Tiffin University (5-3, 4-2 GLIAC) fell behind early to Ashland and tried to play catch-up throughout the rest of the game, coming up just short in a 38-24 loss at Frost Kalnow Stadium.
The Eagles put 10 points on the board in the first quarter to take a lead they would not relinquish. After holding TU to a three-and-out on their first possession, Ashland took over and drove 53 yards in just 4 plays, capping it off with a 36 yard touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead.
Ashland added a 25 yard field goal at the 3:46 mark of the quarter to go ahead 10-0, taking advantage of a JaQuan Hardy fumble to kill a TU drive and putting points on the board with a 55 yard drive.
After a Harry McCollum punt pinned AU back on their own 3 yard line, the Dragons defense forced a punt, giving TU great field position that resulted in a 37 yard field goal by Joseph Metcalf to make it 10-3 Ashland at the 12:13 mark of the second quarter.
The Eagles answered immediately, driving 81 yards on 10 plays and scoring on a 9 yard TD pass to push their lead to 17-3. They tacked on another score with 3:05 to play in the half with a 29 yard scoring strike that threatened to blow the game open as AU opened up a 24-3 lead.
The Dragons refused to quit, though, taking their next possession and driving 86 yards on 7 plays. Nick Watson hit a big 22 yard completion to Victor Talley and a 28 yard sideline route to Hunter Rockwell before Hardy ran it in from the 3 yard line with 33 seconds to go in the half to give TU a 24-10 deficit at the half.
Tiffin wanted to grab the momentum coming out of the halftime locker room and appeared to do it when Ashland missed a 41 yard field goal attempt. Midway through the third quarter, TU drove 69 yards in just 4 plays, with Watson hitting Tyler Denton on a 60 yard bomb that cut Ashland's lead to 24-17 with 5:47 to play in the third quarter.
Ashland, though, showed its mettle, responding immediately again by driving 51 yards and scoring on a 9 yard run to jump ahead 31-17 as the third quarter ended.
The back breaking blow came in the next two possessions. Tiffin put together a drive that consumed 5:31 off the clock but came up short when Metcalf's 46 yard field goal attempt went wide left. Ashland took over and then drove 71 yards in 4:52 and scored on a 33 yard run that put them ahead 21 points with just 6:57 to play.
The Dragons got one more score with 2:48 left in the game when Watson hit Denton on a 45 yard TD strike to get to within 38-24 but TU failed to recover the on-side kick, effectively ending the game.
AU outgained TU 466-324 including a massive 294-30 edge on the ground. The Dragons, battling from behind most of the game, got their yards through the air, outgaining AU 294-172 in the air.
Watson completed 16 of 31 passes for 294 yards with 2 TDs but also was sacked 4 times. Denton had a big day, catching 5 passes for 135 yards. Tony Shead had 35 yards receiving along with 85 yards in kick returns, while Trent Stamm had 37 yards and Jalen Santoro had 34 yards. Hardy rushed for 26 yards.
Brandon Burks led TU with 11 tackles, while Carrington Contee had 9 stops. Jawan Nelson had 6 tackles with an interception, while Delan Wynn had 6 tackles with a sack. Tyan Young also had 5 tackles with 2 tackles for loss.