Dragons try to keep rolling on the road against Storm

After having clinched its first winning season of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference era with last week’s win, Tiffin University will look to build on it this week against struggling Lake Erie.

While the Dragons are enjoying one of their best seasons, Lake Erie comes into this game having lost nine straight games to start the season. The Storm lost their first game of the season to Northern Michigan, 38-35.

Since then, they’ve been blown out by every opponent, losing every subsequent contest by at least 30 points.

Lake Erie also has gone through a midseason coaching change, as Mark McNellie, the first coach in program history, resigned last month; he was replaced on an interim basis by Gerald Hazzard.Despite that, Tiffin University coach Gary Goff isn’t considering the game a walk through.

“We’re approaching it as it’s the next game on our schedule,” Goff said. “It’s not about who we play, it’s about how we’re gonna play.”

Goff said what makes the Storm different is the number of formations they run on both sides of the ball.Goff compared it to going up against Malone a few years ago.

Those games against the Pioneers were difficult for the Dragons.Of course, Tiffin is much better than it was a few years ago.

“(Lake Erie) does everything on the offensive side of the ball, and everything on the defensive side of the ball,” Goff said. “They blitz a lot, they change their fronts a lot, they change their coverages a lot. So, you can’t get too wrapped up in that stuff. You have to pay attention to how we’re gonna play and how we’re gonna execute. We gotta be disciplined and we’ve got to be mission driven.”

Goff said the Dragons will need to be smart and under control.

“You can see on film that there’s been a lot of penalties called,” Goff said of Lake Erie’s games. “We can’t get involved in that. We’ve got to make sure we’re worrying about our assignment, and when the whistle blows, walk away, get lined up and play again.”

Tiffin ran the ball plenty against Northwood a week ago. Goff said that wasn’t by design; rather, it was a result of what the Timberwolves were giving TU.

“I don’t think Lake Erie is going to do that, so we’ve got to have a nice balance of run and pass,” Goff said, “but again, get our playmakers involved early.”

Goff said the goal is to get receivers Charles Holland and Jordan Nobles involved, as well as the running backs.

On defense, Goff said the Dragons have to be ready against the Storm. Even though Lake Erie hasn’t scored a good deal of points, it is able to move the ball down the field.

Lake Erie quarterback  John Banyasez leads the way  with 1,261 passing yards and seven TD passes. Running back Desmon Turner has run for more than 300 yards.

“Anytime you move the ball like that, you’ve always got a chance to score,” Goff said. “Defensively (we’ve) got to prevent them from having the big plays. Their quarterback’s dangerous; he’s a pretty good runner. He’s an effective passer. They’ve got a couple of wideouts who have some pretty good speed. They put you in a lot of conflicts. They like to spread you out, run the ball inside the tackles and then run jet sweep at you, but play-action pass off it, and do a lot of different things.

“So, defensively, we can’t fall asleep in the secondary, they’re gonna have a challenge ahead of them this weekend,” Goff said. “We’ve got to prevent the big plays, and, obviously, stop the run. If we do that, I think we’ve got a good opportunity. But if we don’t, and they make some big plays and run the football, it could be a long day for us.”

Kickoff is at 1 p.m. in Painsville.

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