AU Eagles nab homecoming victory 37-17

By Matt Brubaker

Lee Owens walked into the postgame press conference Saturday afternoon with a smile on his face, and for good reason.

The Eagles won their first conference game of the season and snapped a three game losing skid by defeating the Northwood Timberwolves, 37-17 on a rainy afternoon at Jack Miller Stadium.

Ashland’s recent struggles were turnovers and lack of touchdowns in the red zone, but on Saturday, things changed. The Eagles did not turn the ball over for the second consecutive week and went 5-for-5 in the red zone, scoring four touchdowns and converting one field goal attempt.

Owens was happy with their success.

“We really challenged our guys all week in practice to execute in the red zone and they did, which was good,” Owens said. “For the last thirty years, whenever I would get inside the ten [yard line], I would get into the jumbo set and try and pound the ball, I think it’s my Ohio heritage. I joined the modern era of college football and spread it out today.”

The Eagles spread it out all afternoon, racking up a season-high 436 yards of offense.

Taylor Housewright had a career-high 284 yards on 20-of-24 passing with two touchdowns and also rushed for 16 yards on seven carries. He found Christian Livingston on a 33-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter giving the Eagles a 23-9 lead and later hooked up with Mike Knueven from five yards out extending Ashland’s lead to 30-9.

“I felt comfortable out there, it was really the first time I’ve felt that way,” Housewright said. “I did some of the things that I can do and didn’t press too much.”

One of his guys was D.J. McCoy, who eclipsed the 100-yard plateau for the second straight week, rushing for 131 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns, the first two of the season for McCoy.

McCoy’s scoring runs came in the first half when the game was still tight from five yards away in the first quarter and from 14 yards with just over a minute left in the second.

“Personally, I don’t care about scoring [touchdowns] too much,” McCoy said. “I like to control the clock, wear down the defense and give Taylor [Housewright] some chances. Eventually we’ll score running the ball if I do that, but there is more to it than just scoring all the time.”

On the defensive side of the ball, the Eagles held the Timberwolves to 313 yards of offense but allowed just one yard through the air.

Northwood’s “Woodbone”, run-based offense managed just one touchdown on the day and settled for long field goals by Pat Sijan, who connected from 49, 52 and 24 yards.

Senior linebacker, Carmon Wolfe was a big reason for the lack of success for Northwood’s offense, as he totaled 17 tackles, two sacks, three tackles for a loss and one forced fumble.

His performance earned him the GLIAC defensive player of the week.

“I went out there today and had the mindset to do my job and everything would fall into place,” Wolfe said. “We had some missed plays and some missed assignments, but that’s the thing with the option. The majority of the time, if you do your job, you will get the job done.”

The Eagles got the job done Saturday and will look to do much of the same at home this weekend against the Tiffin Dragons beginning at 1 p.m.