If it seems like Ashland University junior cornerback Dale Irby was everywhere in the second half of the No. 5-ranked Eagles' 36-25 home victory over Wayne State on Saturday (Sept. 10) night, it's because he was.
- Irby started the half by recovering a fumble on the opening kickoff of the third quarter at the Warrior 29-yard line, leading to Ashland's go-ahead touchdown.
- He then picked off a potential game-tying two-point conversion pass and returned it the length of the field for a rare two-point defensive PAT. The four-point swing gave the Eagles a 22-18 lead with 6:26 to go in the third period.
- Finally, Irby recorded an interception on what would be Wayne State's final offensive play, sealing the Ashland victory with 1:55 left in the contest.
Said Ashland head coach Lee Owens, "Dale had a couple of big plays at the cornerback position and as a returner (four kickoff returns for 88 yards). He's such a talented player. He just enjoys playing the game so much. It's fun to coach him."
STAT OF THE YEAR: Thanks to Irby's defensive conversion, Ashland scored more points (two) on Wayne State's four conversion attempts than the Warriors did (one).
SPREADING THE BALL AROUND: Ashland's offense, which ran up more than 500 yards for the second straight week, had a 300-yard passer in junior quarterback Travis Tarnowski (305), two 100-yard rushers in redshirt freshman tailback Keishaun Sims (102) and sophomore tailback Andrew Vaughn (100), and a 100-yard receiver in sophomore wideout Matthew Wilcox (108).
It was the first time the Eagles had at least one 300-yard passer, 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in the same game since Oct. 24, 2015 at Northern Michigan.
WILCOX KEEPS GOING DEEP: As a redshirt freshman in 2015, Wilcox averaged 26.0 yards on his 20 catches – one of the best single-season averages in program history. So far in 2016, he has 188 yards on seven catches, a 26.9-yard average.
Wilcox has five games at Ashland with at least three catches, and his average-per-catch in those games are 39.0, 17.3, 27.3, 20.0 and 36.0.
BARROW IN THE BACKFIELD: Senior whip Daivon Barrow recorded three tackles for loss in Saturday's victory. It was the highest single-game total for an Eagle since teammate Brandon Ehlinger had four on Sept. 19, 2015 at home against Ohio Dominican.
Barrow leads the Eagles through two games with four tackles for loss – or one-half fewer than his entire AU career total prior to 2016.
NOT USED TO PUTTING THE BALL ON THE GROUND: On Saturday in rainy and slick conditions, Ashland lost two fumbles for the first time since another rain-filled game – Sept. 12, 2015 at Walsh.