Second-Half Defense Has Been Eagles’ Closer In 2017

Second-Half Defense Has Been Eagles’ Closer In 2017

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Thanks to a dominant effort in which it allowed just three points in Ashland University's 20-3 win over No. 2-ranked Ferris State on Saturday (Sept. 23) night at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field, the Eagles' defense has shot up to second place in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in scoring defense (16.0 ppg.).

That in and of itself is impressive, given the offenses Ashland has faced in the first four weeks of the 2017 season. Drilling down further, the Eagle "D" has been most stingy when the stakes are highest.

- In the opening-game 26-23 loss at nationally-ranked Indiana, Pa., with the outcome still up for grabs, the Crimson Hawks scored just two field goals, punted three times and were intercepted once in six drives in the game's final 30 minutes.

- The 47-21 win at home vs. Ohio Dominican saw Ashland, in four second-half drives, yield one touchdown while forcing a punt and two turnovers on downs.

- Leading 42-0 at halftime at Northwood, and rotating players in and out consistently due to the heat and the score, the Eagles allowed two touchdowns and kept the Timberwolves to two punts, a turnover on downs and the end of the game in six drives.

- Finally, against the Bulldogs, Ashland put the second-half clamps down, giving up 74 yards and no points on 29 plays over seven drives. Ferris State punted four times, had a turnover on downs, threw an interception and had the ball when the game ended.

"To be able to take that team, with all that talent and all their tools, (and) a big, physical offensive line, and hold them to three points, I don't know if it gets much better than that," said Ashland head coach Lee Owens. "I just stood back in awe and watched our defense play."

Said senior cornerback Dale Irby, "We prepared hard. We were ready for them. We just played our game."

 

Knocking Off FSU Adds To Miller/Martinelli Mystique

The Eagles are 38-8 (.826) at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field since the venue opened in 2009. There have been some memorable victories during that time, and the following are the highest-ranked teams Ashland has defeated at home in the last eight-plus seasons:

 

DATE

OPPONENT

RANKING

SCORE

9-23-17

FERRIS STATE

#2

W, 20-3

9-8-12

WAYNE STATE

#5

W, 7-0

10-15-11

WAYNE STATE

#6

W, 20-17

10-31-15

GRAND VALLEY STATE

#9

W, 45-31

9-19-15

OHIO DOMINICAN

#17

W, 27-24

11-7-15

MICHIGAN TECH

#22

W, 40-14

9-24-11

NORTHERN MICHIGAN

#23

W, 45-16

 

Barker Makes Successful Transition – Again

During the week leading up to the Ferris State game, junior Cameron Barker was moved from linebacker to fullback for the second year in a row.

That move paid off immediately for both the Eagles and Barker, as he caught a three-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter of Saturday night's game to put Ashland ahead 10-3.

"It all started from the first day I walked in (this week) on Tuesday. They brought me over and said, 'Hey, we need another fullback,'" Barker said. "I knew Trav (Tarnowski) was going to give me the opportunity to get the ball."

In 20 career games as an Eagle, the versatile Barker has carried the ball 11 times for 52 yards and a touchdown, caught nine passes for 89 yards and a score, and made two total tackles.

 

Shaheen Scores First NFL TD, Meder Plays In Browns Loss

Former Ashland University All-American tight end Adam Shaheen needed just three regular-season games to score his first National Football League touchdown.

Shaheen, a rookie with the Chicago Bears, caught a two-yard touchdown pass from Mike Glennon in a 23-17 home overtime win against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday (Sept. 24).

Also on Sunday, another former Eagle All-American, defensive tackle Jamie Meder, recorded three solo tackles for the Cleveland Browns in their 31-28 loss at the Indianapolis Colts.

 

 

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