The Hillsdale College football team fell to the Tiffin University Dragons 28 – 7 on Saturday, April 3 at the Frank “Muddy” Waters Stadium.
Tiffin quarterback Nick Watson, the 2019 G‑MAC Offensive Player of the Year, passed for 371 yards with two touchdowns and one rushing touchdown.
Broken tackles doomed the Chargers defense, with Watson breaking two straight sacks to put Tiffin in position to score a field goal at the end of the half, which their kicker David Orlando missed.
“Watson was really good,” head coach Keith Otterbein said. “I think it would’ve been a different game if we could tackle him when we first hit him.”
The Chargers defense could not take advantage of the favorable field position from punter Jack Shannon. Tiffin executed two possessions that started within its own ten, one of which ended in a nine play, 92 yard drive with a touchdown to halfback Devin Nelson.
“I thought we played hard,” Otterbein said. “We did some things well, but we weren’t consistent on the fundamentals. We always say, do ordinary things extraordinarily.”
Sophomore quarterback Luke Keller went 16 – 26 with 110 yards and two interceptions.
After a Keller interception, the Chargers defense forced a fumble with defensive back Joe Schneider knocking the ball loose and defensive back Michael Valdez falling on the ball to give the Chargers offense another chance.
At the start of the second half, Keller rushed for a 22-yard touchdown to bring the Chargers within one touchdown.
“The takeaway from last weekend is that as an offense we have to put ourselves in better positions to succeed,” Keller said. “Too often we were in third-and-long and playing from behind. We have to come out aggressive early and get the offense rolling.”
Redshirt freshman Caden Goggins suffered a knee injury during the game.
“With the normal football injuries, plus COVID-19, we’ve just been trying to coach the guys who are able to show up and play,” Otterbein said.
Junior defensive back Zach Herzog led the way for the Chargers defense with 11 tackles, and sophomore linebacker Kyle Kudla notched a sack and eight tackles, with junior defensive lineman Kyle Parran adding another sack with four tackles.
Otterbein said the key to winning is putting points on the board and controlling the line of scrimmage.
“We need to take care of the ball and get the ball back,” Otterbein said. “We had some good field position on Saturday that we couldn’t capitalize on, so we need to take advantage of those situations.”
The Chargers will play Walsh University Saturday, April 10 at 1 p.m.
Although Hillsdale struggled this past weekend, they are excited to get back on the field and compete against Walsh.
“We have a great offense,” said Keller.” “If we do our jobs I know we can be successful against any defense.”