UNIVERSITY CENTER -- Looking to claim its second straight victory, the SVSU Football team registered a solid 14-9 victory over Tiffin University on Senior Day at Wickes Stadium. The Cardinals took a 7-0 lead into the half and were able to fend-off a late push from the Dragons to secure the victory.
The Cardinals opened the scoring for the contest after a long Tiffin drive resulted in a missed field goal, getting on the board late in the first quarter when Ryan Conklin found Chad Gailliard for a 47 yard touchdown strike to give the home team the 7-0 lead with just 1:37 left in the opening quarter. Drew Franklin made good on the PAT try for the Cards.
Neither offense did much from there in the opening half and Saginaw Valley brought its 7-0 lead into the halftime break.
The second half began with a Tiffin drive that was halted when Ryan Verhelst picked-off a pass and set up the Cardinals with great field position at the Dragon 29 yardline.
It took six plays from there, with Conklin finishing-off the short drive with a five yard touchdown run to push the lead to 14-0 after the Frankling extra-point at the 11:29 marker of the third quarter.
Tiffin put together a nice drive next, capping-off a 12 play, 56 yard drive with a field goal at the 5:32 point in the third to cut the deficit to 14-3.
A Franklin 33 yard field goal try hit the crossbar in SVSU's next drive, halting another solid scoring opportunity for Saginaw Valley.
The Dragons found the endzone on a four yard pass play with 8:47 left in the game to make the score 14-9 in SVSU's favor. As the visitors went for two, they had a false start penalty and another on an offensive pass interference in the endzone that resulted in them having a two-point try from 23 yards out. That try would fail and the score stood at 14-9.
After an SVSU drive stalled, the Dragons put together another solid drive to set up at the Cardinal 33 yardline. Verhelst would come up big again, however, intercepting another pass for the home squad to get the ball back with just 2:14 left on the clock.
The ball would get jarred loose on a Tommy Scott Jr. 16 yard run on the Cardinals' first play of the next drive, giving Tiffin the ball back at the SVSU 45 with 2:06 left to play.
Saginaw Valley's defense held strong once again though, not wavering while holding the Dragons out of the endzone and securing the 14-9 home victory.
Inside the Boxscore
- Tiffin posted the 410-325 edge in total offense but ran 78 plays to SVSU's 56.
- Conklin was 13-24 for 223 yards and a touchdown in another steady performance. He added the game-winning score on a rushing touchdown.
- Gailliard reeled-in four catches for 111 yards with a score in his second straight standout performance.
- Alfonso Vultaggio had a solid game as well before leaving due to injury. He had six catches for 56 yards, adding one rush for nine yards.
- Scott rushed 22 times for 111 yards, adding two catches for 31 yards.
- Michael Alexander tallied a game-high 17 tackles for the SVSU defense. It marks a new career-high for the middle linebacker as well.
- Verhelst had the two interceptions, adding a career-high nine stops on his senior day. He was named the Meijer "Player of the Game."
- Justin Whitted added nine tackles, matching his career-high he had last week at Northern Michigan.
- Myles Collier had eight tackles for the Cardinal defense.
- Dillon Dixon, Donnell Alexander and Bryan Jones all added seven tackles. It was a new career-best for Alexander in the win.
- Jack Jennings had five tackles with 2.5 sacks in his final game at Wickes Stadium.
- Saginaw Valley honored 15 seniors prior to the game against Tiffin.
Postgame Interview - Jim Collins
Postgame Player Interview
SVSU makes the short trip over the Northwood University on Saturday (Nov. 4) for the annual Axe Bowl game. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. at Northwood's Hantz Stadium.
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