THE TURNING POINT: Junior cornerback Dale Irby scored Ashland's first points on the program's first punt-return touchdown in a dozen years early in the first quarter.
STATS OF THE GAME: The Eagles ran for a season-high 358 yards, gained a season-high 630 yards of offense and allowed a season-low 153 yards on offense to the Storm.
PAINESVILLE, Ohio – Back on the road for the first time since its only loss of 2016, Ashland University's football team defeated Lake Erie, 63-6, on Saturday (Oct. 15) afternoon.
The No. 11-ranked Eagles improve to 6-1 overall and 5-1 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while the Storm is 0-7, 0-7.
"It was a great win today," said Ashland head coach Lee Owens. "Our defense played well, obviously offense played well. (And) we scored on special teams early."
After holding the Storm to a three-and-out on the first possession of the game, Ashland junior cornerback Dale Irby returned the ensuing punt 50 yards for a touchdown. It was the Eagles' first punt-return score in 12 years, giving them a 7-0 lead a little more than a minute into the contest.
On the first Eagle possession, senior tailback Vance Settlemire took a handoff on fourth down and raced 53 yards to put AU on top 14-0 with less than five minutes elapsed. It was Settlemire's first TD since Week 1 at home against Mercyhurst.
"I think that special teams punt return by Dale and then the big long run by Vance set the tone for the rest of the day," Owens said.
Ashland extended its lead to 21-0 with 6:05 to go until halftime when Settlemire helicoptered into the end zone on a one-yard run. Then, with 47 ticks left in the first half, junior quarterback Travis Tarnowski found sophomore wide receiver Kamaron Green for a 33-yard score and a 28-0 advantage.
Getting the ball first to start the second half, the Eagles marched down the field and scored on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Tarnowski to redshirt freshman wide receiver Stanley Jackson Jr. Tarnowski then found junior tight end Adam Shaheen for a 23-yard touchdown score, Shaheen's school-record-tying 12th touchdown catch of the 2016 season.
Redshirt freshman tailback Luke Ogi put the punctuation mark on the third quarter with a 43-yard touchdown run with 2:10 left to make the score 49-0, then scored on a 29-yard jaunt with 8:09 left for a 56-6 margin.
The final score of the game was a one-yard touchdown run by freshman fullback Clay Shreve.
Settlemire ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, while Ogi added 88 yards and two scores on six totes.
"We wanted to run the ball, there's no question," said Owens. "They still gave us some throws. They worked hard to take the tight end away. Most of the time, if you're doubling the tight end, the run game's going to be there."
Tarnowski (7,470) passed current AU wide receiver coach Taylor Housewright and moved into second place on the program's all-time passing yards list. Tarnowski was 15-for-18 for 272 yards and three scores against the Storm.
On defense, senior inside linebacker Zach Olszewski had a team-high eight total tackles to go with one sack, two tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a pass breakup, while sophomore defensive tackle James Prater Jr. added six total tackles, one sack, 1½ tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.
The Eagles have allowed single-digit points to four opponents in 2016, the program's best single-season showing since 2012 (four).
Ashland's 63 points are the program's single-game best since a 66-spot at home against the Storm on Sept. 6, 2014.
UP NEXT: Oct. 22 at 1 p.m. at non-conference foe Kentucky Wesleyan.