THE TURNING POINT: Ahead 3-0 in the first quarter, Ashland went on a 10-play, 83-yard drive to extend the lead to 10-0, and the Eagles didn't look back.
It was quite the afternoon for the 17th-ranked Ashland University football team on Saturday (Oct. 8).
Playing their 93rd Homecoming game on Saturday, the Eagles defeated Northwood, 45-7. Ashland improves to 5-1 overall, 4-1 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while the Timberwolves are 1-5, 1-5.
AU also is 63-25-5 all-time in its Homecoming contest, and has a 15-game GLIAC regular-season home winning streak, best in the conference.
In addition to the victory, a pair of Eagle single-game records were tied on Saturday. Junior quarterback Travis Tarnowski threw five touchdown passes to tie a record he accomplished two years earlier. It is the fifth time an Ashland QB has thrown for five TDs in a game.
Tarnowski also was 26-for-36 for 332 yards in the win for his ninth career 300-yard passing game, and his third in as many games.
"We took a loss last week (at Tiffin), so everyone was really focused," Tarnowski said. "We had a really bad taste in our mouth. We needed to get back on track. We did a really good job of preparing this week. Everybody was laser focused."
Junior tight end Adam Shaheen tied the Ashland mark for touchdown catches in a game with four, originally set by wide receiver Vance Kinney against Slippery Rock in 1992. He finished Saturday's game with seven catches for 109 yards, giving him five career 100-yard games and three in a row. In the last three games, Shaheen has 24 catches for 426 yards and eight touchdowns.
"If I'm the primary guy, then they are looking at me, and if I'm not, I'm just trying to do my job every play and open it up for everyone else," said Shaheen. "Me and Travis…we're starting to just kind of click and play. Some of those plays out there are just backyard football."
The Ashland single-season record for touchdown receptions is 12 by Joe Horn in 2010 – Shaheen has 11 in the first six games of 2016.
A career-long 39-yard field goal by junior kicker Aidan Simenc put the Eagles on top 3-0 just 4:41 into the game, then Tarnowski found sophomore wide receiver Matthew Wilcox for a 20-yard touchdown at the 4:16 mark of the first.
"We talked about getting out of the gate quick," said Ashland head coach Lee Owens, whose team had a lead at the end of the first quarter for the first time since the 2016 season-opener. "We thought it might take us a while to adjust to their offense, but honestly, I thought our guys, from the very beginning on defense, had a great bead on what they were doing."
Ashland's next four scores were Tarnowski-to-Shaheen touchdown passes of 32, 32, five and seven yards. Following Northwood's only points of the game with 5:28 left in the fourth quarter, freshman tailback Keishaun Sims ran the ensuing kickoff back 92 yards for the contest's final points.
Sophomore wide receiver Kamaron Green caught six passes for 91 yards, all in the first half.
Defensively, senior linebackers Zach Olszewski (10 total tackles) and Brandon Gency (nine total tackles, two for loss) led the way. The Eagles allowed Northwood just seven points and 184 yards of total offense.
The nation's third-best team in third-down conversions coming into Saturday at 59.7 percent, Ashland was 10-of-14 (71.4 percent) against the Timberwolves.
UP NEXT: Oct. 15 at 1 p.m. at Lake Erie.