ADRIAN, Mich.— Led by Emmanuel Stewart and David Nutter, the Adrian College offense churned out a school-record 549 yards rushing en route to a 50-14 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association victory Saturday evening over visiting Alma College at Docking Stadium. Previously, Adrian rushed for 438 yards in a 66-0 win over Olivet in 1984.
Adrian, which is unbeaten at home, improves to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the MIAA. Alma falls to 2-3 on the season, 0-2 in the conference.
Stewart finished with 186 yards on just 13 carries and a pair of touchdowns and Nutter ran 14 times for 144 yards. Junior Stephen Milarch added 104 yards on 12 attempts with two TDs, and also threw for two more scores.
Alma got on the board first with a Sean McDonald 23-yard scoring pass from Dylan Zaborowski with 2 minute and 57 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Zaborowski completed 17 of 31 passes for 273 yards and two TDs, but was intercepted four times. His favorite target was Sean McDonald who led all players with seven catches and 164 yards with two TDs.
Alma got on the board first with a McDonald 23-yard scoring pass from Zaborowski with 2 minute and 57 seconds remaining in the first quarter, capping an 11-play, 80-yard in 3:23 of elapsed time.
But the Bulldogs struck quickly 2 minutes later to answer Alma on its next possession as freshman Darius Philon (108 kickoff return yards) made an over-the-left-shoulder catch for 42 yards from Milarch and into the end zone. The drive took just five plays.
Several plays later, Alma capitalized on an Adrian miscue while punting the ball away as Nick Sullivan recovered a fumble at the Bulldogs' 12. On the first play from scrimmage, Zaborowski and McDonald hooked up again to put the Scots up 14-7 at 14:02 of the second stanza.
The Bulldogs, again, responded in a quick manner (to the tune of 21 seconds) as Stewart rushed for a 66-yard touchdown off left tackle on the first play from scrimmage following Alma's kickoff. Adrian trailed 14-13 after the missed extra-point try.
The Adrian defense set up the Bulldogs next score by forcing Alma with a three-and-out, punting from its own 16. Senior linebacker Leslie Young sacked Zaborowski for nine yards back to the 10 that eventually led to the AC offense getting good field position at the Adrian 42.
Then the Bulldogs offense took control by outscoring the Scots 27-7 in the second quarter to lead 34-14 at halftime. Both Milarch and Stewart had runs of 20 yards to set up a 3-yard plunge into the end zone by the former. Adrian led for the first time at 20-14 with 9:02 to go and never looked back after that.
With 5 minutes before the half, Alma had another scoring threat that was stopped by the Bulldogs' defense. Zaborowski and McDonald connected for a 75-yard pass play to the AC 5. Adrian didn't allow the Scots another yard and the drive stalled after sophomore Jarius Garner blocked a 22-yard field goal attempt. Classmate Damon Fuller recovered the ball and returned it to his 43.
Senior Dontrell Tucker and Young spearheaded a Bulldog defense that yielded just 37 yards on the ground, recording seven tackles apiece. Garner had two of Adrian's four interceptions on the day.
Two plays later, Stewart ran for 48 yards and a 27-14 advantage with 2:51 left. Adrian closed the first-half scoring with an 11-yard touchdown strike from Milarch to sophomore Mike Ford with only 6 seconds showing on the clock.
The Bulldogs added 16 points in the second half, highlighted by an Alma safety with 12:06 to go in the game.
Brandon Moore and Zac Peterson paced the Alma defense with 12 and 10 tackles, respectively.
Adrian embarks on a three-game road swing next Saturday at MIAA opponent Albion (1 p.m.).