Running Game, Ballhawking Defense Pace Eagles in Win Over Malone

Running Game, Ballhawking Defense Pace Eagles in Win Over Malone

Last week at Findlay, the order of the day was new road uniforms, more than 300 yards rushing and takeaways.

This week at home against Malone, it was a new home uniforms, more than 300 yards rushing and takeaways.

Ashland University's football team finished the first half of the 2014 regular season at 4-1 overall and in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference following a 42-13 victory Saturday night against Malone (0-5, 0-5) at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field. 

The Eagles racked up 382 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, led by senior Anthony Taylor's 160 yards and two scores on 17 carries. Taylor now needs just 83 rushing yards to pass Keith Weaver and become AU's all-time rushing leader.

"I try not to think about it too much, just trying to get the win," said Taylor, whose high school coach from Virginia was in attendance Saturday night. "People always talk about it. It's in the back of my mind."

Ashland also received 86 yards and a score on 11 carries from sophomore Vance Settlemire, 64 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries from senior Jordan McCune, 37 yards and a TD on five totes from redshirt freshman quarterback Travis Tarnowski and 32 yards on two attempts from junior Mike Taylor.

AU head coach Lee Owens was quick to praise the Eagles' offensive line of junior left tackle Jonathan Cipa, senior left guard James Triplett, sophomore center Dominic Giunta, junior right guard Zachary Douglass and senior right tackle Balil Knight for the team's continued rushing prowess.

"From tackle to tackle, we're playing pretty good," Owens said. "We controlled the line of scrimmage tonight. I literally think I could have just handed the ball to a tailback every time tonight and never had to throw it at all.

"I told them after the game we were going to find five of the oldest game balls we can find and give them all one. Give them a little love."

The Eagles picked off two passes (junior safety Kyle Tomko and senior cornerback Donzale Ashley) and recovered a fumble (sophomore defensive lineman Max Pirman). AU's turnover margin through five games is plus-6.

Tarnowski was 13-for-21 for 136 yards, and senior wide receiver Dan Piko caught seven passes for 76 yards, as the Eagles ran up 552 yards of offense.

Defensively, sophomore linebacker Brandon Gency saw action for most of the game due to an injury to fellow sophomore Zach Olszewski, and finished with 11 total tackles and two pass breakups.

"Zach and I had been sharing time all year," said Gency. "Thankfully, I came in and made some plays and helped the team out."

Ashland continues to be second in the GLIAC South Division, one game behind first-place Ohio Dominican and one game ahead of third-place Findlay and Tiffin. The Eagles return home for a Week 6 Homecoming game against Saginaw Valley State (1-4, 1-3), Oct. 11 at 1 p.m.