ADRIAN, MICH. — The Trine University football team started its season with a 44-27 win against Adrian (Mich.) College in a non-conference game at Docking Stadium in Adrian, Mich.
Trine (1-0) scored 28 points in the first half with a pair of touchdowns in both the first and second quarters. Adrian (0-1) got the ball in the first drive of the game and got to the Trine five-yard line, but the Thunder defense kept the Bulldogs out of the endzone and forced a field goal attempt. An errant snap on the attempt that led to a blocked kick which was picked up by Trine’s Aaron Dean (Fort Wayne, Ind./Eastside) and returned it 84 yards for a Thunder touchdown and an early 7-0 lead.
After forcing a three-and-out on Adrian’s next offensive possession, Trine marched 62 yards in eight plays on its ensuing drive and resulted in a seven-yard TD run by Xaine Kirby (Sweetser, Ind./Eastbrook), his first of three scoring runs on the day, to increase the lead to 14-0.
Just before the end of the opening quarter, Adrian got on the scoreboard with a two-yard run to make it a 14-7 contest after the first 15 minutes.
In the second quarter, Kirby found the endzone again which capped a drive that included a 32-yard pass completion from quarterback Alex Price (Reading, Mich./Reading) to wide receiver Brandon Kline (Callahan, Fla./Yulee). The Kirby TD made it a two-possession game again with 11:26 to play in the first half.
The other Trine score in the period came on a nine-yard pass play from Price to Kale Lawson (Reynolds, Ind./Tri-County) with under a minute to go.
Adrian also scored a pair of TD in the second frame, including one following the Price-to-Lawson connection in the final 59 seconds to end the half. But the extra-point attempt failed to hit its mark as the Thunder led 28-20 at the break.
Both teams traded turnovers early in the third quarter, but the Bulldogs found the endzone on their second drive of the period on a 25-yard strike to pull to within a point, 28-27, at the 5:32 mark. Trine answered the touchdown on its next possession with a four-play scoring drive that included a 17-yard run by Kirby and a 42-yard hookup from Price to Lawson to extend the margin to eight points, 35-27, heading into the fourth quarter.
Price’s touchdown throw to Lawson to end the scoring in the third was part of 16 unanswered points for Trine as the Thunder added nine points in the final period. Trine’s first drive in the quarter looked to be stopped as Adrian forced a punt, but the Bulldogs fumbled the kick on the return and was recovered by Dean, preserving the possession for the Thunder. With new life at the Adrian 14-yard line, the Trine offense took advantage of the miscue and tacked on seven more points with Kirby’s third TD of the game with 3:11 left to play.
After a solid offensive effort, the Trine defense put points on the board for the Thunder as a sack fumble by Marcques Tagliaferri (Angola, Ind./Angola) led to a safety as the ball was recovered in the Adrian endzone by the Bulldogs resulting in a 44-27 advantage for the visitors.
Following the safety, Trine got the ball back and ran out the final 1:46 left on the clock to go on to claim the 17-point victory, 44-27.
Trine ended the game with 322 total yards (185 rushing and 137 passing). Kirby led all rushers with a career-high 141 yards to go along with his three TD. Price ended the afternoon with six completions (six-of-16 overall) for 129 yards and two TD. Lawson was Price’s top target with three catches for 59 yards and both TD receptions.
Defensively, Tony Nikodemski (Grand Rapids, Mich./Coopersivlle) had a team and career-high 12 tackles (six solo and six assists) with 1.5 tackles for loss and a half sack. Tagliaferri also had a career day with 10 stops (seven solo and three assists) with 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
Trine is scheduled to host Manchester University next Saturday (Oct. 10) at Fred Zollner Athletic Stadium in the home opener. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.