Tiffin struggled to convert on 3rd down against Ferris State, converting only 5 of 18 attempts. 
Tiffin Defense
The Dragons were magnificent on the road against Ferris State, holding the high powered Bulldogs to three 1st half points. In total, Tiffin held the Bulldogs to only 13 points, their second lowest output on the year. Ferris State's ground game was stuffed against Tiffin, as the Dragons held the Bulldogs 131 yards under their season average. Tiffin held a Ferris State offense that had been averaging 502 yards of total offense to 376 yards on 80 offensive plays. Daijohn Isbell had a career day for Tiffin, piling up 18 total tackles with 11 being of the solo variety. Nationally, Tiffin still ranks among the best on the defensive end, sitting 4th in 3rd down defense, 20th in 1st down defense, 8th in pass defense, 24th in red zone defense, 25th in scoring defense, and 13th in total defense. Brandon Burks and Carrington Contee are the top tacklers for Tiffin, totaling 50 and 46 respectively. Burks also leads Tiffin in tackles for loss and sacks.
Tiffin Special Teams
The Dragons had their ups and downs against Ferris State. The up: Harry McCollum. Averaging 38.3 yards per punt, McCollum downed a pair of his punts inside the 20 yard line. Joe Metcalf saw his good day slip away late in the contest. After hitting a 1st quarter field goal from 22 yards, Metcalf pushed his 4th quarter field goa wide right. The miss was costly, as Tiffin would have pulled to within a touchdown. On the season, McCollum is averaging 38 yards per punt, and Metcalf is 9 for 13 on field goal attempts this season.
Tiffin Football Record Countdown
Tiffin University Career Top 10
Receptions – 190 – T3rd all-time – needs 37 to be the all-time leader
Yards – 2627 – 2nd all-time
Touchdowns – 30 – 2nd all-time
Scoring – 30 - touchdowns 5th all-time
Points – 180 – 8th all-time
Most 100-yard receiving games – 10 – 2nd all-time
Most 200-yard receiving games – 3 – 2nd all-time
GLIAC Career Records within reach
Receiving Yards – 2239 – Needs 453 to move into 10th all-time
Tony Shead
Receptions – 181 – 5th
Yards – 2073 – 5th 
Receiving Touchdowns – 12 – T10th 
Kickoff Returns – 56 – 4th
Kickoff Return Yards – 1260 – 5th
All Purpose Yards – 3429 – 7th