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Archive for September 23rd, 2017

Ohio Northern shuts down big-play offense of Otterbein, 35-7


September 23, 2017

By Tim Glon

ADA — Ohio Northern celebrated its Homecoming Weekend with a 35-7 football victory over Otterbein on a warm Saturday afternoon at Dial-Roberson Stadium.

The Polar Bears (2-1 overall, 1-1 Ohio Athletic Conference) used a dominating second half in the victory, holding the Cardinals (3-1, 2-1) to just 40 yards of total offense and one first down in the final 30 minutes.

Meanwhile the ONU offense would gain 243 yards of offense and score 22 points in the second half to put the game away.

Ohio Northern had several outstanding performances on the offensive side of the ball, led by junior quarterback Will Freed (Carlsbad, Calif./San Marcos), who completed 28-of-33 passes for 311 yards and 4 TDs.

Junior receiver Chad Rex (Bradenton, Fla./Lakewood Ranch) caught six passes for 140 yards and three of those TD passes and sophomore tailback Christiaan Williams (Anna) ran 32 times for 162 yards and a TD.

“We were very concerned about Otetrbein’s offense coming into the game,” ONU head coach Dean Paul said. “They hadn’t been stopped yet this year. We had a solid week of preparation and that carried over into the game. We tackled well and contained their skill people. Offensively, we played well for the most part, but missed some scoring opportunities. But overall this was a good win against a good team.”

The Polar Bears took the opening kickoff and marched 74 yards on 10 plays and scored when Williams plowed in from a yard out. Junior Joe French (Elgin, Ill./St. Edward Central Catholic) made the extra point and it was 7-0 ONU with 5:40 gone in the contest.

OU tied the game at 7-7 on its second possession of the game, driving 65 yards in eight plays and scoring on a 16-yard pass from Logan Stepp to Hunter Joseph with 56 seconds left in the opening period.

Northern took a 13-7 lead into intermission when Freed hit junior Brenden Hadley (Bradenton, Fla./Lakewood Ranch) on a 21-yard TD pass with just 20 seconds left in the half.

The second half would be all Polar Bears as ONU would limit the OU offense to five 3-and-outs and a 5-play drive that ended in an interception by sophomore Greg Dennis (Mount Vernon).

Freed hit Rex on an 8-yard TD pass with 7:11 left in the third quarter to make it 19-7. Freed then hit Rex again on the 2-point conversion and it was 21-7 Polar Bears.

After a short Cardinal punt, Northern marched 45 yards in just three plays and scored on a 43-yard TD strike from Freed to Rex and it was 28-7 with 3:45 left in the third.

Junior Caleb Saalfeld (Modesto, Calif./Beyer) returned a punt to the OU 39-yard line early in the fourth quarter.

It took ONU seven plays to score and a 15-yard TD pass from Freed to Rex made it 35-7 with 8:55 left in the game.

Defensively, senior Zach Schmerge (Wapakoneta) had six tackles and junior Justin Croswell (Macomb, Mich./Lutheran North) had five tackles and a sack.

Ohio Northernout-gained Otterbein 496-142 in total offense (including a 319-71 advantage in the air), won the first down battle 25-9 and held the ball for 38:07.

The Polar Bears will return to action next Saturday with a 1:30 pm contest at No. 2-ranked Mount Union in Alliance.



Recapping, high-scoring Cardinals offense wallops Wilmington on Homecoming, 56-28 to go 3-0


WESTERVILLE, Ohio – The Cardinal football team remained perfect on the young season Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium, flying past visiting Wilmington College by a score of 56-28 as part of Homecoming weekend.

Otterbein, now 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC), opened a 28-0 lead by halftime and ultimately finished the day with 466 yards of total offense.

The Cards needed just two plays to score on their opening possession, as quarterback Logan Stepp connected with wide receiver Julian Lowe on a 39-yard aerial strike. Otterbein had taken over in plus-territory after senior defensive end Kyle Blust blocked a Wilmington punt.

Otterbein proceeded to build the lead from that point with three more touchdowns prior to intermission. Stepp was involved in all three, finding tight end Josh Plieninger on a six-yard pass, punching a short one in himself on fourth-and-goal, and then hitting Lowe on a quick strike near the goal line a bit later.

The Cards moved the lead to 35-0 early in the third quarter on a defensive touchdown, watching corner Prince Franklinintercept a pass and sprint 26 yards to pay dirt. Wilmington (1-1, 0-1 OAC) was able to notch a pair of TD’s in the third quarter, but Otterbein continued moving the ball at ease to keep the Quakers at a comfortable distance.

Running backs Isaiah RichmondChristian Johnson and Dakota Smith all added second-half touchdowns in the ground game, with Johnson pacing the group at 91 yards on 16 totes.

