Ashland, GVSU Control GLIAC Football Title Destinies

Ashland, GVSU Control GLIAC Football Title Destinies

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Heading into the middle of October, only two football teams are undefeated in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play – Ashland University and Grand Valley State.

Both the 18th-ranked Eagles (5-1 overall, 4-0 GLIAC) and No. 8 Lakers (5-1, 5-0) control their destinies for a league title, as the two teams will meet on Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field. That game, of course, won't have the same meaning if both AU and GVSU don't take care of their business in the three weeks prior to that:

- The Eagles have a Homecoming game on Saturday (Oct. 14) at 1 p.m. vs. Michigan Tech (3-3, 2-2), then road games on Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. vs. Tiffin (4-2, 3-1) and on Oct. 28 at noon vs. Wayne State (2-4, 1-3) to finish the month.

- The Lakers' next game is a non-GLIAC affair at Truman State (1-5), then they end October with a game on Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. at No. 15 Ferris State (4-1, 3-1) and Oct. 28 at 4 p.m. at home vs. Northern Michigan (1-4, 1-3) on Homecoming.

Since GLIAC football resumed in 1999 following the dissolution of the Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference, Ashland has won two league titles (2012, 2015), and Grand Valley State has won nine (2001-02, 2005-10, 2016).

 

Eagle Running Game Heating Up

In 2016, Ashland averaged 249.1 rushing yards per game and 6.4 yards per carry. The sledding in 2017 hasn't been as easy (148.7 yards per game, 4.0 yards per carry), but it has been easier of late.

Injuries have limited each of the Eagles' top three tailbacks – junior Andrew Vaughn (490 yards, six touchdowns), sophomore Keishaun Sims (143 yards, two touchdowns) and sophomore Luke Ogi (130 yards, one touchdown) at various points this season. But in the last two games, Ashland's ground game has been closer to the 2016 version:

 

TIME FRAME

YARDS/GAME

YARDS/CARRY

TD

First 4 games

123.5

3.3

6

Last 2 games

199.0

5.2

5

 

On Saturday (Oct. 7) afternoon at Northern Michigan, the Eagles ran for season highs in both total yards (233) and yards per attempt (6.0).

 

A Hand – And A Leg – For Simenc

Senior kicker Aidan Simenc has been perfect over the last four games, hitting all four field-goal attempts and 18 extra-point tries. Included in that stretch is a career-high 40-yard field goal at the Wildcats.

In 2017, Simenc is 7-of-8 on field goals and 25-of-27 on extra points for a team-high 46 points. His 149 made extra points is second in program history, and he needs just seven more to break the record set by Gregg Berkshire (155).

Simenc's 33 career field goals and 248 career points put him fifth on both of those Ashland all-time lists.

 

The Drive For (At Least) Five

Ashland will take a five-game winning streak into Homecoming. It is the eighth time in head coach Lee Owens' tenure that the Eagles have won at least five games consecutively within a single season:

 

TIME FRAME

WINS IN A ROW

Aug. 30-Nov. 10, 2012

11

Sept. 3-Nov. 7, 2015

10

Oct. 2-Nov. 13, 2010

7

Sept. 22-Nov. 10, 2007

7

Sept. 27-Nov. 1, 2014

6

Sept. 13-Oct. 18, 2008

6

Oct. 1-Nov. 5, 2005

6

Sept. 9, 2017-current

5

 

Meder Sees Time In Loss, Shaheen To Play On MNF

Former Ashland All-American defensive lineman Jamie Meder saw action as a reserve in the Cleveland Browns' 17-14 home loss to the New York Jets on Sunday (Oct. 8).

Meder made a solo tackle and had two quarterback hurries in the defeat.

Another former Eagle All-American, rookie tight end Adam Shaheen, will play for the Chicago Bears on Monday (Oct. 9) Night Football at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN vs. the Minnesota Vikings.

 

 

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