DETROIT, Mich. – Tom Adams Field is a tough place for an opposing football team to play.
Ashland University's football team, however, continues to find ways to come out of Detroit with a win. The Eagles won their 2018 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener on Saturday (Sept. 15) night, 30-21, at Wayne State. Ashland is 1-2 overall and 1-0 in the GLIAC, while the Warriors are 1-2, 0-1.
Ashland is 12-4 all-time playing Wayne State on the road, and has won in Detroit in back-to-back seasons.
"This is a tough place to play, a tough place to win," said Ashland head coach Lee Owens. "(Wayne State head coach) Paul (Winters) does such a great job with his team. It's a physical game. We're built kind of the same way he's built, just to kind of get after each other."
FIRST AND TEN
1. The Eagle defense immediately asserted itself, forcing a three-and-out on the game's opening possession, then Ashland got a gift on the punt when a fumble put AU at the Warriors' 25. Four plays later, senior tailback Andrew Vaughn went in for a four-yard rushing touchdown just 3:24 into the game for a quick 7-0 lead.
2. Following two consecutive three-and-outs, the Warrior offense began to move down the field on drive No. 3. Almost exclusively on the ground, Wayne State advanced to the Ashland five-yard line before junior safety Nick Powers picked off a fourth-quarter pass to stop the scoring attempt.
3. With 8:20 left until halftime, the Warriors tied the game when quarterback Jake AmRhein found wide receiver Darece Roberson Jr. in double coverage for a 30-yard touchdown. That score capped off an 11-play, 80-yard drive which took nearly six minutes off the clock.
4. Ashland came right back, and one play after a 51-yard Vaughn scamper, junior tailback Luke Ogi went in from 12 yards out to put the Eagles back on top, 14-7 – just 2:14 after the Warriors knotted the game. Wayne State, however, kept the back-and-forth going, and with nine seconds before the break, AmRhein hit tight end Steven Glenn for a 5-yard TD – and a 14-14 tie at halftime.
5. Vaughn scored his second touchdown of the night on a 30-yard cutback run, and the jaunt which gave him his 11th career 100-yard rushing game lifted Ashland to a 21-14 lead on the first possession of the third quarter.
6. Sophomore kicker Satchel Denton lifted the Eagles to a 10-point lead at 24-14 with 3:26 left in the third with a 32-yard field goal. Ashland's two third-quarter drives were 75 and 45 yards.
7. The Warriors wouldn't go away, however, as AmRhein's third touchdown pass of the game, a 27-yarder to Roberson, on the first play of the fourth quarter cut their deficit to 24-21. Later, Ashland sophomore quarterback/punter Austin Brenner launched a 71-yard punt, then Eagles sophomore cornerback C.J. Towns set up the offense in fine shape with a fumble recovery at the WSU 18.
8. Following the recovery, Denton hit a 28-yard field goal to extend AU's lead to 27-21 with 9:44 left in the game. Ashland's defense got the ball back for the offense with 5:40 remaining, and the "O" melted the clock down to 30 seconds when Denton made his third field goal of the contest, a 19-yarder, for the deciding points.
9. Vaughn ran for 135 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries, while sophomore inside linebacker Ryan Corkrean had seven total tackles, a sack and 2½ tackles for loss.
10. In a collegiate rarity, Eagle senior Jack Holl played along the defensive line at tackle, and started the game at tight end.
"We just kind of wanted me to be at the point of attack, blocking on offense, and the coaches still believe I'm a vital part of the defense," Holl said. "They wanted to keep me over there, play me just as much over there."
Ashland's 95th Homecoming football game, Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field vs. Northwood (0-3, 0-1).