If it's a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football Saturday, it's another Ashland University game that goes down to the wire.
Such was the case on Saturday (Nov. 2) afternoon in University Center, Mich., as the Eagles improved to 6-3 overall and 5-2 in the GLIAC following a 24-21 win at Saginaw Valley State (4-5, 2-4). Ashland's five conference victories this season have been by three, three, three, nine and three points.
Senior stud Tristan Reichelderfer had a record-tying day in the victory, recording 3½ sacks. Reichelderfer ties the Ashland single-game mark originally set by College Football Hall of Famer Bill Royce at Wayne State on Oct. 2, 1993, and tied by James Prater Jr. against the same Cardinals on Nov. 11, 2017.
THE MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
- On Saginaw Valley State's second drive, sophomore defensive end Curtis Roupe forced and recovered a Cardinal fumble at the Eagles' 43-yard line. That led to Ashland's second possession of the day, which culminated in a four-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Austin Brenner to junior tight end Michael Schweitzer at the 1:57 mark of the opening quarter.
- The first play of the second quarter saw Brenner hit freshman wide receiver Jake McLoughlin for a 72-yard touchdown pass and a 14-0 Eagle lead. It was McLoughlin's first career major, and Brenner's fifth completion of at least 50 yards in 2019.
- Saginaw Valley State countered with a one-yard touchdown run by wide receiver Casey Williams on its next drive, and the Cardinals trailed 14-7 with 10:14 left until halftime.
- In the final minute of the first half, Ashland blocked SVSU's Connor Luksic's punt, leaving the Eagles 26 yards away from a touchdown with 33 seconds to go until the break. The halftime score stayed at 14-7, however, after a missed 36-yard field goal by junior kicker Satchel Denton.
- At the outset of the third quarter, freshman tailback Jeffrey Barnett went in to the end zone for a five-yard touchdown run – the first of his collegiate career – to extend Ashland's lead to 21-7 with 10:29 to go in the third quarter.
- The Cardinals weren't down for long, however, as a seven-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Conklin to wide receiver Michael King with 5:27 remaining on the third-quarter clock made it a 21-14 contest.
- Ashland melted the clock down in the fourth quarter, moving 55 yards in 17 plays and in 9:16, and extended the lead to 10 points at 24-14 with a career-long 47-yard field goal by Denton.
- SVSU needed just 76 seconds to cut its deficit to three points at 24-21, as Conklin found Williams for a 28-yard score with 1:11 to play. Junior wide receiver Logan Bolin, however, recovered the onside kick to effectively end the game.
- At halftime, Reichelderfer had seven total tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks and a forced fumble. He finished with 10 total stops, the record-tying sacks, 4½ tackles for loss and the forced fumble.
- Freshman tailback Gei'vonni Washington is the first Ashland running back to record six consecutive 100-plus-yard rushing games since Anthony Taylor from Sept. 27-Nov. 1, 2014, ending Saturday's contest with 106 yards on 24 carries. Washington (963) is 37 rushing yards away from just the second 1,000-yard campaign by a freshman in program history.
- Brenner was 15-of-25 for 201 yards and two scores, while Bolin added five grabs for 44 yards. Bolin (116) moves into 10th place on Ashland's all-time receptions list (Chris Harkness, 113), and is one catch away from No. 9, Anthony Capasso (117).
- Ashland now has the 12-11 edge in the all-time series with Saginaw Valley State.
The renewal of a long-time Ohio rivalry on Nov. 9 at noon at Findlay (6-3).