Eagles look to get back on track, moving past first loss of the season

Noah Cloonan

For Tiffin University it was the perfect storm as everything came together and they knocked off the No. 5 ranked Ashland University Eagles, 35-32.

The Eagles got off to a slow start and this came back to bite them.They could not recover and dropped to 4-1 on the season.

Despite the loss, the Eagles still performed very well on offense with over 500 yards of total offense. Quarterback Travis Tarnowski had a career game as he threw for 402 yards and three touchdowns. All three touchdowns were caught by tight end, Adam Shaheen who had ten catches for 165 yards. 

Shaheen is continuing his career year, and is  currently ranked first in catches (35) and receiving yards (592) in all levels of NCAA football and is tied for first in touchdowns with seven. The Eagles will be in unfamiliar territory for the rest of the season as this is their first regular season loss since 2014.

“We are still in the race,” head coach Lee Owens said. “We may not be in the driver’s seat anymore, but we are still obviously in the race and every game is that much more important.”

Lee Owens said that his team is upset at the loss but realizes that their season is far from over.

“You know we just turned the page,” Owens said. “We had to turn the page, we just put all of our focus on Northwood.” 

The Eagles will be at home for the first time in two weeks against Northwood (1-4, 1-4) and there could not be a better time for a home game.

“We just like playing at home,” Owens said. “It’s going to be great to be home, there’s no question we’ve played pretty well here over the years. I think we play with a little more confidence here.”

The Eagles have a right to play with that amount of confidence as they hold the longest home win streak in the conference at 14 straight games. 

Northwood is coming off of their first win of the season as they knocked off the Lake Erie Storm 44-14. Northwood’s record does not accurately depict the success they have had this season, as they have lost three very close games. 

The Timberwolves took Ferris State down to the wire and forced the Bulldogs to make a field goal as time was expiring to come away with the victory. 

They also played Saginaw Valley State tightly as they took the Cardinals to overtime before ultimately falling, 20-14. 

Northern Michigan scored a touchdown with 25 seconds remaining to beat the Timberwolves as well. The Timberwolves have played in a lot of close games and will be looking to do so again against the Eagles. 

Northwood’s quarterback, Joe Garbarino, has been healthy the last three weeks and is commanding the option attack of the Wolves with great efficiency. 

After being hurt early in week one and missing week two, Garbarino is back in action and has thrown for 474 yards and three touchdowns in the last three weeks. 

The dual threat quarterback has also rushed for 181 yards and five touchdowns on the season. 

“Like any type of the option [offense], it’s hard to simulate in practice so it usually takes a little bit of time in the game to catch up with their execution,” Owens said. 

The Eagles will need to adjust quickly so that they do not fall behind early, because as they saw last week it can be tough to fight back.

“There’s concern, we haven’t got out of the gate this year as well as we’d like to,” Owens said. “This will be tough this week again trying to adjust to that offense.”

Owens said that the AU offense is the best in the GLIAC, but that they would have a tough task this week as they are up against a very stout defense from Northwood. The defense is led by senior linebacker, Michael Fisher, who is second in the GLIAC with 52 tackles on the season. 

The Eagles will be back home as they look to get back in the win column in the homecoming game against Northwood. Homecoming festivities will include the third annual WRDL Tailgate Party which will be located out in front of Jack Miller Stadium and will begin at 10 a.m. and continue up to kickoff.