TIFFIN, OHIO – Freshman running back Rod Smith (Bartow, Fla./Bartow) rushed for a career-high 172 yards and a school-record three touchdowns as the Lake Erie College football team picked up its first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory in record fashion with a 52-42 road win in a shootout over Tiffin University Saturday (Nov. 5) at Frost-Kalnow Stadium.
The 52 points scored were the most in the Storm's(2-8, 1-8 GLIAC) four-year varsity history, as were the five total rushing touchdowns. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak for Lake Erie.
Smith and senior quarterback Sean Bedevelsky (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick) each ran for two touchdowns in the first half as the Storm ran out to a 34-21 lead. The duo were part of Lake Erie's season-high 270-yard rushing day.
Lake Erie wasted little time getting on the board, going 65 yards on five plays to open the game. Bedevelsky took it in from a yard-out for the game's first score. A 22-yard scamper by Tiffin (0-10, 0-9 GLIAC) quarterback, James Capello tied the game up at 7-7.
The Storm scored on consecutive possessions to widen the margin. Bedevelsky threw a 10-yard pass to senior Patrick Lunney (Mt. Shasta, Calif./Mt. Shasta/College of the Siskiyous) to cap an 11-play, 87-yard drive, and then Bedevelsky kept the ball on an option play for a seven-yard run to end a 10-play, 86-yard drive and make the score 20-7.
Tiffin's Capello alternated two touchdown passes to Bertram Marks with Smith scoring runs for the Storm in the final eight minutes of the half to keep it a two-score game. Smith finished the first half with 118 yards on 13 carries, while Lunney had 52 yards on just four attempts in the opening two quarters. As a team, Lake Erie gained 190 yards on the ground and had 316 total yards in the first half.
After stopping Tiffin on its opening drive of the second half, the Storm drove the field and extended the lead on a five-yard pass from Bedevelsky to freshman tight end Andrew Schickler (Doylestown, Ohio/Chippewa) and a two-point conversion pass from Matt Krumpak (McDonald, Ohio/McDonald) to kicker Sam Marcotte (Chardon, Ohio/Chardon). After Capello threw another touchdown pass, this one to Obadiah Dykes, arcotte connected on a 32-yard field goal to make the score 45-28 after three quarters.
Capello's fourth touchdown pass, a six-yarded to Brendton Williams, opened the fourth quarter scoring and closed Tiffin within 10 points at 45-35. But the Storm recovered the onside kick attempt and, following a third-down pass interference penalty, Smith took an option pitch and went in from three yards out to go over the 50-point mark for the first time.
Tiffin continued to fight, getting a seven-yard touchdown from Capello to Marcus Beaurem and then recovering the ensuing onside kick attempt with just over three minutes to go.
But the Storm defense came up with its biggest stand of the game, stopping the Dragons at the Lake Erie 36. Senior lightning end Kevin Chapman (Cincinnati, Ohio/Anderson) had a big sack on third down and Beaurem couldn't hold on to a fourth-down throw as he was hit by a Storm defender, securing the 10-point victory.
Smith ran 21 times to get his 172 yards and became the first Storm runner to cross the goal line three times in a game. Bedevelsky scored twice on the ground for the second consecutive game while Lunney gained 68 yards on seven carries to go along with his touchdown catch.
Senior Brandon James (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) caught seven passes for 95 yards to lead the Storm receiving corps. Bedevelsky was 14-of-21 passing for 161 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
In direct contrast to the Storm, Tiffin did its offensive damage through its "Air Raid" attack. Capello was 43-of-52 passing for 374 yards with five touchdowns and an interception, hitting Dykes 16 times for 117 yards and three others at least six times. Marks had six grabs for 110 yards and two scores.
The Dragons rushed for just 80 yards, but outgained the Storm 490-431.
Defensively for the Storm, Gus Armbruster (North Royalton, Ohio/North Royalton) had a game-high 11 tackles. Cameron Bryant (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King) had nine stops while Chapman finished with eight, with 1.5 sacks. Freshman Stacy Woodford (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman) picked off his first career interception.
Mike Virgin had 11 tackles to lead Tiffin.
The Storm closes out the 2011 season next week at home on Seniors Day and Veterans Appreciation Day against Ashland University. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Jack Britt Memorial Stadium.