Eagles earn first win in GLIAC opener against Wayne State

Steve Shrenkel

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The Ashland University football team earned their first victory of the season against the Wayne State Warriors 30-21 as they opened up Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic play on Saturday (Sept. 15) evening at Tom Adams Field in Detroit.

With the win, the Eagles improve to 1-2 overall and 1-0 in the GLIAC. The Warriors fall to 1-2,0-1. Ashland now has a 12-4 all-time record on the road against Wayne State.

The Warriors kicked off the opening possession trying to establish the run. The Eagles defense, however, had different plans in mind as they immediately forced a three-and-out.

Ashland would get great field position at the Warrior 25-yard line following a fumbled snap on Wayne State’s punt attempt.

It then only took four plays for AU to drive 25-yards down the field where senior running back Andrew Vaughn ran the ball into the endzone on a four-yard scamper to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead with 12:54 left to go in the first quarter.

The Ashland defense would come up big yet again on the Warriors next two offensive possessions as they forced consecutive three-and-outs.

Wayne State, however, would begin to find offensive rhythm on their third possession before junior safety Nick Powers would intercept a pass from quarterback Jake AmRhein to cut the drive just short of a score.

The Warriors would come right back on their next possession and tie the game 7-7 with a 30-yard pass over two Eagle defenders from AmRhein to wide receiver Darece Roberson Jr. with 8:20 left to go in the second.

The Eagles answered back with a 51-yard run by Vaughn to set up junior running back Luke Ogi for a 12-yard dash to the endzone, giving AU the advantage 14-7.

Wayne State would score again, this time on a 5-yard pass from AmRhein to tight end Steven Glenn to knot the game up 14-14 before the end of the half.

Ashland began the second half in an offensive rhythm with Vaughn scoring on a 30-yard cutback run to give the Eagles a 21-14 advantage.

The Eagles defense would force their fourth three-and-out of the night before AU drove 45-yards down the field and would have to settle for a 32-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Satchel Denton to lift them to a 10 point lead at 24-14 with 3:26 left to go in the third quarter.

The Warriors wouldn’t give up, however, as AmRhein would throw his third touchdown pass of the night on their next possession. The 27-yarder to Roberson closed the gap 24-21 at the end of the third.

Sophomore cornerback C.J. Towns would get the ball back for Ashland with a fumble recovery before Denton would nail another field goal, this time a 28-yarder to extend their lead 27-21 with 9:44 left to go in the final quarter of play.

Ashland’s defense was as solid as ever on Wayne State’s next possession stopping the Warriors dead in their tracks and giving the Eagles offense some time to run the clock.

The Eagles would run the clock down to 30 seconds before Denton would seal the game with a 19-yard field goal to give AU a insurmountable 30-21 lead.

Ashland’s defense finished strong limiting the Warriors to only 71 rushing yards and 282 offensive yards in total. They also were able to come away with two interceptions and force four fumbles.

Junior linebacker Clay Shreve led the Eagles defense with eight tackles and nine total tackles. Senior defensive end James Prater Jr. chipped in seven total tackles of his own to go along with a sack and 1 ½ tackles for lost.

Eagles redshirt-freshman quarterback Austin Brenner finished the night going 15-for-20 on 113 passing yards. The Warriors AmRhein finished going 16-for-27 on 211-yards with three touchdowns and a pick.

Vaughn led all in rushing with 135-yards on 14 attempts to go along with two touchdowns.

Up next, the Eagles will be back home at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field for Ashland’s 95th Homecoming football game against the Northwood Timberwolves (0-3, 0-1) on Sept. 22 at 1 p.m.

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