Valiant Comeback Attempt Falls Just Short for Bulldogs Football in 44-37 Loss to NCAA Auto Bid Olivet

Valiant Comeback Attempt Falls Just Short for Bulldogs Football in 44-37 Loss to NCAA Auto Bid Olivet

ADRIAN, Mich.--Despite a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association season-high 265 receiving yards from sophomore Darius Philon, the Adrian College football team could not overcome seven turnovers in a 44-37 loss at the hands of visiting Olivet College on Senior Day.

= Final Score: Olivet College 44, Adrian College 37

= Location: Docking Stadium, Adrian, Mich.; Weather: Sunny, 59 degrees, Wind W 10 mph

= Records: Olivet Comets (8-1, 5-0 MIAA); Adrian Bulldogs (4-5 overall, 2-3 MIAA)

FOR ADRIAN
= Philon grabbed 10 receptions for a career-best 265 yards that nearly broke a school single-game record. He had two touchdown catch-and-runs of 83 and 78 yards.

= Freshman quarterback Hunter Hamm threw for 266 yards on 10-for-19 passing with two TDs and two interceptions.

= Sophomore wide receiver Jerron McGaw added seven catches for 99 yards and a TD.

= Sophomore Angus Arthur led the defense with 11 tackles and 13 total.

= Junior defensive end Jacob Clark added nine tackles (10 total, 1 sack, 3 TFL), freshman defensive back Robert Campbell also had nine solo stops, and junior defensive lineman Damon Fuller had 2-1/2 sacks (for 17 yards) among eight total tackles (6 solo).

THE OPPOSITION
Damorria Lilly rushed for three TDs (1, 21, 6) on 17 carries and 39 yards.

= Redshirt senior Braden Black completed 17 of 32 attempts for 194 yards and a TD.

Mitchell Bailey led Olivet with eight receptions for 63 yards and Kornelius Saxton had a team-best 69 yards on four catches, plus a TD.

= Javon Walker had a solid day with eight tackles (9 solo), a tackle-for-loss of 17 yards, a forced fumble, fumble recovery, a pass break-up and long TD interception return.

= The nation's top punter, Ryan Anderson, was on par with his season average with 45.4 yards on five attempts.

HOW IT HAPPENED
= Olivet was able to take advantage of a season-high seven Adrian turnovers--four interceptions and three fumbles--and turned them into 34 points, including a "pick-six" of 69 yards by Walker with 58 seconds left in the opening quarter.

= Adrian was able to erase a 30-13 halftime deficit to pull within 37-34 with 7 minutes and 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter when Philon hauled in a 78-yard catch-and-run on a TD pass from Hamm (and McGaw converted the 2-point conversion).

= The Bulldog defense stopped Olivet on its next possession before Anderson's 42-yard punt pinned Adrian on its own 2. 

= With the Comets clinging to a three-point lead after being up by 17, the defense got the ball back again for the offense after Jaquan Short got his second interception of the day. That put the ball at the home 30 and four plays later, Lilly scored his third rush TD of the afternoon to give Olivet some insurance, 44-34, with 2:20 to play.

= A 46-yard field goal by junior Cameron Cook completed an eight-play, 48-yard scoring drive in 1 minute for Adrian, cutting the deficit to just seven, 44-37.

= The Bulldogs attempted an on-side kick but the Comets were able to recover the football and run out the final 77 seconds clock to secure the win.

= Adrian was working on all cylinders in the early going, building a 13-0 lead with 7:13 remaining in the first quarter. Senior quarterback and co-captain Stephen Milarch connected with McGaw for a 20-yard TD pass play at 12:42, getting good starting field position at the OC 40 after a punt. The Bulldogs also scored on their next possession as sophomore D'Angelo Gaines rushed into the end zone at 7:13, capping a seven-play, 45-yard drive in 1:59.

= Defensively, the Bulldogs limited the OC offense to just eight total yards on the first two possessions to help protect that 13-point advantage.

Douglas Pollard converted a 39-yard field goal at 3:13 of the first quarter to get the visitors on the board and ignite a 30-point Olivet scoring run over the next 27:06.

= The Bulldogs pulled within 30-26 by the 0:51 mark in the third quarter on a couple long scores. Philon had an 83-yard TD reception from Hamm and senior Pat Stephenson had an 80-yard interception return for a TD.

= The Comets had a decided advantage in time of possession, 41:53 to 18:07.

BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
= Philon was just five yards from breaking the AC single-game record of 270 held by Ryan Speiser, set in 1999 against Defiance. Still, the 265 yards are the most this season by a MIAA receiver and third in the nation.

= Prior to the contest, the Bulldogs' nine-member senior class were recognized: Brad Barker, English/Writing…from Clarkston, Mich; Chris Burnett - Exercise Science…from Dallas, Texas; Wyatt Derrer – Marketing…Mancelona, Mich; Travis Joseph - Sports Management… St. Clair Shores, Mich; Trey Loescher - Criminal Justice…from Bowling Green, Ohio; Stephen Milarch - Exercise Science…from Brighton, Mich; Archie Nolan - Physical Education…from Oak Park, Mich; Larry Talton, Jr. – Communication…from Flint, Mich; Blake VanStrate - Teacher Education…from Ovid, Mich.

= With Philon (906 yards) and McGaw (590), the Bulldogs have two 500-yard receivers in the same season for the first time since 2010. That year, Mitch Gabriele had 848 and Justin Hemm, 734.

= Philon ranks fourth on the school's all-time single-season receiving yards chart: 1. 1209 - Justin Hemm (78-1209) - 2012; 2. 971 - Nathan Hartline (54-971) - 2014; 3. 966 - Steve Kress (61-966) - 2001.

= Junior linebacker Jacob Davis (3 solo, 7 total tackles) also had four punt returns for 45 yards, jumping three spots to No. 7 on the Bulldogs' top single-season list for punt return average (264).

= Adrian lost for the first time this season when scoring first (2-1).

= Fuller had 2-1/2 sacks today to give him 31 for his career--strengthening his hold on the No. 2 spot on the Adrian career chart. He also ranks second in the MIAA this fall.

= The 37 points for the Bulldogs are the most in a loss in program history. Previous record: Alma 45, Adrian 28, 2006.

= The teams combined for 21 penalties and 213 yards.

= Hamm and Milarch (150) combined for 416 passing yards--the most for the Bulldogs this season. The team record is 443 versus Kalamazoo in 2008.

= Olivet claims at least a share of its second-straight MIAA title, but due to a potential tiebreaker will receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Football Championship.

UP NEXT
= Adrian will close out the season next Saturday on the road when the Bulldogs visit MIAA foe Alma College for a 1 p.m. start.