For all of its struggles this season, Tiffin University can end the football season today at Frost-Kalnow Stadium on a high note.
A win over Lake Erie will give the Tornadoes two Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference wins for the first time in program history, and will give them three overall wins this season, which is the most in five years.
But stopping the Storm (3-7) will require containing what has been an effective running game.
Anthony Bilal, a freshman, has been the Storm's top rusher, averaging more than six yards a carry.
"Bilal, he's a freshman, a little guy," Tiffin coach Gary Goff said. "Very shifty, and you know, they run the zone scheme where he can hide behind his offensive linemen and pop through holes. They're kind of a 60-40, run-pass. They're pretty efficient in the run game, they've got a couple receivers who make a play here and there, but I think their entire offense is revolving around the running back."
Goff said Lake Erie quarterback Patrick Nicely also can give teams problems.
"The quarterback's gonna keep it some, he'll pull the ball down and run with it, so he's a threat by running as well, but, you've got to stop the run game," Goff said.
Goff said he sees a number of similarities between the Dragons and Lake Erie.
"On paper, they're almost identical, stat wise, and all the way through," he said. "This is a game where I'm sure both teams are coming in expecting to end the season on a high note with a win. So, we're definitely going to have a fight on our hands, but it's gonna be Senior Day for us, and there's gonna be a lot of excitement."
Lake Erie has struggled some on defense, allowing more than 473 yards a game.
"Their pass defense is one of the worst in the conference, and in the nation," Goff said. "Their rush defense is pretty good, they like to put a lot of guys on the line of scrimmage and stop the run game."
That would point to a potentially big game for TU quarterback Dan Pitts, who has impressed Goff with his play since taking over for James Capello after the former was injured.
"I'm proud of Dan; he's come a long ways, and he's played pretty good football the last four weeks," Goff said. "He's done a great job of protecting the football and making clutch throws."
Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.