Ashland University sophomore running back Vance Settlemire didn't have a very good time of it during his first collegiate game in his hometown last year.
He took matters into his own hands to avoid a repeat Saturday afternoon.
Settlemire ran for second-half touchdowns of 56 and 47 yards to help the AU football team clinch a 45-23 victory at nationally-ranked Findlay. He finished the day with 121 rushing yards on just eight carries – a much better day than the six yards on three carries and a last-second loss in the 2013 meeting.
"The adrenaline, once you see the end zone, you've just got to go," said Settlemire, who had been dinged up in recent weeks. "This is my high school field. Coming back here and getting the big win, it really feels good.
"We knew it was going to be a four-quarter game. We executed well. The holes were huge."
Settlemire is the GLIAC leader in yards per carry at a whopping 13.4 on 27 attempts. Ashland is the only team in the conference with two running backs averaging at least 90 rushing yards per game (Anthony Taylor 105.5, Settlemire 90.8).
"He's a great running back, great role model," Settlemire said of Taylor. "We're good friends. We go out there and we execute every chance we get."
AU head coach Lee Owens said of Settlemire's two long scoring jaunts, "You never know whose day it's going to be. Vance has been a little beat up, so I'm reluctant to play him, trying to get him healthy. But we just needed a spark at the end…we just thought he would give us a spark, and he did."
HOOBLER CLINCHES WIN WITH INT TD – Ashland senior defensive end Chase Hoobler reached out to pick off a Findlay pass and return it 36 yards for a touchdown with 10:46 left in the game. That put the Eagles ahead 38-20, and they never looked back.
"All I saw on that play is I had outside contain, the quarterback took a quick drop set and I knew he was going to try to get rid of the ball pretty fast," said Hoobler. "I just saw the running back flare out on my side, so I kind of bent off on it and he lobbed it right up and I was able to get it."
Owens said, "It's just a great play. He plays with a lot of heart, and he plays hard. He's just fun to watch. Just a good football player."
Hoobler, a transfer from Indiana, finished the day with three total tackles and the pick, as the Eagles kept the Oilers to their lowest point total of the young 2014 campaign.
"Bend, but don't break," Hoobler said. "(If) we give them three touchdowns instead of field goals, that's a whole different ball game. The defense played very well in the red zone."
TAYLOR WATCH – The senior tailback now has at least 75 rushing yards in 16 consecutive games going back to the end of the 2012 season. He also has 3,701 career rushing yards, now third all-time in AU program history and just 242 behind all-time rushing leader Keith Weaver.
GLIAC RANKINGS – Ashland is second in the GLIAC in points per game (43.0) through four weeks, is third in rushing offense (252.5 yards per game) and is tied for third in fewest penalties (16)…both Taylor (sixth) and Settlemire (10th) are in the top 10 in rushing yards per game, and both are in the top 10 in all-purpose yards per game (Taylor seventh, 118.0; Settlemire eighth, 116.2)…Taylor is tied for fourth in points with 36…senior wide receiver Dan Piko is tied for fifth in receptions (20)…junior running back Michael Taylor is third in kickoff return average (27.3)…senior linebackers Cody Bloom (second, 43) and Chris Harvey (seventh, 34) are in the top 10 in total tackles…Bloom also leads the GLIAC in assisted tackles with 27.
EAGLE NUGGETS – Saturday marked the third time this season that at least three Eagles ran for a touchdown in the same game. Ashland is 3-0 in those games…Junior wide receiver Drew Brenner posted career-highs in receptions (five) and receiving yards (65) on Saturday…In his first game reinstated as the Eagles' placement kicker, sophomore Anthony McCarthy was 6-for-6 on extra points and hit his only field goal attempt, a 29-yarder…The Eagles stopped the Oilers on all four fourth-down conversions Saturday. Findlay's offense had been 7-for-9 on fourth down in the first three games of 2014…All three of Ashland's turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble lost) this season have come on fourth down.