Eagles topple Northwood with Homecoming win

Steve Shrenkel

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In front of more than 3,500 cheering fans and alumni on Saturday (Sept. 22) afternoon, the Ashland University men’s football team toppled the Northwood Timberwolves 35-10 in AU’s 95th annual Homecoming game.

The Eagles improved to 2-2 overall and 2-0 in the Great Lakes Athletic Intercollegiate conference with the win. With the loss, the Timberwolves fell to 0-4 and 0-2 in the GLIAC.

AU was able balance out their offense against the Timberwolves, compared to previous games, with 234-yards passing and 249 rushing yards on the day.

On the other end, the defense dominated as they limited Northwood to only 58-yards through the air and 94-yards on the ground for the game.

Ashland Eagles head coach Lee Owens said the defense did exactly what it needed to do.

“That’s what we needed to do against this offense,” Owens said. “I’m sure they studied Harding film a year ago where they played the same kind of offense and kept the ball away from us and shortened the game with the fullback. We couldn’t let them do that.”

Owens knew the defensive dominance was a strength going in, he said.

“No one’s run the ball against us in four weeks,” Owens said. “We knew coming in that was the strength of our football team.”

Ashland began the first possession of the game on fire as they quickly scored after only three minutes into the game. Redshirt-junior Luke Ogi ran for a 4-yard touchdown run to give the Eagles a quick 7-0 advantage.

AU’s defense would stop the Timberwolves on their first possession before coming right back on the other end with a 1-yard touchdown run by freshman Ronald Lee to extend their lead 14-0.

On their next possession, senior running back Andrew Vaughn would set up the Eagles nicely with multiple runs before Ogi would score his first touchdown of the night to make the game 21-0 with 10:41 left to go in the second quarter.

The Timberwolves finally got on the board with a field goal before the end of the half to make the game 21-3.

Ashland got on the board yet again when freshman quarterback Austin Brenner led the team down the field before throwing a 25-yard touchdown pass to senior Kamaron Green to extend their lead to 28-3 with 8:33 left to go in the third quarter.

This was Brenner’s first touchdown pass of his career.

Brenner would continue to perform well and have another solid drive which he capped off with a 5-yard pass to Green for a 35-3 lead.

The Timberwolves attempted to get back into the game after a 4-yard touchdown run from Christian Martinez to make the game 35-10 but it was too little, too late as the Eagles went on to completely shut down Northwood for the rest of the game.

Even though Owens was happy with the balanced offensive attack from the Eagles, he said he was not pleased with the nine penalties that Ashland got called on them for 113-yards.

“As good as the win was, we have to be more disciplined,” Owens said. “There is no excuse for several of the penalties that we’ve had this afternoon. That’s unlike us. It’s not acceptable.”

Brenner finished the game going 17-for-29 with 227-yards and two touchdowns.

“It’s a learning process every week,” Brenner said. “It’s just been fun being out there with the guys, and being able to do our thing.”

Owens was pleased with the quarterback’s performance and said that Brenner may have an “it” factor.

“He’s got this calm demeanor about him,” Owens said. “He doesn’t change his personality. It always stays the same. I think he has that “it” factor at the quarterback position where he makes guys around him better sometimes than what they are just because of how he plays,”

Ogi led the team in rushing with 82-yards and two touchdowns on the day.

He credits the offensive line’s ability to make holes for the running backs as a contributing factor to their success on the ground.

“Offensive line did a great job tonight as always,” Ogi said. “They’re getting better with every game that goes on in the season. We have a young group up front but they’ve done a great job every game and gave me and Andrew (Vaughn) a lot of holes to run through and today was another testament to that.”

Brenner also showed off his legs against the Timberwolves with 42 rushing yards.

Owens said that his ability to run and create offense is what makes Brenner potentially unique.

“He runs better,” Owens said. “He has the best feet of the three guys we’ve coached here. He’s converted a couple of big fourth downs with his feet. That’s the one thing that’s a little different than the others.”

Green led all receivers with 92-yards and two touchdown catches. Freshman wide receiver Garrett Turnbaugh also chipped in 42-yards on the day.

On the defensive side, AU was led by junior inside linebacker Clay Shreve. Shreve finished the game with 11 total tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss.

Sophomore linebacker Ryan Corkean corralled eight tackles while senior defensive end James Prater Jr. finished the game with seven total tackles.

Next week, on Saturday (Sept. 29) afternoon, the Eagles will travel to Top Taggart Field to take on the No. 6 ranked Ferris State Bulldogs in conference play.

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