KALAMAZOO - Two early touchdowns and a strong defensive effort lifted the Kalamazoo College football team to a 14-10 win over Adrian College in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association play at Angell Field on Saturday.
An Adrian turnover led to Kalamazoo's first score early in the first quarter. The Bulldogs won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff, but turned the ball over on its third offensive play when Kalamazoo's Hartlee Lucas intercepted a pass near midfield and returned it to the Adrian 20-yardline. Brock Rucinski connected with Josh Wise on a seven yard touchdown pass just four plays later to put the Hornets up 7-0. Rucinski stepped in for that one play after starting quarterback Aaron McGuire's helmet came off on the previous play.
Kalamazoo struck again early in the second quarter (14:01) as McGuire found Alex Dietrich in the end zone for an eight yard touchdown to complete a 10-play, 80-yard drive. Kalamazoo took the 14-0 lead into halftime while holding Adrian to just seven passing yards in the first half and 73 yards of total offense.
Adrian took advantage of a Kalamazoo fumble early in the third quarter (9:35) as Dustin Salliotte made a 31-yard field goal to make it a 14-3 game. The Bulldogs scored on a seven yard touchdown pass from Aaron Tenney to Nathan Hartline with 12:38 left in the fourth quarter to make it 14-10. Tenney, Adrian's starting quarterback, was one of three Bulldog quarterbacks to see action in the game.
Adrian had three more possessions in the final quarter and made it inside Kalamazoo territory on each, but the Hornet defense held strong to preserve the win.
"It was a great team win and I am really proud of the way our guys fought," said Kalamazoo Head Coach Jamie Zorbo. "We really executed the game plan and kept fighting to the end."
Kalamazoo put up 269 yards of total offense while holding Adrian to 257 yards. The Hornets converted 7-of-17 third down opportunities while stopping the Bulldogs on 13-of-16 attempts. Adrian was also 0-for-4 on fourth down conversions.
Kalamazoo's Aaron McGuire was 18-of-29 passing for 209 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Alex Dietrich led the Hornets with nine catches for 112 yards and a score. Elijah Hamilton-Wray rushed for 44 yards on 24 carries while McGuire also carried the ball 17 times.
"Aaron [McGuire] and Brock [Rucinski] both did an outstanding job stepping in at quarterback," Zorbo said. "
Adrian's Aaron Tenney was 11-of-31 passing for 110 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Josh Delaney led the Bulldogs with six catches for 88 yards. Damon Brown had 89 yards rushing on 21 carries.
Dylan Zerki led the Hornet defense with 13 total tackles. Alan Mencer and Ian Good each had seven tackles with Good also having a quarterback sack. Hartlee Lucas made six tackles to go with two interceptions and four pass breakups. Jake Larioza was in on five tackles with two for lost yardage and one quarterback sack.
"Hartlee Lucas and Octavius Sanders played great in the secondary today and our defensive line was phenomenal up front today," said Zorbo.
Jack Carter led Adrian's defense with 11 total tackles.
Kalamazoo plays its final home game of the season next Saturday, Nov. 9 when the Hornets face Alma College at 1 p.m.