Tiffin University (2-0) lived up to its ranking (16th AFCA), scoring 35 unanswered points in the first half en route to a commanding 40-6 win over Northwood in its home opener.
Things did not start well for the Dragons, as they allowed a 39-yard touchdown strike to Northwood on the Timberwolves' first possession of the game on a 4th and 17 play to fall behind 6-0 at the 11:28 mark of the opening quarter.
But then the floodgates opened, as the Dragons used a devastating rushing and passing attack combined with tough interior defense and solid pass coverage to take total control of the game.
TU took the ensuing drive on their own 25-yard line. Nick Watson connected on first-down passes to Jalen Thomas, Anthony Lowe, and James Dean, and Darius Pinnix powered through creases for 27 yards on five carries, finishing the drive off with a 4 yard TD run to put TU up 7-6.
A fourth-down stand by the Dragons defense got Tiffin the ball back quickly, and TU responded as Watson hit Pinnix for a 33-yard completion before Pinnix took a toss from Watson and proceeded to pass the ball 26 yards downfield to a waiting Jalen Thomas for TU's next score at the 2:47 mark of the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Northwood mounted their best drive of the game. Behind new quarterback Ty Cox, the Timberwolves marched down to the Tiffin 1-yard line. Three times Northwood tried to power into the end zone, and three times they were stuffed as Landon Hall, Hunter Waits, Latrell Robinson, and Devin Nzepuome made huge stops to force the change of possession.
The Dragons then responded with a 99 yard TD drive in just five plays. Dean had a 19-yard reception, Pinnix had a 24-yard rush, Baden Pinson picked up a 14-yard reception, and Thomas hauled in a 36-yard pass from Watson for another TD strike to make it 21-6.
A sack of Cox by Hall on NU's next possession resulted in a fumble recovered by Charlie Cleveland on the Northwood 15 yard line. Pinnix banged in from the 1-yard line for another score three plays later to push the score to 28-6.
After Kevin Hyde picked off a Northwood pass on the 1-yard line, the Dragons put together another 99-yard drive to close out their first-half scoring. Watson hit Lowe on passes covering 24 and 19 yards before running around end on a 16-yard scamper with 1:01 left in the half.
The halftime statistics revealed the dominance. TU outgained NU 372-129 including 245-50 through the air. Watson passed for 219 first-half yards while Pinnix had 57 yards rushing and another 33 receiving. Lowe had 81 yards receiving while Thomas added 86 receiving yards. Cleveland registered 7 first-half tackles, while Landon Hall had 1.5 sacks and 6 stops all in the first half.
The Dragons' defense made the second half mostly an afterthought. Kevin Swift blocked a NU punt on the goal line resulting in a safety for the Dragons to make it 37-6, and David Orlando booted a 27-yard field goal to close out the scoring with 3:33 left in the third quarter.
The defense, meanwhile, allowed just 20 yards of offense to the Timberwolves in the second half. NU was held to -5 yards rushing in the half. TU overall registered 2 sacks and an interception on the day while holding NU to just 2-for-14 on third-down conversions.
Offensively TU put up 597 yards of offense including 395 through the air. They had a 7:00 possession time advantage with 34 first downs to Northwood's 10.
Pinson had 70 yards rushing, Pinnix had 134 all purpose yards (60 rushing, 48 receiving, 26 passing), Devin Nelson had 52 yards rushing, Lowe had 160 yards receiving on 12 catches along with 39 kick return yards, and Thomas had 87 receiving yards.
Nick Watson finished with 340 yards on 24 of 37 passing with one interception and two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing).
Defensively Cleveland had 8 tackles, Hall had 6 stops with 1.5 sacks, Hunter Waits had 5 tackles with a half sack, and TU posted 9 tackles for loss.