Tiffin still has outside shot to extend season

The chance, however slight, still exists.If Tiffin University can beat visiting Northern Michigan this afternoon, it not only will finish with an 8-3 record, it will still have a shot –it will need plenty of help — to reach the Division II playoffs.

“Everybody’s focused, very excited,” Tiffin coach Gary Goff said. “There’s an outside chance, if a lot of things happen, to extend the season. So far they’ve been very focused and energetic.”

It’s also the final regular season game for the Dragons’ star quarterback Antonio Pipkin. Pipkin has been Goff’s quarterback since his freshman season, and each year, he’s piled up numbers, throwing for more than 10,000 yards while completing 83 touchdown passes.

“Antonio’s had a great career here,” Goff said. “We’re confident he’s gonna have a lot more years ahead of him playing this sport.”

There are other seniors possibly playing their final game, including running back Jerry Brown and offensive linemen Max Pollom.

“They were the cornerstone of changing this program and changing this culture,” Goff said of the seniors.

But for all that goes on today at Frost-Kalnow Stadium, the Dragons can’t afford to overlook the Wildcats.

Northern Michigan comes to Tiffin at 3-7. It is averaging more than 33 points a game, but gives up more than 32. And it has lost five straight.

“They do have a high-powered offense, they put a lot of points on the board,” Goff said. “It’s hard to figure out why they’re not winning more games.”

The Wildcats have come close to winning more. Just last week they fell, in overtime, to Michigan Tech, 51-45. “You watch them play and (they) play really hard, as everyone in this conference does,” he said. The Wildcats offense is led by Shaye Brown, who is Northern Michigan’s all-time leading passer, and by running back Jake Mayon, who has gone for more than 1,000 yards this season on the ground.

Northern Michigan not only will be facing a tough Tiffin squad but also has to endure a long bus ride to northwest Ohio.

The trip is roughly 544 miles.

“It’s a challenging trip,” said Goff, who went to play at Northern Michigan in his first season, 2011. “But we expect them to come in and play their best game of the season.”

Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m.