Rice breaks another big run to spur Dragons

ERIE, Pa. — Tylan Rice is making a habit of this.

Last week, the freshman tailback’s 41-yard touchdown essentially sealed a 40-27 win over Northwood.

On Saturday, Rice burned Mercyhurst, and the Dragons won again.

With the game tied with the Lakers at 17 and 12 1/2 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Dragons were driving.

A 45-yard completion from TU quarterback Nick Watson to receiver Charles Holland drove Tiffin to the Mercyhurst 35, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moved the ball back to midfield.

Facing a first-and-25, Watson gave the ball to Rice, and the RB took off, going all the way to the end zone to take a 24-17 lead.

It proved the biggest play of the day. Mercyhurst kicker Mark Shafer trimmed the Dragon lead to four by making a 22-yard field goal with 7:22 left, but Tiffin’s defense held from there.

The result was a 24-20 Dragons win. They improved to 2-0.

Mercyhurst fell to 0-2.

Rice finished with 107 yards on 17 carries, but the true star of the afternoon was Holland. He caught two first-half touchdown throws from Watson, and finished with eight catches for 153 yards. He also had two carries for 20 yards.

Watson again was solid, despite enduring four sacks. He completed 21 of 31 passes for 276 yards, and ran for another 14. He was not intercepted.

The game was tied at 7 after one quarter, and at 14 at halftime. A.J. Nikoli gave the Dragons a 17-14 third quarter lead with a 32-yard field goal, but the Lakers tied the game early in the fourth when Shafer connected on another chip shot.

While Holland had the big day, other TU receivers contributed. Victor Talley had four catches for 56 yards, and Tyler Denton had four for 37.

Delan Wynn led the Dragons defense with five tackles.

Mercyhurst has now lost two games by a combined nine points. The Lakers’ highlights came courtesy of tailback Garrett Owens, who had a 63-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and in the second caught a 15-yard scoring-strike from quarterback Doug Altavilla.

Owens finished with a game-high 111 rushing yards on 11 carries. Altavilla was 20 of 29 passing for 205 yards.