After a home loss against the Lake Erie Storm, the Hillsdale College Chargers pulled off an unlikely road win against the conference-leading University of Findlay Oilers, propelling them back into a tie for first place.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Garrit Aissen and redshirt freshman wide receiver Isaac TeSlaa both had career games against Findlay. Aissen passed for 382 yards and four touchdowns along with one rushing touchdown, and TeSlaa finished with 193 yards and three touchdowns.
Aissen’s passing yardage was the most by a Hillsdale quarterback since All-American Chance Stewart threw for 485 yards in 2018; it’s also good for seventh most in program history.
TeSlaa’s yardage was the most by a Hillsdale wide receiver since All-American Trey Brock had 302 yards, also in 2018. His game was the best out of any GMAC receiver this season, netting TeSlaa the GMAC Offensive Player of the Week Award, the first of his career, and his 193 yards are tied for eighth most in Hillsdale’s history.
Coach Otterbein commented on TeSlaa’s talent at wide receiver.
“He’s an impact player,” Otterbein said. “There’s a bunch of good receivers in this league, and he’s in that discussion.”
The previous week, the Chargers struggled against Lake Erie, falling 33 – 14. After the first quarter, Hillsdale led 14 – 6, but Lake Erie came roaring back, holding the Chargers scoreless for the remainder of the game and accumulating 499 yards of total offense.
Junior defensive back Josh Peroni said the team gained experience in the loss to Lake Erie.
“I think as a team a lesson we could learn is don’t let up,” Peroni said. “Keep the same amount of intensity throughout the entire game that you brought to the first five to 10 minutes of the game. Keep that same intensity, that same energy, and that same attention to detail.”
The Chargers punted away their first possession of the game against Findlay, leading directly to a 60 yard drive and a touchdown for Findlay.
The next two scores of the game would belong to the Chargers, coming on touchdown passes to TeSlaa and senior wide receiver Alex Foos and making the score 14 – 7 with 14:09 left in the half. Findlay proceeded to kick a 42-yard field goal just before the end of the half, making the score 14 – 10 Chargers.
Findlay received the second half kickoff with a 71-yard return, but they failed to find the endzone, settling for a field goal. Aissen scored the Chargers third touchdown of the game on a 1‑yard rush, making the score 21 – 13 with 1:53 left in the third quarter.
A swift, 58-yard drive from Findlay set them up for their third field goal of the night, and on the following drive Aissen was intercepted by junior linebacker Jack Trombetti, who returned the interception 35 yards for a touchdown, making the score 22 – 21 Findlay.
The following drive ended in a 37-yard touchdown pass to TeSlaa, and after a timely interception by senior defensive back Alex Anschutz, Aissen threw 6 yards to TeSlaa for the Chargers final score of the night, ending Findlay’s hopes of a comeback victory.
Findlay entered the matchup undefeated in the conference, and is now in a four-way tie with the Chargers, Tiffin University, and Ohio Dominican University for first place in the conference. Hillsdale now has four wins and four losses on the year, with a conference record of 3 – 1.
TeSlaa said the team knew they had to perform well after their loss to Lake Erie.
“We knew we had to get a win, especially with our loss to Lake Erie,” TeSlaa said. “We knew to get a shot at winning the GMAC we would have to go down to Findlay and get a win, and that’s what we did.”
The Chargers have three regular season games left, with the next one coming this Saturday Oct. 30 at Ashland University. Ashland has a 3 – 4 record on the year, with two conference wins and two conference losses.
Otterbein said the team has to focus on fundamentals against Ashland.
“We’ve got to do the ordinary things at an extraordinary level,” Otterbein said. “You got to go out and you got to play a football game, and you’ve got to play it one snap at a time.”