The best rushing and passing team in the G-MAC was able to overcome a near-historic day from Hillsdale College's Drake Temple in a showdown of two of the conference's best teams Saturday afternoon in Ohio.
Temple, a senior safety, had three interceptions, one shy of the school record, but it wasn't quite enough as Tiffin University knocked off the Chargers 35-24 at Frost-Kalnow Stadium. The loss drops Hillsdale to 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the G-MAC as it heads into next weekend's season finale at home vs. Ohio Dominican. The Dragons remain in first place in the conference, moving to 6-0 in the G-MAC.
Tiffin rushed for 274 yards on the ground as a team, overcoming four turnovers. Four of Tiffin's five touchdowns came on the ground, and the Dragons averaged 6.1 yards per rush as a team.
The teams traded big plays throughout a busy first half that saw Tiffin get to intermission with a 21-17 lead. Tiffin held the lead throughout, but Hillsdale kept answering, staying close throughout.
Nate Jones recovered a fumble on a punt, setting the Chargers up on the Dragon two-yard-line late in the first quarter. David Graham scored one play later to cut the Hillsdale deficit to 14-10. Tiffin responded with a touchdown, only to see Graham hit paydirt for the second time in the game, scoring from four yards out with 5:45 left in the half to make it a 21-17 game.
The Dragons scored the first two touchdowns of the second half, the second coming on a 64-yard scoring pass to extend its lead. Freshman quarterback Luke Keller hit wide receiver Konnor Maloney for a 22-yard touchdown pass late in the game to wrap up the scoring.
Keller was 12-for-28 passes for 182 yards and a score. Graham, closing in on 1,000 yards rushing for the season, carried the ball 23 times for 76 yards and two scores. Maloney led the receiving corps with 4 catches for 75 yards.
Temple's three interceptions were the most by a Charger player in a single game in 19 years. Only Tim Mustapha's four back in 2000 eclipsed Temple's awesome effort Saturday.
Zach Herzog led the Hillsdale defense with 14 total tackles, 6 of them solo. Jones piled up 10 total tackles, and Jason McDonough had 9 stops. Jones, Nate Chambers and Kendall Tobin all had sacks for the Chargers.
PHOTO: Camryn Olson