ASHLAND, Ohio – Ohio Dominican's football team slugged its way past Ashland, remaining unbeaten with a 31-19 road victory over the Eagles Saturday in GLIAC action.
The Panthers (No. 20 AFCA/No. 18 D2Football.com) moved to 6-0 (5-0 GLIAC) with the win, extending the nation's longest win streak to 11 consecutive games.
Nursing a 24-12 lead entering the fourth quarter, ODU surrendered a touchdown to cut the lead to five with just over 14 minutes to play.
The defense was resilient after that point, though, holding the Eagles (2-4, 2-3 GLIAC) to just one first down and 29 total yards of offense the rest of the period. After holding Ashland on downs inside the Eagle 10, junior quarterback Mark Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio) would toss a five-yard touchdown to sophomore Ronald McCloud (Cleveland, Ohio) with 1:36 left to seal the victory.
Defense dominated the day, with ODU totaling 300 yards and Ashland just 329. Senior Justin Bell (Columbus, Ohio) and junior Cody Culbertson (Galloway, Ohio) each made 13 tackles to pace the defense, while sophomore Brad McCurdy (Columbus, Ohio) tallied 10 tackles and sophomore Billy Eakins (Pickerington, Ohio) finished with nine.
ODU stopped Ashland's first drive of the day on a blocked field goal, halting a seven-minute possession for the Eagles.
Then, on the Panthers' first offensive play after the block, Miller launched a deep ball down the far sideline to sophomore Dez Stewart (Cincinnati, Ohio), who hauled it in for a 53-yard completion to the Eagle 15. Two plays later, Miller connected on a screen pass to junior Casey Williams (Nashport, Ohio), who collided with a teammate but stayed on his feet and scored from 12 yards out.
Ashland answered with an 11-play drive and scored on a short TD pass with 13:22 to play in the second quarter, but missed the extra point to keep the Panthers in front 7-6.
Miller continued to show his great touch on the deep ball, though. He found McCloud deep down the middle for a 64-yard completion inside the AU 10, and two plays later the duo hooked up on an eight-yard TD on a slant across the middle to put the Panthers on top 14-6.
After the defense came up with a stop, highlighted by a tackle for loss by senior Nikko Tanksley (Columbus, Ohio) and a Culbertson sack, sophomore Brent Wahle (Pataskala, Ohio) drilled a 46-yard field goal to give the Panthers a 17-6 lead with 4:38 to play in the quarter.
Miller, who completed his first nine throws, finished the half 10-of-12 for 183 yards and two scores.
Ashland started the second half with a 46-yard touchdown run, but sophomore Da'Twane Harris (Cleveland, Ohio) broke up the two-point conversion try to keep the Panthers in front 17-12.
Then, on the ensuing kickoff, senior Mark Nichols (Pataskala, Ohio) fielded the kick at his five, raced up the sideline and cut across the middle into open field. An Eagle defender had an angle on him inside the 10, but Nichols shook off the tackle and walked into the end zone to give the Panthers a 24-12 lead.
Ashland moved inside the Panther 10-yard line to start the fourth, and after a defensive penalty kept its drive alive, the Eagles scored a TD on a short pass to cut the lead to 24-19 less than a minute into the quarter.
Miller completed 18-of-23 passes on the day for 231 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. McCloud caught nine passes for 126 yards and the two TDs, while Stewart finished with 67 yards.
Ohio Dominican returns home to host Findlay at 8 p.m. Thursday in a game on CBS Sports Network. For more information on tickets, parking and to watch the game, please click here.
Contact: Scott Miles