COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Winners of seven straight games, Ohio Dominican's football team embarks on its longest road trip of the 2013 season as the Panthers travel to the Upper Peninsula to take on Northern Michigan at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Coming off of a 37-20 home win over Hillsdale, the Panthers stand at 2-0 (1-0 GLIAC), while the Wildcats enter the matchup with a 1-0 (1-0 GLIAC) record after a 41-31 home win over Findlay.
ODU broke free from a 14-14 tie late in the third quarter against Hillsdale, as Di'Andre Harrison's blocked punt through the back of the end zone resulted in a safety to put the Panthers in front. After the free kick, Brandon Schoen ran for a 39-yard touchdown to make it 23-14.
Great special teams coverage forced Hillsdale to start its ensuing drive on its own three. Justin Bell then forced a fumble that Harrison pounced on in the end zone to give the Panthers a 30-14 advantage, scoring 16 unanswered points in 1:41.
Hillsdale came back with a touchdown at the end of the third quarter, but the Panthers responded with a 65-yard touchdown pass from Mark Miller to Abe Johnson to make it 37-20 early in the fourth, and Hillsdale would not threaten again.
ODU had a decisive 571-374 advantage in total offense, rolling up 282 yards rushing and 289 yards in the air. Miller was 21-of-34 passing for 289 yards and three touchdowns, and was not intercepted or sacked. Johnson hauled in a career-best 10 passes for 127 yards and two scores, while Dez Stewart finished with six grabs for 92 yards.
Schoen (137 yards) and Mark Nichols (119) each broke the century mark, becoming just the third Panther duo to register over 100 yards on the ground in the same game. It was also the first time in school history ODU has had two 100-yard rushers and a 100-yard receiver in the same game.
The Panther defense was stingy, limiting Hillsdale to 2.9 yards per carry and coming away with five sacks. Bell made 12 tackles, Warren Shields finished with nine (2.5 TFL) and Brad McCurdy, Nikko Tanksley, Paul Wesselhoeft and Sydney Omameh each had sacks to lead the unit.
• Northern Michigan has played tough at home over the past four games, winning three of its last four contests in the Superior Dome. In 2012, the Wildcats knocked off Grand Valley and Saginaw Valley at home and suffered a one-point defeat to Ferris State, then opened with a 41-31 win over Findlay last week.
• ODU's defense has stopped 19 of its last 26 third down attempts, with Georgetown and Hillsdale converting just 26.9 percent of their conversions in that stretch. Northern Michigan converted 7-of-16 third downs last week (43.8 percent).
• The Panthers lead the conference with 11 sacks through the first two games. NMU quarterback Cody Scepaniak was sacked just once last week.
• Mark Miller leads the GLIAC with six touchdown passes this season. He's spread the wealth, as five different receivers have caught at least one TD. Last year he threw for a then-career best 292 yards and four touchdowns against Northern Michigan.
• After losing its first five games against teams that currently make up the GLIAC North Division, ODU is 4-5 in the last nine contests against the North Division.
• ODU's been shutout in the first quarter of each of its first two games, but has outscored opponents 28-7 in the second quarter and 17-0 in the fourth quarter.
ALL OHIO DOMINICAN FOOTBALL GAMES LIVE ON THE RADIO AND INTERNET
Fans in Central Ohio can listen to Ohio Dominican football LIVE on the radio on 820 AM (St. Gabriel Radio) and simulcast online everywhere at www.pressboxproductions.net. This week's broadcast starts at 6:45 p.m. with the Panther Countdown Pregame Show. Veteran broadcaster Todd Bell returns for his sixth year in the booth as the play-by-play announcer and is joined by Matt Natali.
Contact: Scott Miles