Football Travels to Aurora University for MIAA-NACC Challenge

Pictured left to right, Emmanuel Stewart, Jack Wurzer and Dammian Booker. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)
Pictured left to right, Emmanuel Stewart, Jack Wurzer and Dammian Booker. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)

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ADRIAN, Mich.--The Adrian College football team travels to Aurora, Ill., to square off against host Aurora University in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association-Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Challenge. Kickoff in Spartan Athletic Park is scheduled for 2 p.m. Eastern (1 p.m. Central). Here's a preview of the contest: 

TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • This marks the first meeting ever between the schools in Football. The institutions are members of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (men's and women's) and have competed against each other in men's/women's lacrosse, men's soccer, women's basketball, women's volleyball and softball among other sports.
  • Jim Deere '89 is 53-31 record (.634) in his ninth season as the Adrian head coach. He has piloted the Bulldogs to MIAA championships in 2012 and 14, and NCAA tournament bids in those seasons. 
  • Senior running back Emmanuel Stewart ranks second among ACTIVE NCAA Division III career leaders at 4,018 yards and third in all NCAA Divisions. No. 1 is Le'Anthony Reasnover (4133) from Eureka College. The first Bulldog to surpass the 4,000-yard milestone, Stewart currently ranks fourth in the MIAA with 81.0 rushing yards per game. He also is second among active Division III career leaders with 4,638 all-purpose yards.      
  • The Bulldogs' defensive unit is paced by senior inside linebacker Tim McPhee who has twice surpassed his career high in total tackles in back-to-back games: 11 at Ohio Northern and 13 versus Buffalo State. He leads the MIAA in average (12.0 TPG).
  • Junior ILB Brandon Moody is second with 7.5 tackles per game while senior outside linebacker Lawrence Austin (13 total) and junior defensive back Shawn Starks (13 total) trail only McPhee's seven solo tackles with six apiece.
  • Freshman quarterback Jack Wurzer had an impressive collegiate debut as a first-time starter last week, completing 17 of 20 passes for 309 yards and a school-record six touchdowns (against NO interceptions).
  • Senior wide receiver Jerron McGaw becomes the second Bulldog ever to amass 2,000 receiving yards in a career after totaling 256 on 13 receptions--both career- and game-highs--versus Buffalo State last week. With 2,249 yards, he lists second behind Justin Hemm (195-3024, 2009-12) on the all-time chart, and third with career receptions at 142. Ahead of McGaw are Hemm with 195 and Mitch Gabriele with 146 (1705 yards) catches from 2009-12.   
  • Freshman placekicker Cooper West is perfect so far on the young season with a 29-yard field goal and 10 extra-points.
  • Adrian's red-zone offense is very efficient leading the MIAA in scores (100 percent, 1st; 7-7, 3rd) and TDs (86.7 percent, 1st; 6-7, 5th). The Bulldogs are also first with 16.9 yards per completion.
  • Records: Adrian 1-1 (0-0 MIAA), Aurora 0-2 (0-0 NACC); the host Spartans were 5-5 overall and 4-2 in the NACC during the 2017 campaign.

ADRIAN TWO-DEEP

ABOUT AURORA

  • The Spartans come off a 21-20 loss to Elmhurst College in week 2. The contest is the second contest for AU at Spartan Stadium.
  • AU is averaging 93.0 yards on the ground and 182.5 yards through the air per game.
  • Connor Olson is averaging 103.0 yards per game and 4.7 yards per carry with three total touchdowns.
  • Signal-caller Gavin Zimbelman is throwing for 182.5 yards per game with one touchdown.
  • Cole Sinn has 21 total tackles and three tackles for a loss, and Casey Dycus has recorded 12 total tackles with one interception. 
  • Rick Ponx has been the head coach of the Spartans since December of 2013. He is 15-27 at the school and Aurora won a conference title during his third season at the helm.

LAST TIME OUT

  • Adrian whipped nationally-regarded Buffalo State (7 NCAA tournament appearances), 56-27, in the Bulldogs' home opener behind record-setting days by Wurzer and McGaw. That duo combined for five TD scores through the air.
  • The 'Dawgs enjoyed statistical advantages in third-down efficiency, total yards (447-354), rushing yards (138-77) and total return yards (150-95).
  • The Bulldogs' 56 points are their most in a home opener since 2005 during a 61-14 romping of Heidelberg. The 83 points were the most in the Buff State series and Adrian also set a series record with 56 points.
  • Austin joined McPhee with double-digit tackles at 11 total, including six solo for game-high honors. Both defenders also had an interception and pass break-up.
  • Adrian jumped out to a 28-0 lead through late in the second quarter and never looked back. In the second half, the offense scored TDs on four of five meaningful possessions.

WHAT'S NEXT

Adrian is idle on Sep. 22 before making its MIAA opener on Saturday, Sep. 29, at Kalamazoo.

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