In one of only two games featuring two nationally-ranked teams in the opening week of the 2019 NCAA Division II college football season, No. 23 Ashland University lost to No. 16 Indianapolis, 24-9, on Thursday (Sept. 5) night at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field.
"We always try to play the very best opponent we possibly can in Week 1," said Ashland head coach Lee Owens. "This is a really good defensive football team, and they exposed us up front.
"And I take part of the blame. We prepared for an Indianapolis team, we saw three blitzes on tape all of last year, and they blitzed every down. They played a different front…and they played a different coverage, and they had a different demeanor than what we prepared for."
The Greyhounds scored 24 unanswered points in the victory, gaining 255 yards in the second half after less than 100 (91) in the first 30 minutes.
THE MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
- The first-half story was field goals. Ashland junior kicker Satchel Denton made boots of 41, 36 and 26 yards to give the Eagles a 9-0 lead halfway through the second quarter, and Indianapolis kicker Paul Buisman's 23-yard triple at the 1:28 mark of the second period provided the halftime score of 9-3.
- On the opening drive of the third quarter, the Greyhounds marched 77 yards in nine plays, and scored the game's first touchdown when quarterback T.J. Edwards found wide receiver Daveon Bell for three yards and a 10-9 lead.
- Later in the third, Buisman missed a 28-yard attempt wide right, keeping it a one-point game. An Eagle fumble on the ensuing possession, however, gave it back to Indy in AU territory, resulting in a one-yard Al McKeller touchdown run – and a 17-9 'Hounds lead.
- Indianapolis increased its advantage to the game's final margin when Edwards found wide receiver Aaron Matio for a 59-yard major with 7:17 left in the game.
- Eagle sophomore quarterback Austin Brenner had his first collegiate 300-yard passing game on Thursday, gaining 303 yards on 22-of-45 passing with two interceptions.
- Denton has made 16 of 18 field goals as an Eagle.
THEY SAID IT
- Corkrean – "They came out with a great scheme after halftime. They kind of fired off the ball real quick. It was a good scheme."
- Owens – "Storm (Elsesser) did a nice job on kickoffs, coverage was pretty good. Austin punted the ball like he did all last year."
- Owens – "We've been running the ball pretty good against our defense at times, but we got exposed tonight. Up front, we really struggled. We've got a lot of work to do."
- Owens – "We've got work to do on both sides of the ball. We know what we need to fix right now, and that's the positive."