It was a near-perfect day for Ashland University's football team for its 95th Homecoming game – a touch of fall air, a crowd of more than 3,500 fans…and, most importantly, a victory.
On Saturday (Sept. 22) afternoon at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field, the Eagles improved to 2-2 overall and 2-0 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference following a 35-10 win over Northwood (0-4, 0-2). The victory keeps Ashland tied atop the GLIAC heading into a key Week 5 matchup on Sept. 29 at 3 p.m. at No. 6-ranked Ferris State, in a game to be streamed on ESPN3.
FIRST AND TEN
1. It was a day in which both Ashland's offense and defense were clicking. The offense ran up 35 points and 483 yards (249 rushing, 234 passing), and the defense kept the Timberwolves to 10 points and 152 yards of offense, while forcing a turnover.
2. The Eagles' balanced offense was keyed first by tailbacks Luke Ogi and Andrew Vaughn, then by quarterback Austin Brenner and wide receiver Kamaron Green. Ogi, a junior, ran for 82 yards and touchdowns of four and 21 yards on just 10 carries, while Vaughn, a senior, gained 80 yards on 13 totes. Brenner was 17-for-29 for 227 yards and his first two collegiate TD passes, and Green caught both those scores, adding 92 yards on six grabs.
"It's a learning process every week," Brenner said. "It's just been fun being out there with the guys, and being able to do our thing."
Said Ashland head coach Lee Owens of Brenner, "He's got this calm demeanor about him. He doesn't change, his personality always stays the same. He has that 'it' factor at the quarterback position."
3. Defensively, Ashland was paced by the three players who have been doing so in the early going of 2018. Junior inside linebacker Clay Shreve racked up 11 total tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss, sophomore inside linebacker Ryan Corkrean added eight total stops and one behind the line of scrimmage, and senior defensive end James Prater Jr. ended with seven total tackles.
"No one's run the ball against us in four weeks," said Owens, whose defense is allowing 99.0 rushing yards per game and 2.8 yards per rushing attempt this season. "We knew coming in that was the strength of our football team."
"We don't really see it a lot," said Shreve of Northwood's "Woodbone" offense. "We have an experienced defense…but you can't run your normal stuff."
4. The Eagles jumped on top quickly, with Ogi's first rushing touchdown coming just 3:10 into the game. Freshman tailback Ronald Lee followed with a one-yard scoring run just 9:30 into the contest. Ogi made the score 21-0 early in the second quarter with his second TD jaunt.
5. Brenner's back-to-back scoring passes to Green came with 8:42 left in the third quarter, and 12:15 to go in the game.
6. In addition to Green, Ashland's receiving corps got solid contributions from freshman wideout Garrett Turnbaugh (five catches, 66 yards) and sophomore wide receiver Logan Bolin (four grabs, 47 yards). For Turnbaugh, both of those figures were career highs. For Bolin, it was his third game so far this season with at least four catches.
7. Junior stud Tristan Reichelderfer recovered a fumble in Saturday's victory, giving the Eagles four takeaways in the two victories this season.
8. Ashland had five scoring drives on Saturday, covering 90, 85, 75, 62 and 33 yards.
9. For the second game in a row, after not having done it in three years, Ashland turned in a game in which it rushed for at least 200 yards, allowed fewer than 100 rushing yards (94) and had a positive turnover ratio (plus-1).
10. Prior to the game, former Eagle All-American center Vince Cashdollar was inducted into the 2018 class of the Ashland University Hall of Fame.