Like most games in recent memory, the border battle between Adrian College and Trine University was tightly contested on Saturday. The Bulldogs made enough plays in the end and picked up a big 14-9 road win over the Thunder. Adrian kept pace towards another MIAA title improving to 6-1, 3-0 MIAA while the Thunder slipped to 3-4, 0-3 MIAA.
The first half was a struggle for the Bulldogs as they trailed 3-0 at intermission. Adrian had just 43 yards and were 0-for-6 on third down. Trine had better chances to extend their lead as Adrian kept themselves in the game despite allowing 182 yards. Tyler Keck booted a 45-yard field goal with 5:14 left in the second quarter for the lone score in the opening 30 minutes.
The Bulldogs got a break early in the third as Tommy First blocked a punt by Nick Muir and Adrian took over at the Trine 36-yard line. Adrian marched seven plays and used 3:14 before Josh Delaney caught a five-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Tenney to give Adrian a 7-3 lead with 6:11 left in the third.
Adrian took over again with a shorter field on their next possession at the Trine 45-yard line after a punt. Drew Collins entered at quarterback and organized a seven-play drive as Dae'Von Robinson carried for a 15-yard touchdown run to push the score to 14-3 with 2:24 left in the third.
The Bulldogs had a great chance to put the game out of reach early in the fourth as Adrian drove down to the Trine 13-yard line in 12 plays and used 6:39 of game clock. Dustin Salliotte missed a 30-yard field goal with 5:50 remaining to leave the door open. The Thunder took advantage driving 78 yards in 13 plays and needed only 2:12 as Andrew Dee found Jared Burton on a four-yard touchdown pass on fourth down. The two-point conversion failed as running back Richard Gunn was stopped.
Nate Smith recovered the onside kick for Adrian and converted one first down before running out the clock on their sixth straight win. Adrian's offense came to life in the second half and finished with 234 yards. Trine totaled 308 yards including 201 passing but Dee was just 15-of-35 passing on the day. Gunn carried for 107 yards but needed 33 carries with a game-long of 10 yards.
Damon Brown missed last week and returned with 73 rushing yards on 17 carries. Tenney completed 11-of-19 passes for 98 yards. Nathan Hartline caught seven passes for 84 yards. Curtis Rhoden led the defense with 12 tackles including nine solo stops. The Bulldogs return home next week against Olivet for a 5 p.m. kickoff at Docking Stadium.