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Adrian makes Michigan’s college football debut: ‘We’re risk-takers’

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Central Michigan football coach Jim McElwain speaks to the media on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020.

Detroit Free Press

ADRIAN — Win or lose, Adrian College football coach Jim Deere didn’t really care.

OK, he wanted to win. But considering the circumstances, encompassed by the COVID-19 pandemic, an unexpected emotion of bliss overcame him as he walked off the field Saturday afternoon at Docking Stadium, even though his team lost, 44-27, to Trine University (Indiana).

“At least I have the opportunity to be disappointed,” Deere said Saturday. “A lot of teams don’t get that chance. I had a chance to be satisfied with a victory; I had a chance to be disappointed. I’ll take either one of those in the world of COVID right now.”

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Drive 90 minutes southwest of Detroit, and you’ll enter the town of Adrian. That’s where NCAA Division III Adrian College, with a total of 1,865 students, resides. The school has 48 sports teams — from bass fishing to football — and about 1,100 of those students proudly apply the athlete (and band) tag to their status.

On Saturday, Adrian became the first team in Michigan to play a college football game in the 2020-21 academic year. The Bulldogs have three scheduled games this fall, followed by a full conference slate this spring in conjunction with the MIAA.

“Expecting the worst but always ready to play,” said junior quarterback Jack Wurzer, who completed 11-of-28 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns. “I like to think of this as like an NFL preseason. This is for fun. We’re grateful that we can play … and I think it’s going to lead up to the spring really good.”

For subscribers:As fall football in Michigan nears extinction, these schools are