UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - When the Saginaw Valley State University football team trailed 10-0 in the fourth quarter last weekend at Wayne State, the team turned to the familiar pass-catch combo of Jonathon Jennings to Jeff Janis for a pair of touchdown hookups to escape with a 14-10 comeback victory over the Warriors.
The Cardinals never trailed in Saturday's home Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) matchup against the Hillsdale College Chargers, but the words Jennings to Janis echoed throughout Wickes Stadium frequently as both seniors had record-setting performances in the team's 47-34 victory.
Jennings posted a school-record 541 yards passing on 28 completions to go along with seven touchdowns, breaking the record of five he shared with two other former SVSU quarterbacks. The 541 yards passing broke his own record of 511 he had at Lake Erie last year on September 22nd.
Janis hauled-in 15 of those completions, netting a school-record 331 yards and tying the record of four touchdowns he now shares with two other players. He broke his own record of 300 yards that recorded last season at Lake Erie on September 22nd.
Saginaw Valley opened the scoring for the night on its second drive of the game. A big conversion on third down with a 43 yard pass play from Jennings to junior tight end Andrew Dillon set the Cardinals up from the Hillsdale 36. Three plays later, the two connected once more on a nine yard touchdown that game the team a 7-0 lead at the 10:12 mark in the first quarter.
Hillsdale's next drive would end in a missed 50 yard field goal attempt, giving SVSU the ball at its own 33 yard line. On the second play of the drive, Jennings found Janis for a 63 yard touchdown, making the lead 14-0 after Scott Stanford's second made extra point.
The Chargers scored with 1:47 left in the opening quarter on their next drive to cut the lead to 14-7.
After a Jennings interception on the next drive, Hillsdale took control of the ball at the Cardinal 33. Six plays later, Jack Wiseman scored on a rush from 12 yards out to tie the ball game after a successful PAT with 9:30 left in the opening half.
Following a Hillsdale sack on the ensuing drive for SVSU, Jennings found Janis for a 66 yard pass play facing a second down and 20, giving them a first and goal at the Hillsdale eight yard line. Two plays later, the two connected on a slant route for a six yard score to take a 21-14 lead with 6:33 left in the first half.
After Hillsdale's next drive ended with a punt, the Cardinal offense went to work once more.
Saginaw Valley used seven plays to march 82 yards down field, with the drive being capped-off with a 22 yard Andrew Dillon touchdown catch, his second of the game. A blocked extra point attempt made the score 27-14 in favor of SVSU with just 1:50 remaining in the half.
Dillon finished with career-highs in catches (6), yards (147) and touchdowns (2) for the night. He now has five touchdowns on the season.
The Chargers managed to use just 24 seconds of the clock on their next drive and punted the ball back to SVSU, with the Cards taking over at their own 39.
The fifth play of the drive was a six yard touchdown pass from Jennings to Janis once more, the combo's third of the night. The score came with just 28 seconds left in the first half.
Hillsdale wasn't able to do anything with its next drive and the game went into halftime with the Cardinals leading by a score of 34-14 after their most-recent TD.
The Chargers came out of the locker room and put together a 75 yard drive that ended in a Sam Landry rushing TD on the opening drive of the second half. That cut the SVSU lead to 34-21 following the successful PAT kick.
After a quick three-and-out by the Cardinals, Hillsdale tacked-on another touchdown with 4:10 left in the third quarter, making the score 34-28.
After Saginaw Valley got the ball back, it took only two plays for to score once more. Jennings hit Janis for a 56 yard play to put the ball at the Charger 19 yard line. The next play featured the same connection, with the two hooking up for a 19 yard score, giving the team a 41-28 advantage after the PAT with 3:31 left in the third quarter.
Neither team would score in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter until Jennings found senior wide receiver Michael Albrecht for a 20 yard TD with 3:43 left in the game. After a failed two point conversion, the Cardinals led 47-28.
Albrecht finished the game with five catches for 51 yards and the one score.
Hillsdale put another TD on the board with 1:44 remaining, cutting the lead to 47-34 after a failed conversion of its own was picked-off by SVSU safety Jon Bryant in the endzone.
An onside kick by the Chargers was cleanly recovered by Cardinal senior running back Norman Shuford with the hands team on the field, and after a first down SVSU kneeled on the ball and sealed the 13 point victory.
The victory over the Chargers, who were in second place in the GLIAC North with a 4-1 record entering the contest, keeps SVSU undefeated in GLIAC play with a 7-0 record. The Cardinals are 7-1 overall on the season.
The Cards piled-up 620 yards of total offense in the game, 541 coming via the air.
Shuford led the ground attack for SVSU in the game, rushing 14 times for 76 yards.
Jennings now leads the GLIAC in passing yards per game with 307.5 and 23 touchdowns. His 23 touchdowns are seven more than the next two quarterbacks tied for second.
Janis's big game put him out in front of the league leaders receiving-wise as well. The senior leads the GLIAC in yards per game with 143.1 and 10 touchdowns. Two receivers sit four TD's behind with six scores.
Cardinal senior linebacker Brian Johnson led the defensive effort with a game-high 15 tackles, Junior Major Metcalf added 12 stops, including a sack that resulted in a loss of 11 yards for the opponents.
Sophomore Trevor Blattner added nine stops for the Cardinals.
Saginaw Valley travels to Houghton, Michigan next Saturday (Nov. 2) to take-on the Michigan Tech Huskies. Tech will enter the matchup with a 4-3 overall record and the same 4-3 mark in league play.