TU runs record to 6-0 with 38-21 Homecoming win over Malone

A.J. Wright and the Dragons enjoyed a big 38-21 Homecoming win over Malone.
A.J. Wright and the Dragons enjoyed a big 38-21 Homecoming win over Malone.

Not even an hour lightning delay could dampen Tiffin University's offense in a dominant 38-21 win Malone in the annual Homecoming game.

The Dragons (6-0, 3-0 G-MAC) used an overwhelming first half attack to outpace the Pioneers, and set season bests in total offense (509), team rushing (249 yards), and time of possession (38:30). Along the way, Charles Holland set a new TU career receptions record with his 9 catches, breaking Marcus Beaurem's mark of 226 with his effort. He now has 233 career receptions and counting.

Malone opened the game in stunning fashion, as Ashton Dulin returned the opening kickoff 99 yards to put Malone ahead 7-0.

Then TU slammed the door.

For the rest of the first half, the Dragons defense allowed just 36 total yards of offense along with 4 first downs. The offense went into overdrive, totaling 290 yards in the first 30 minutes with a balanced rushing and passing attack. Kyle Brunson racked up 93 yards on the ground in the first half, while Nick Watson connected on 12 of 15 passes for 159 yards.

Tiffin tied the score at the 6:03 mark of the first quarter, when Holland hauled in a 33 yard pass from Watson to cap an 8 play, 75 yard drive.

After a three and out by Malone, TU got more points on the board. Tylan Rice banged it in from 2 yards out with 1:06 left in the first quarter to make it 14-7. 

The Dragons continued to pound the Pioneers, taking their next possession and efficiently marching 80 yards in 8 plays before Brunson hauled in a 22 yard pass from Watson to push TU's lead to 21-7 at the 7:41 mark of the second quarter.

The Dragons made it four consecutive scores when they took over possession with 5:14 remaining in the half and drove 66 yards, with Brunson rushing in for another score with just 36 seconds remaining in the half. TU led 28-7 at the half.

TU picked up in the second half right where they left off, using a big 31 yard completion to Gavin Woods to continue a drive that ended with a 1 yard run from Marquette Dixon at the 8:41 mark and gave TU a commanding 35-7 lead. Malone answered quickly on a big 55 yard TD run to bring Malone to within 35-14 but the crack of lightning stalled the game for over an hour as both teams retired to their locker rooms.

After the break, the Dragons got a 25 yard field goal from AJ Nickoli to up their lead to 38-14. Malone hit another big play on a 67 yard pass completion to Dulin midway through the fourth quarter, but they could muster no more offense, as the Dragons ate up 6:30 of clock on their final two possessions and put the game away.

The Dragons ran 80 plays to Malone's 54, outgaining them 509-302. They averaged 5.5 yards per rush and had 26 first downs to Malone's 14.

After Brunson got 93 yards in the first half, it was the Tylan Rice show on the ground, as he finished with 150 yards. Rice (6.5 yards per rush) and Brunson (7.2) controlled the ground game.

Watson finished with 260 yards passing on 23 of 35 passing with 2 touchdowns and one interception. Holland had 9 catches for 94 yards, while Tyler Denton also had 41 yards receiving. Eight different Dragons had receptions.

The-Moor Kelly led the team with 6 tackles, while Daigien Morgan had 5 tackles. Kevin Hyde had 4 tackles (2 for loss) with a forced fumble, while Alex Melfe also had 4 stops. Avion Boyd had a sack, while Ross Moore also had an interception.