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Tiffin-Northern Michigan updates

September 13, 2008 - Zach Baker

Northern Michigan at Tiffin

Pregame thoughts: It's been a rainy morning and afternoon here in Tiffin, so we'll see how that affects the Dragons' spread offense.

Northern Michigan is a dome team, so it will be interesting to see how the Wildcats adjust to he conditions.

The Wildcats are in white uniforms, green numerals, yellow pants, yellow helmets. Tiffin is a again in its green tops, white numerals, gold helmets, gold pants.

Northern Michigan's campus is a good 10 hour drive from Tiffin, and the announcers next to me say the Wildcats are going back tonight. Ouch.

First Quarter

- On a third and six, quarterback Matt Root throws to Cameron Mobley. Mobley is hit after three yards, but he staggers and maintains balence for an eight yard gain. But Root's throws on the next three plays are nearly picked off, and TU is forced to punt. Drew Douthit makes his punting debut. The snap is really low, but Douthit, a usual linebacker, handles the snap and get off a decent kick, about 44 yards.

That's the first time this season the Dragons have been kept out of the end zone on their opening possession.

Dragons will get the ball first.

- The Dragons force NMU into a third and 10, but Ben Hempel completes a 28-yard pass to Fred Wells to move the Wildcats. 11:02 remains.

- After the Wildcats move to the Dragons 35, they are faced with their second third and 10. A hold on a screen makes it third and 13. Hempel's pass is intercepted by Arthur Allen, his second of the season. Allen returns the ball to the TU 46.

- Facing a third and eight from the 49, Root's pass is tipped, setting up another Douthit punt.  Actually, Dragons look to go for it. Root backs up for what appears to be a quick kick, but the snap is over his head. Root recovers and punts for all of 2 yards. The woes continue on special teams.

-Very next play, NMU fumbles, and TU's Parris Burt recovers.

- Root completes a 14-yard pass to Greg Raspberry over the middle.TU keeps marching into Wildcats territory. Root converts a third and long to Alvin McKnight, who takes the ball to the NMU 25. Root follws that with a 13-yard slant to Mike Lento.

It should be noted that TU is going away from the spread, with Root taking the ball under center at times.

- A Root sneak sets up TU with a first down at the one. Two weeks ago, Root fumbled. This week, he takes a high snap from the shotgun and gets sacked at the 10. The snaps have been a problem for Tiffin this year. On third and 10, Root takes another high snap and throws to the left corner to Raspberry at the 1. On fourth and goal, Root bootlegs out to the right and tosses to McKnight for the score. New place kicker Dennis Kroeze (with a new number) converts the extra point, to make it 7-0.

Tiffin 7, Northern Michigan 0, 2:48.

- NMU gets good field position after a pop-up kick, but a personal foul on the Wildcats set them back to the TU 34 with a second and 25. On third and 23, Hempel finds Wells down the right sideline. Wells was covered by Chris Evans, but Evans broke off to try to know down the ball. That gives Wells the separation to go 64 yard-TD.

That's a killer, because it was third and 23. Kick is good.

Tiffin 7, Northern Michigan 7, 1:16.

- On second and six, the shotgun snap goes over Root's head. That's the second time that's happened today. Root scrambles to get the ball, and completes a five-yard pass to Trey Williams. Some of TU's best offensive plays come when everything breaks down. The first quarter ends.

End of first quarter

Tiffin 7, NMU 7

Second quarter

- Dragons pick up a first down, but on the next play, another snap goes over Root's head and he loses 18. Lento gets it all back with a reception over the middle. Another pass o Lento sets up a fourth and two. With the punting what it has been, coach Dave Walkosky goes for it from his own 48. Root scrambles for the first down.

 On a third and 22 after the penalty, Joe Maynard's snap is high again, and TU is forced to punt. Drew Douthit fakes the punt, and comes up short on a run. It's getting to the point where the Dragons seem almost afraid to punt. It's hard to blame them.

- NMU starts close to midfield with 10:47 left.  If the Dragons continue to struggle on special teams, and can't get consistent snaps, it's hard to see how they can win. 

