No. 18 Eagles fall to No. 17 Ohio Dominican in road loss

Steve Shrenkel, Reporter

On an extremely rainy and wet Saturday night, the Ashland University football team fell to Ohio Dominican, 24-17 in their first away game of the season.

The No. 18 Eagles dropped to 0-2 with the loss while the No. 17 Panthers improve to 2-0.

Even with the tough playing conditions, Eagles head coach Lee Owens would not use that as an excuse for his teams performance.

“You know you have to play in these conditions,” Owens said. “We won a game last year with these conditions in the playoffs. You just have to be able to make some plays and not give the ball away. When you give the ball away on a turnover, it makes a big difference in the game.”

Ashland kicked off the game with redshirt freshman quarterback Austin Brenner, who got his first start of his collegiate career, marching the Eagles down the field 65-yards before senior tailback Andrew Vaughn punched the ball into the endzone on a three yard run, giving AU a 7-0 lead only three and a half minutes into the game.

On ODU’s first possession, the Panthers were only able to drive to about midfield. This was before sophomore defensive end Je’len Olbrantz got a big defensive stop by stuffing running back E.J. Colson on fourth-and-inches for a one-yard loss and turnover on downs.

On the Eagles ensuing possession, Brenner showed off his scrambling ability as he was able to run for 34-yards, scoring a touchdown and giving AU a 14-0 advantage with 5:58 left to go in the first quarter.

The Panthers would finally get on the board after kicker Jed Quackenbush nailed a 34-yard field goal before Ashland would respond right away with sophomore kicker Satchel Denton nailing a 39-yard field goal of his own leaving AU with a 17-3 lead going into the second quarter.

At the start of the second period, Ohio Dominican quarterback Shane Bucenell found wide receiver Cedric Washington in the endzone for a 30-yard touchdown pass, tightening the gap on AU 17-10.

Cedric Washington (3) tracks a 30 yard touchdown pass from Shane Bucenell (6) to bring the game within one possession.

The rest of the first half was dominated by both teams defenses as neither teams offense could get anything going in the increasing rain.

The beginning of the second half saw the Panthers driving down the field before being forced into a short fourth down situation. The Eagles would get called for pass interference on the ensuing play, giving ODU a first down. This allowed Bucenell to find wide receiver Cory Contini on an 8-yard pass to tie the game 17-17.

On the Eagles next possession, Brenner would fumble the ball following a sack, giving the ball to the Panthers on the Eagle five-yard line. Bucenell would find Cortini again on a 5-yard fade route to give Ohio Dominican a 24-17 lead with 9:45 left to go in the third quarter.

The Eagles attempted to drive right back but were stopped by the Panthers on a fourth-and-two play at ODU’s 18-yard line.

AU would get one last shot in the fourth quarter to tie up the game with Brenner driving the team down the field. Brenner would have a key third-down conversion when he found freshman wide receiver William McDaniel for 20-yards to keep the drive alive.

Brenner also then converted on a fourth-and-4 to sophomore receiver Logan Bolin to keep the game going but couldn’t get another fourth-down conversion with an incomplete pass to give the Panthers the win.

The Eagles struggled with penalties throughout the night with nine total accounting for 97-yards.

“We had a lot of penalties that were there,” Owens said. “We have to be a little more disciplined.”

Brenner finished the game with 196-yards passing going 19-for-27. He also had 38-yards rushing on the night.

Vaughn finished the game with 69-yards rushing on 22 attempts and a touchdown.

For the Panthers, Bucenell had 110-yards passing going 14-for-20 with three touchdowns. Contini lead all receivers with 41-yards and two touchdown catches.

The Eagles will look for their first win of the season as they travel to Wayne State (1-1) to take on the Warriors on Sept. 15 at 6 p.m., opening up Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.