Ashland University's football team's offense doesn't blink when it comes to having to go a long way to put points on the board.
In the 2016 season-opener on Thursday (Sept. 1) at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field, a 48-0 win over Mercyhurst, the No. 6-ranked Eagles scored seven touchdowns, and the average distance covered was 74.7 yards. Of those seven scoring drives, five went at least 73 yards, and two went 95 and 99 yards.
The 2015 season saw Ashland score on 26 drives of at least 73 yards, and five of at least 90 yards.
THE "D" PUTS UP THE GOOSE EGG: The shutout turned in by the Eagle defense was the first since a 65-0 blanking of Notre Dame College at home on Nov. 10, 2012. That could be quite the omen for the 2016 Ashland "D" – the 2012 squad shut out three opponents during that conference-title and NCAA Division II playoff season.
It also gives Ashland's defense a chance to do something that hasn't been done in the program in 53 years – allow no points to each of the first two opponents (the 1963 team had three shutouts to start the season).
BRUNS ADDS TO THE RÉSUMÉ: As a sophomore and junior, Austin Bruns was Ashland's No. 1 punter and No. 2 quarterback. As a senior, he has added full-time tight end to his duties.
On Thursday, Bruns caught his first career touchdown pass, an 18-yarder in the third quarter, was 1-for-1 for five yards passing and averaged 40.3 yards on three punts.
IT'S A FIRST-CARRY REDSHIRT FRESHMAN THING: On his first collegiate carry as a redshirt freshman in the 2015 season-opener at Lake Erie, tailback Andrew Vaughn raced 55 yards for a touchdown.
Fast-forward nearly a full calendar year later, and redshirt freshman tailback Luke Ogi ran 75 yards for a score on his first carry on Thursday night. Ogi's run was part of the Eagles' 320-yard rushing attack, the team's biggest output in a game since running for 376 yards last year against the Storm.
ROYCE TO KICK OFF 2016 HOF SALUTES: Former Ashland University All-American defensive lineman Bill Royce will be inducted into College Football Hall of Fame on Dec. 6, and Bill Royce Recognition Weekend on Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field will begin the National Football Foundation's Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes.
During the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, each inductee returns to his alma mater to accept a Hall of Fame plaque that will remain on permanent display at the institution. The events take place on the field during a home game, and many inductees cite the experience as the ultimate capstone to their careers, providing them one more chance to take the field and hear the crowd roar their name.
MEDER CONCLUDES 2016 PRESEASON: Yet another former Eagle All-American defensive lineman, Jamie Meder, finished his second preseason with the National Football League's Cleveland Browns on Thursday at home against the Chicago Bears. Meder saw action in eight plays on defense and two on special teams on Thursday.
Meder and the Browns will begin the 2016 National Football League regular season on Sept. 11 at 1 p.m. at the Philadelphia Eagles.
FLIPPING THROUGH THE RECORD BOOK: In addition to moving into third place on AU's all-time touchdown list at 37 on Thursday, senior tailback Vance Settlemire has 222 career points, which is fifth-most in Eagle history…Ashland's win against the Lakers was the program's 470th all-time…The Eagles have gone past the 17,000-point mark all-time (17,005)…Ashland is 8-3 all-time against Mercyhurst.