ADRIAN, Mich. – The Adrian College football team may have found a diamond in the rough in the offensive backfield on Saturday night. Junior Kyle Smock did not carry the ball once in last week's season opener, but in a 23-13 win over visiting Defiance College rushed 27 times for a career-high 217 yards in the Bulldogs' first win of the 2012 season.
Smock accounted for 217 of the team's 284 rushing yards and scored on a six-yard run to open the scoring at 9:40 of the first quarter. Smock's capped off Adrian's first drive but failed on a two-point conversion rushing attempt to make it 6-0. Smock ran for 29 yards in the first quarter, zero yards in the second quarter, 93 yards in the third quarter and 95 yards in the fourth quarter.
The Adrian defense created the first turnover of the game in the second quarter as Defiance quarterback Garrett Teague was sacked by senior Joe Makowski and fumbled the ball away to junior Dro Clark at the Defiance 14-yard line. Adrian could not punch it into the end zone but junior Dustin Salliotte booted a 31-yard field goal to give Adrian a 9-0 lead with 8:13 left in the second quarter.
The Yellow Jackets answered back on their next drive as Aaron Smith rushed around right end for a 58-yard touchdown run on the third play of the drive to make it 9-7 with 6:52 left until halftime. The teams went into the break as Adrian totaled just 96 yards in the first half. Defiance gained 132 yards including 96 yards on the ground.
The Adrian defense forced a three-and-out to start the second half and the Bulldogs made a quarterback switch going with junior Taylor Copacia. Adrian's drive covered 10 plays and 45 yards and was capped off by a Ben Klaver 36-yard field goal to make it 12-7 with 9:23 left in the third quarter.
Adrian just had one more drive in the third quarter which lasted 5:21 and covered 80 yards. The end result however was a missed 34-yard field goal by Klaver wide right. Adrian ran 19 offensive plays compared to nine Defiance plays in the quarter.
The Yellow Jackets took their first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter. On a third-and-five from their own 46-yard line, Teague found Joey Chester over the middle and Chester raced 54 yards to the end zone with 13:23 left in the game. The Yellow Jackets tried a trick two-point conversion as kicker Spencer Saunders took a pitch from the holder, but Charles Fleck made the tackle for Adrian to keep the score at 13-12.
Adrian responded on their next possession driving 73 yards in seven plays for the game-winning score. Smock ran 21 yards down to the Defiance 41-yard line and after a sack of Copacia, the quarterback hooked up with senior Justin Hemm on third-and-18 for a 49-yard touchdown with 10:30 left in the game. Copacia then ran around left end for the two-point conversion to give AC a 20-13 lead.
The Adrian defense then stopped Defiance on two straight drives limiting them to eight yards on six plays. Adrian took over the ball with 5:11 left on their own 25-yard line and sealed the win driving 73 yards highlighted by a 54-yard run by Smock on the second play of the drive moving the ball down to the Defiance 19-yard line. The Bulldog running game pounded the ball down to the two-yard line before Salliotte kicked a 20-yard field goal with 51 seconds left to make it 23-13. On the ensuing kickoff, freshman Cody Seeley drilled the ball off a Defiance player and Adrian recovered on their own 41-yard line. The Bulldogs took a knee twice and ran out the clock to even their record at 1-1.
Copacia went 3-for-6 through the air for 65 yards. Aaron Tenney completed 3-for-8 for 14 yards in the first half. Hemm finished with five catches for 72 yards. Dae'Von Robinson carried 14 times for 54 yards. The kicking game was much improved going 3-for-4 in field goal tries. Junior Deontae Bridgeman led the defense with 11 tackles and set a career-high with five tackles for a loss of 16 yards. Bridgeman also forced two fumbles and had a sack. Adrian recorded 13 tackles for loss on the evening including three sacks.