Stepp continued his sharp play, completing 16 of 20 passes for 227 yards and three scores. He also added a rushing score and now has 14 total TD’s on the season.

Wide receiver Hunter Joseph, the reigning OAC ‘Offensive Player of the Week,’ turned in six catches for 110 yards while Lowe finished with five grabs for 72 yards and the pair of touchdowns. He needs six more to tie the program’s career record of 29.

Senior linebacker Austin Jones tied for a game-high nine tackles while fellow running mates Steven Masters and Ryan Tuchow both tallied eight. Freshman cornerback Brandon Paschal made his third interception of the year.

Wilmington’s P.J. Meyer matched Joseph for a game-high six catches, resulting for 102 yards. Otterbein held a 26-14 edge in first downs.

Otterbein will not play at home again for a month, beginning a four-week stretch that includes three road games and a bye. The Cards will travel to Ohio Northern this coming Saturday for a 1:30 kickoff.



Recapping, Otterbein offense scores early and often in 41-27 win over Muskingum

WESTERVILLE, Ohio – The Otterbein football team struck early and often in its home opener Saturday at Memorial Stadium, flying past Muskingum University for an eventual 41-27 triumph in the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) opener for both teams.

The Cardinals, now 2-0 on the young season, opened a lopsided 41-6 cushion midway through the fourth quarter before Muskingum strung together a few late touchdowns to significantly shrink the final margin.

Otterbein ignited its home crowd on the first play from scrimmage, with quarterback Logan Stepp finding classmate Hunter Joseph on a 55-yard TD pass over the top. Muskingum appeared to have also scored on its first possession, but an ineligible-man downfield brought the play back and the visitors were later forced to punt.

The Cardinals began adding to their lead from there, with Stepp hitting Joseph on ensuing touchdown passes of eight and 14 yards that ran the lead to 20-0 by the beginning stages of the second quarter.

Freshman defensive back Brandon Paschal then helped the defense escape once again later in the period, jumping a slant route for his second interception in as many games. Stepp put a punctuation mark on the first half, busting a 76-yard TD run up the gut and pushing the lead to 27-0 entering halftime.

Otterbein quickly moved the margin to 34-0 in the third frame, culminating a 10-play, 66-yard drive with a six-yard aerial strike from Stepp to wide receiver Julian Lowe. Muskingum later got on the board with a short TD run, but the Cards answered right back with another lengthy possession that ended on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Stepp to Payton Vanderkooi for the 41-6 lead.

Muskingum strung together those late scoring drives, but it wouldn’t be enough as Otterbein would go on to win its sixth-straight conference opener. The Cards finished with 499 yards of total offense after a kneel down on the final play brought them under the 500 mark.

Stepp had a hand in all six of Otterbein’s touchdowns, completing 16 of 25 passes for 307 yards and five TD’s and then scampering for another 121 yards and a score on the ground. Joseph finished with seven catches for 181 yards and his three touchdowns, most of that damage coming in the first half, while Lowe posted a game-high eight grabs for 97 yards.

Safety Fred Hardgrove spearheaded the defense throughout, making a career-high 16 tackles throughout plays all over the field. Linebacker Jake Harper had 11 stops while running mate Austin Jones tallied eight.

Muskingum freshman quarterback Brody Hahn’s final numbers ended up at 23 of 37 for 364 yards and three TD’s, and running back Bernard Johnson went for 91 yards. Tight end Granger Long had a team-best seven grabs while Darius Hayes-Carruth posted 104 receiving yards.

Otterbein will stay at home throughout the next week and ultimately play host to Wilmington College (1-0) as part of Homecoming weekend. The Quakers defeated Earlham, 49-20, in week one before taking their bye.



Recapping, Ottrbein Football opens 2017 with 36-15 win at Ohio Wesleyan

DELAWARE, Ohio – The Otterbein football team opened its season with a nice road victory Saturday evening, slowly pulling away to secure a 36-15 triumph at nearby Ohio Wesleyan.

The Cardinals, snapping a four-game losing skid in season openers, received an inspired defensive effort with five turnovers and ultimately delivered a 567-299 advantage in total offense. Otterbein picked off four passes on the night after making six interceptions all of last season.

Quarterback Logan Stepp eventually punched in the first touchdown of 2017, slipping free and running 11 yards to the outside for an early advantage. Freshman Brandon Paschal intercepted a deep OWU pass on the next sequence, but the hosts came up with a tackle for loss on the ensuing play to get on the board with a safety.

Stepp threw for a career-high 402 yards on the night and had four touchdowns collectively, two with his arm and two with his legs. He also added 62 yards rushing to end the night with 464 of total offense, which flirted with his school-record of 477 last season.