- Dragons' defense forces a fourth and three from the 46.  The Wildcats' Mark Bossuah picks it up with a run.

- Wyatt Thames sacks Matt Blanchard, eventually setting up a third and 17. Make it fourth and 12 after a short completion. The ball's at TU's 32.  Douthit chases Blanchard all the way back to midfield and sacks him for an 18-yard loss.

-TU ball at midfield with 6:18 left.

- On a second down, Jon Hemmelgarn fumbles the ball and the Wildcats recover. (5:31).

- Hempel throws a pass over the top to Dan Elmore for a 43-yard TD pass. Kick is good.

Northern Michigan 14, Tiffin 7, 3:42 left.

-TU starts at the 33 with 3:35 left in the half. Dragins go three and out, and Douthit is set to punt. It's a great kick, back to the 17. Douthit has made two good punt in a row. (2:18).

-Wyatt Thames gets another sack. With a minute left, NMU has a third and six at the TU 33. NMU converts and moves into TU territory. Thames and Burt get another sack.  Apenalty on NMU effectively ends the half.

NMU 14, Tiffin 7

Halftime thoughts:

In the last few weeks, special teams has killed Tiffin. This week, it's been big plays allowed by the defense and bad shotgun snaps from Maynard to Root.

Root has 117 yards passing at the break, but the running game is non-existent for the Dragons.

Third Quarter

- Wildcats get the ball first at their 32. It takes two plays for NMU to move into Tiffin territory. But the defense and sets up an apparent punt from the Dragons' 40. Dragons take over at the 17.

- The snaps are getting better, and Root moves the Dragons to midfield. Finally, the running game picks up, as Mobley breaks a few decent runs.On a third down, Root finds Dyshuan Edwards for a 27-yard completion. Dragons at the 10. Root throws a strike to Raspberry for the score. Raspberry made a one-handed catch. He's turning into a star. Kick by Kroeze ties it with less than eight minutes left.

-Drew Douthit sack on third down sets up a Wildcat punt. Momentum, Tiffin. Punt goes out of bounds at Dragon 40 (5:13).

-Dragons move into NMU territory on a reverse to Edwards, then the receiver catches a 20-yard pass from Root. Dragons have the ball at the Wildcat 30. Third and nine coming up. Huge play. Root loops a pass to Williams at the NMU 17 for the first down.Root moves under center, and just misses Lento in the left corner of the end zone on first down. He had it go off his fingertips. Root finds Edwards on the next play. It's third and one from the seven. Timeout Dragons (2:08).

Hemmelgarn reception puts the ball at the four. Two incompletions set up third down. Mobley gets three yards to the one. Fourth down. Root in the shotgun, fires to Edwards for the TD (:36). Big extra point by Kroeze is good.

Tiffin 21, Northern Michigan 14, :36.

-Special teams has been much better. NMU starts at 21. TU's rushing defense has also stepped up.

End of third quarter.

Tiffin 21, Northern Michigan 14.

Fourth quarter

-Third and 15 for NMU from the 16. Pass is incomplete, and the Wildcats have to punt again. That's three possessions, three punts for NMU in the second half. Punt is shanked and travels just 19 yards. Dragons take over at the 35.

-Mobley runs 13 to the NMU 21. Third and long from the 20. The pass is incomplete, but a pass interference flag is dropped, then picked up. Fourth and eight. Root's pass to Raspberry is incomplete, and the Wildcats take over. (12:27).

- NMU faces a third and 13 from the 30. A shovel pass to the fullback comes up short, and the Wildcats punt again. Edwards returns the kick to the Dragons 22 A blocking penalty moves the ball to the 12. (10:32)

- Third and six from the 15. Throw is incomplete, but NMU is called for roughing the passer. First down at the 32. (9:02)

Lento catches a tipped pass at midfield. If nothing else, the field position has changed. That personal foul was huge.  Third and three from the 43. Lento drops a third-down pass. TU is forced to punt. (6:55)  The punt goes for a touchback.

- Third and one at 29 with 6:19 left. An incompletion makes it a fourth and one, and Maurice Williams just gets the first down. (5:53).

- Third and four from the 36. A completion to Bossuah sets up a first down at the 46.





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