Taylor’s Record, Shutdown Defense Highlight Homecoming Win Over SVSU

Taylor’s Record, Shutdown Defense Highlight Homecoming Win Over SVSU

Ashland University senior tailback Anthony Taylor has broken many records in his 3½-plus seasons as an Eagle.

Saturday afternoon, however, he had the opportunity to break a record with the man he was passing in attendance.

Taylor, already Ashland's all-time touchdowns record-holder, became AU's football's all-time leading rusher, passing newly-minted Ashland University Sports Hall of Famer Keith Weaver, after gaining 108 yards in a 38-7 Homecoming victory over Saginaw Valley State.

The Eagles now are 5-1 overall and in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while the Cardinals now are 1-5, 1-4.

Taylor now has 3,967 career rushing yards. He passed Weaver (3,943) early in the third quarter.

"It feels pretty good," said Taylor, who noted he had a chance to talk to Weaver after the victory. "Real nice guy, seemed really down to Earth. He was very supportive. He said that if it had to be broken by anybody, he was glad it was me."

Said AU head coach Lee Owens, "I don't know if you could draw it up any better. I don't know if you could script it any better. It was a pretty special day."

Saginaw Valley scored first on a 28-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Keith Moore to wide receiver Leonte Degraffenreid with 11:45 left in the first quarter. That marked the first time the Eagles had trailed at home all season.

AU quickly responded, however, cashing in on a four-yard Taylor touchdown run following an eight-play, 82-yard drive which took just 3:09. Ashland then took the lead for good with 2:59 to go in the opening quarter when senior tailback Jordan McCune punched in a one-yard touchdown carry.

Ashland had a 17-7 halftime lead thanks to sophomore kicker Anthony McCarthy's 28-yard field with seven ticks to go in the second quarter.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Travis Tarnowski found sophomore fullback Dan Medvetz for a five-yard touchdown pass with 8:07 left in the third quarter, then both Anthony Taylor (four yards) and junior tailback Michael Taylor (26 yards) scored on fourth-quarter touchdown runs. 

Ashland's defense yielded just 182 yards to the Cardinals, and just 129 yards after SVSU's only scoring drive. Sophomore linebacker Brandon Gency paced the "D" with eight total tackles (seven solos), 1½ sacks and 2½ tackles for loss. 

"We're a pretty good defensive football team," Owens said.

The Eagles racked up 473 yards of total offense. Tarnowski was 16-for-29 for 217 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Senior wide receiver Dan Piko grabbed a career-high nine passes for 99 yards. Sophomore tailback Vance Settlemire ran 11 times for 72 yards in the victory. 

Starting next week, Ashland begins a stretch of three road games in the final four contests to end the regular season. Its Week 7 contest will be at Hillsdale in a 2:30 p.m. kickoff on Saturday, October 18.