Senior Julian Lowe finished with nine catches for 147 yards out wide, while Joseph and tight end Josh Plieningerhauled in five balls each. The Cards held a 31-11 edge in first downs and possessed the ball for almost 40 minutes.

Paschal tallied a team-high 10 tackles in his Otterbein debut while Hardgrove and linebacker Jake Harper both had seven. Masters was impressive throughout, totaling five tackles (3.5 for loss), two sacks and the forced fumble.



Football Flyers drop to an uncharacteristic 1-3 after 34-28 come-from-behind win by Morehead State

Flyers Fall At Morehead State, 34-28

MOREHEAD, Ky.  – The University of Dayton football team dropped a 34-28 decision at Morehead State Saturday in the Pioneer Football League opener for both teams.  Morehead scored the last 21 points of the game over the last eleven-and-a-half minutes of the game.

The Flyers are now 1-3 on the year, while the Eagles even their record at 2-2.

Dayton was led by running backs Sean Prophit and Tucker Yinger, who each gained 104 yards rushing, and quarterback Kyle Kaparos, who was 13 of 23 passing for 163 yards, and also ran for 54.

UD is back home next Saturday, Sept. 30 against PFL preseason favorite San Diego. It will be a special 12 noon kickoff.  The San Diego game is Dayton’s annual alumni reunion game, and the featured guests of honor will be the members of the 2007 team that won a PFL title, defeated Albany in the Gridiron Classic, and was named the NCAA Division I-AA Mid-Major National Champions.

•For the first time this season, UD did not crack the scoreboard first.  Morehead State drove took the opening kickoff and drove 67 yards on seven plays.  Jarin Higginbotham caught a 38-yard deep ball from Page Lawson to give MSU a 7-0 lead.
•Dayton came right back, tying the game on a Sean Prophit eight-yard run after an eight-play, 78-yard drive.  7-7 after one quarter.
•The Flyers needed seven plays to go 75 yards, taking the lead on running back Cole Kaparos’ first career TD, a one-yard run.
•Just before halftime, J.P. Forcucci took a swing pass from Kyle Kaparos and turned it into a 40-ayrd TD, giving UD a 21-7 leads at halftime.
•Duquesne answered just before halftime with a 68-yard drive, with Stuart hitting Kellon Taylor from 15 to make the halftime score Duquesne 21, Dayton 14.
•The Eagles used another long pass, this time a 52-yard catch-and run by Christian Robinson, to cut the Dayton lead to 21-13 (after a missed PAT) for the only scoring in the third quarter.
•Dayton used 14 plays to go 69 yards to open the fourth quarter scoring, with quarterback Kyle Kaparos also scoring his first career TD on a six-yard run.  Dayton 28, Morehead 13
•Morehead State scored another long TD, this time on the ground to make it an eight point game.  Logan Holbrook broke through for a 60-yard run.  Dayton 20, Morehead 20
•MSU scored again, Robinson from Page for a seven-yard score, but as he did to preserve the SEMO win in week two, linebacker Jack Crain intercepted the pass on the two-point try, keeping the Dayton lead at 28-26.
•The Flyers moved the ball down the field and burned 3:35 off the clock, but turned it over on downs at the MSU 17. The Eagles took the lead four plays later on a Page to Robinson 55-yard connection.  The two-point conversion was good and Morehead State led 34-28.
•With just 44 seconds to work with, Dayton moved the ball from its own 34 to the MSU 17.  But the final play with three seconds left was incomplete in the end zone, and Morehead held on.

•Prophit’s 100-yard game was the first of his career.  He carried the ball 16 times for a 6.5 yard-per-carry average.
•Yinger carried the ball 20 times for his 104 yards.  It was his third 100-yard game of the season, and the seventh of his career.  He now has 1,758 yards rushing, 16th all-time at Dayton.
•Kyle Kaparos was 13 of 23 passing for a career-high 163 yards.  He also ran the ball 11 times for 54 yards.  He came into the game with 17 attempts for minus-2 yards.
•Adam Trautman led UD in receptions for the fourth time this year, with six catches for 45 yards.
•J.P. Forcucci added three catches for 62 yards.
•Three Flyer defenders reached double figures in tackles –Jack Crain (11), Jason Balogh (10, 6 solo) and Andrew McCormick (10).
• Sean Smith averaged 42.4 yards per punt, and two were inside the 20 with no touchbacks.

•All four Dayton games this year have been decided by six points or less.
•The Flyers have not been shutout in 458 straight games, the best active string in college football.
•Tucker Yinger now has 1,758 yards rushing, 16th all-time at Dayton, in just 22 career games.