New problems for TU
Tiffin University coach Gary Goff compared his team’s play to his golf game.
Considering Goff spends his Saturdays on the sidelines and not on the greens, that should tell you something.
“When you’re driving good, you can’t putt,” Goff said after the Dragons fell to Michigan Tech, 40-14 at Frost-Kalnow Stadium.
Let’s translate that metaphor:
In last week’s loss to McKendree, Tiffin’s offense put up four touchdowns, while its special teams allowed a punt and kickoff to be taken back for touchdowns.
On Saturday, TU’s Tony Shead ran back a kick 80 yards for a score, and Tiffin blocked a field goal.
But it was the Dragons’ offense which didn’t get it done.
It was, fix one problem, find another.
It was a day of interceptions, fumbles and dropped passes for the Dragons, who managed just 71 yards of offense – total – in the first half.
But despite that, TU trailed only 14-7 at the half; the Huskies scored on a Charlie Leffingwell 15-yard run, and again on a Tyler Scarlett-to-Jordan McConnell pass to the left corner of the end zone that went 16 yards.
The Dragons did manage to tie the Huskies once more, with a major assist from their defense.
With Michigan Tech at the TU 29, Leffingwell carried the ball to the 32, but the Dragons’ Bill McCague forced a fumble and teammate Carlton Watkins recovered.
“Defense, I thought, fought their hearts out,” Goff said. “I thought the defense played really, really hard.”
Tiffin cashed in the turnover when quarterback Joey Frendo converted a fourth-and-five pass to Jeremy Armstrong for 26 yards to the one. On the next play, backup QB Antonio Pipkin was inserted, and took the ball into the end zone for the tying TD.
Pipkin also played some at quarterback late in the fourth quarter.
“The kid can run and he’s got a cannon for an arm,” Goff said. “We’ll continue to work with him.”
But Michigan Tech answered on the next possession with a nine play, 75-yard drive, capped when Cole Welch plowed into the end zone from a yard out.
The Huskies then forced another punt, one of seven Seth Pekoe had Saturday.
“Our defense played very well the whole game,” Michigan Tech coach Tom Kearly said. “We attacked.”
Kearly said his squad was concerned about its tackling in space, which he thought it did well.
“Our other big goal was to try to get the quarterback under duress,” he said. “We knew we weren’t going to sack him every play, but try to rattle him.”
After throwing for more than 300 yards last week, Frendo struggled Saturday. He threw for 203 yards, but was intercepted twice, completing 20 of 38 throws. He also was sacked twice.
There were numerous drops by Frendo’s receivers.
“We didn’t click on offense like we did a week ago,” Goff said.
Meanwhile the Huskies offense, which had some issues converting early, got going.
Aided by a questionable pass interference penalty that came on a fourth down, the Huskies went up 28-14 on another Leffingwell score, this one from a yard out.
After another three and out by the Dragons offense, Michigan Tech converted on another drive, which concluded on a 19-yard Leffingwell TD jaunt.
Leffingwell finished with 192 yards rushing.
“He’s a good, hard north and south runner,” Kearly said.
The Dragons, meanwhile, managed just 32 rushing yards on 25 carries. The Dragons fumbled four times, but retained the ball on each occasion.
Michigan Tech’s final touchdown came when Jeremy Mims picked off Frendo and raced 95 yards.
Tiffin is 0-2, 0-1 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play. It was the Huskies first game.