Albion clinches share of MIAA title
ADRIAN, Mich. – The "Just One More" theme developed by Interim President Mike Frandsen for the 2013-2014 academic year at Albion College mutated into a rallying cry for the Briton football team Saturday.
Walking to the team huddle after a 13-0 victory over Adrian College to clinch a share of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship, Albion players reminded each other that just one more victory – in the Nov. 16 season finale at Hope College – was all that separated them from the outright league title and the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Championship.
"We played like champions and celebrated like it, too," Albion Head Coach Craig Rundle said. "We still have a lot of work left to do. Our guys don't want to share a championship. They want to win it outright."
Albion's shutout – its first since throttling Defiance, 55-0, in the opening game of the 2012 season – was remarkable considering the field position. Adrian's average starting field position was its 38-yard line. The Bulldogs took over near midfield on three of their four possessions in the first quarter.
Adrian turned the ball over on an interception, on downs, and on a fumble and it had a 27-yard field goal attempt sail wide left in the first half.
"The first interception by Terron Bridgeman (near the goal line) set the tone for the game," Rundle said. "The defense stepped up and made big plays when they needed to. We knew the wind would turn the game into a defensive struggle."
It took time for Albion's offense to find its rhythm. The Britons went three-and-out on two first quarter possessions and they had a pass intercepted and a turnover on downs.
Albion took over at the Adrian 47-yard line after a fumble late in the first half and cashed that in for a 28-yard field goal by Cody Lehman and a 3-0 lead at halftime.
Albion's first possession of the second half stalled at the Adrian 10, but Lehman tacked on a 27-yard field goal.
Darrin Williams put the exclamation point on the victory when he got around the edge and raced 47 yards for the only touchdown in the game with 10 minutes remaining. The senior running back from Detroit finished the day with 89 yards on 21 carries.
"We got the edge sealed with guards coming around," Rundle said. "Darrin saw the seam, and with his speed, he got through it and they weren't going to catch him."
Adrian's offense generated 303 yards. Defensive back Chris Jakubik led the Albion defense with 11 tackles, including 10 solo. Lineman Dillon Ervin, who set the tone for the second half with a 7-yard sack on the first play of the third quarter, was credited with seven solo and six assisted tackles.