TU aiming to jump start rivalry
There are plenty of reasons for there to be a rivalry between Tiffin University and Findlay’s football programs.
And there’s one reason – one big reason – why there isn’t.
TU and the Oilers each play in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The campuses are separated by about a half hour drive. The two schools have had competitive series in other sports.
But here’s why there’s no rivalry right now between the Oilers and Dragons in football.
That’s the Oilers’ record against TU all-time, dating back to the program’s first meeting in 1986.
Tiffin coach Gary Goff has only been around for two of those meetings, but he’s aware of the history, and what must be done to add spice to the yearly game between the northwest Ohio foes.
“We’re still approaching this game like any other,” Goff said Thursday. “It means a lot to us, obviously, because they’re right in our backyard. We recruit against them, we see them every time we’re out. But we’ve got to prepare for this game just like all the rest. We’re more concerned about Tiffin University right now and how we’re gonna handle the game and how we’re gonna execute what we’re doing more than our opponent.”
Goff said the players are aware today’s game is big, however.
“They know the importance of this,” he said. “We’ve talked about it, that it’s not much of a rivalry. Our University is 1-20 against them, and I think the only win (for the Dragons) was in 1993 – 20 years ago. In a lot of aspects, we’ve got to make it a rivalry. And the only way to do that is to start winning some games against them.”
Goff hopes that starts today, but he knows it won’t be easy. The Oilers come in 3-2, 1-2 in league games, but they have a high-powered offense paced by one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in all of Division II – Verlon Reed.
The transfer from Ohio State can do it all. He’s already passed for more than 1,400 yards and thrown seven touchdowns. He’s also run for 288 yards and been sacked only four times in five games.
“Verlon Reed, they might have wanted to get rid of him at Ohio State because he might push Braxton Miller for his job,” Goff said. “The young man’s very talented. He’s a dual-threat athlete right there.”
And as good as Reed is, he’s not a one-man show.
DaiQuone Ford is second in the GLIAC in rushing, and Lloyd Henry is third in receiving.
But as dynamic as the Oilers are on offense, they can be scored upon: Opponents are averaging a little less than 30 points a game.
The Dragons will try to keep the momentum of last week’s 34-point output going, and it starts with the freshman QB making his third start – Antonio Pipkin.
“Pipkin is getting better with every rep, every game situation,” Goff said. “Really, the last three games, going back to that second half against Grand Valley, offensively we’ve been able to sustain some really long drives the last three weeks. Last week we did a good job in the red zone, and finishing drives. Hopefully that carries on to this week.”
Kickoff is at 1:30 at Frost-Kalnow Stadium.