Panthers Surge Past Tiffin, 62-7
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Behind a dominant effort on both sides of the ball, Ohio Dominican's football team roared to a 62-7 victory over Tiffin in a GLIAC South Division game Saturday afternoon at Panther Field.
The 62 points scored is tied for the third-most in a game in school single-season history, and the 55-point margin of victory is the biggest since ODU's 56-0 victory over Urbana on Nov. 8, 2008.
The Panthers (4-4, 3-4 GLIAC) netted 480 yards of offense on just 60 plays, averaging 8.0 yards per play. For the third time in a game this season, ODU ran the ball at least 51 times, picking up 276 yards on the ground, the fourth-best single-game total in school history. Despite attempting just nine passes – the fewest in a game in school history – ODU's quarterbacks completed eight of those throws for 204 yards and touchdown passes of 66, 56 and 46 yards.
ODU's defense chimed in with a school-record seven sacks, to go along with 12 tackles for loss and five takeaways (three fumble recoveries, two interceptions.) Tiffin (0-8, 0-7 GLIAC) finished with minus-17 yards rushing on 25 attempts, the first time in school history ODU held an opponent to negative yardage on the ground, while the five takeaways are tied for the second-most in a game in school history.
After turning the ball over on its first drive, Ohio Dominican's offense kicked into gear the rest of the first half, scoring touchdowns on its next five possessions to take a 34-0 lead into the break. The Panthers ran the ball on 13 straight plays to start the game and 18 of the first 19 plays were on the ground. Senior quarterback Jeremy Fudge (Eaton, Ohio) scored from three yards to cap the first TD drive, and senior running back Mike Noffsinger (West Branch, Mich.) also scored on a three yard run later in the first quarter to put ODU on top 14-0.
Tiffin drove into Panther territory, but redshirt freshman Cody Culbertson (Galloway, Ohio) forced a fumble that was scooped up by sophomore Justin Bell (Groveport, Ohio) on the far sideline and returned 70 yards – the longest fumble return in school history - to the Dragon five. Sophomore Ronnel Spates (Cleveland, Ohio) scored on the next play to put ODU in front 21-0.
The defense forced a three-and-out, and on ODU's first play from scrimmage, Fudge connected with senior wideout Tyler Purcell (Franklin, Ohio) on a deep ball for a 66-yard touchdown strike, bumping the Panther lead to 27-0.
The Dragons threatened again to score, but again the Panther defense turned TU away, creating a turnover on downs at the ODU five as a fake field goal pass went awry for Tiffin. The Panthers moved to their own 44 yard line on a pair of 11-yard runs by Fudge and Purcell, and Fudge found his favorite target again as Purcell streaked behind the Dragon secondary for a 56-yard score to make it 34-0.
Junior Eisen Hardy (Pickerington, Ohio) thwarted Tiffin's opening drive of the second half with a pick on the Panther sideline, and four plays later Noffsinger scored from nine yards out to push the lead to 41-0.
ODU tacked on three touchdowns in the fourth quarter as backup quarterback Mark Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio) completed passes of eight yards to senior Brandon Robinson (Eaton, Ohio) and 46 yards to Brandon Ojikutu (Cleveland, Ohio) for scores and Dominic Clegg (Powell, Ohio) recovered a Dragon fumble and ran 40 yards for a touchdown.
Several individual milestones were hit by Panther offensive players in the victory. Noffsinger broke both Nathan Clark's marks of career rushing touchdowns and rushing attempts, moving to the top of the list in both categories with 23 and 423, respectively. Noffsinger also broke his own single-season rushing record that he established last fall and now has 908 yards on the ground this season after running for 136 yards on just 18 carries today.
Purcell, meanwhile, set a new career-high with 130 yards receiving and ran the ball four times for 35 yards, becoming the fourth player in school history to surpass 1,000 career rushing yards (1,010) and joining teammates Noffsinger (2,380) and Fudge (1,137) to hit that mark.
Fudge threw the ball just four times in the first half and completed all four passes to Purcell for those 130 yards, and finished 4-for-5 passing. Miller completed all four of his throws for 74 yards.
The Panther defense was led by a trio of individuals with seven tackles in juniors Eli Kovach (Eastlake, Ohio) and Matt Grieb (Newark, Ohio) and senior James Dews (Marlboro, Md.). Kovach had 2.5 sacks, which is tied for second-most in a game in school history, and three tackles for a loss of 28 yards combined. Grieb and Dews both had sacks, with Dews forcing a fumble on his hit.
Culbertson had five tackles (2.0 for loss) and a forced fumble, sophomore Garrett Wilcox (Streetsboro, Ohio) had a pair of tackles for loss and sophomore Jordan Stricker (Cincinnati, Ohio) registered a sack as well for the Panther defense, which allowed its fewest points since that 56-0 shutout win over Urbana in 2008. The previous low in rushing yardage allowed was nine against Geneva on Oct. 28, 2006.
Ohio Dominican remains at home next Saturday for a noon kickoff with GLIAC foe Lake Erie at Panther Field.
Contact: Scott Miles