Huge test for TU?at?No. 8 Grand Valley?State

Yeah, Tiffin coach Gary Goff knows this one is going to be tough.

Of course, it always is.

It likely always will be.

It’s a date on the schedule that’s enough to make any coach – or fan, for that matter – cringe.

The Grand Valley State game.

For years, the Lakers have been one of the class programs in Division II. It looks to be the same this season, as GVSU has started 2-0, scoring wins over Truman State and Azusa Pacific.

And, as usual, the Lakers have recognition. They are the No. 8 team in Division II according to D2football(dot)com.

Oh, and TU gets GVSU on the road.

“We’re definitely going to have to overcome the atmosphere,” Goff said. “I’ve been told it’s a sellout crowd, and this is their third straight home game out of seven, so they’re gonna be cranked up and ready to play at home.

“We’ve just got to go and play the football game. We can’t get wrapped up in their 10,000 fans or the fireworks.”

GVSU fans are used to fireworks.

The Lakers have two running backs – Chris Robinson and Michael Ratay – who are averaging better than 85 yards a game. Brandan Green is a big-play receiver, averaging more than 37.5 yards a reception and 223 receiving yards already this season.

“They run enough zone, and they playaction a lot off of it,” Goff said of the GVSU offense. “They’re good. They’re a good program. The not ranked for no reason, obviously.”

Goff said that on defense, the Lakers have altered their scheme, moving to a four-down lineman look.

“They went out and got some junior college defensive linemen that are some good players,” Goff said. “They have a lot of weapons on both sides of the ball.”

Goff said he wants his team to execute and not give the Lakers any “easy” scores. In order to accomplish that, the Dragons likely will need to sustain drives, and that means moving the chains.

Goff said that was a point of emphasis for his squad, which is understandable considering the Dragons went 2 of 16 on third down conversions in last week’s loss to Michigan Tech.

“We were horrible last week on third downs,” Goff said. “We had seven dropped balls. We can’t have that.

“We’ve got to focus in on the offensive side and do our jobs,” Goff said.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.