COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Dominican's offense generated a school-record 727 yards and the defense shut down Lake Erie's top-ranked offensive attack as the Panthers recorded a 62-21 win over the Storm on Senior Day Saturday at Panther Field.
ODU stretched its unbeaten streak to 14 consecutive games, the longest in Division II, and improved to 9-0 (8-0 GLIAC). The Panthers are ranked ninth in the AFCA poll and eighth in the D2Football.com poll.
ODU rushed for 345 yards and threw for 382, breaking the old school-record of 702 yards against Campbellsville in 2007. The Panthers averaged 10.1 yards per play, also a school-record, and averaged 7.8 yards per carry.
Lake Erie (3-7, 2-6 GLIAC) entered today ranked No. 1 in the nation in total offense at over 577 yards per game, but the Panthers limited the Storm to just 395 yards, including 176 in the first half. Lake Erie averaged over 270 yards per game rushing entering play but ODU kept the Storm to just 92 yards on 42 carries, an average of 2.2 yards per carry.
Junior quarterback Mark Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio) had a banner afternoon, completing 19-of-26 passes for 370 yards and four touchdowns. Two receivers surpassed 100 yards on the day, led by sophomore Dez Stewart (Cincinnati, Ohio) with seven grabs for 174 yards and two touchdowns and junior Abe Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio) added eight catches for 127 yards.
On the ground, senior Mark Nichols (Pataskala, Ohio) picked up 142 yards on just 11 carries (school-record 12.9 per carry) and two scores, senior Ronnel Spates (Cleveland, Ohio) added 118 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, and sophomore Brandon Schoen (Olentangy, Ohio) finished with 83 yards.
The Panthers scored on each of their seven first half possessions, taking a 41-14 lead into the locker room. Nichols scored on a 66-yard run on the third play of the game and senior Nate Weeks (Marysville, Ohio) hauled in a 21-yard touchdown pass from Miller to give ODU a 14-0 lead seven minutes into play.
Lake Erie answered with a TD, but four plays later Nichols burst through a hole for a 35-yard score, giving ODU a 21-7 advantage through the first quarter.
After the Storm put forward an 11-play touchdown drive to start the second frame and cut the lead to 21-14, it was all Panthers. Schoen punched in a score from four yards out and sophomore Brent Wahle (Pataskala, Ohio) hit on attempts from 47 and 31 yards to extend the lead to 34-14. The 47-yarder tied his own school-record.
The defense then held Lake Erie on a fourth down try, and Miller hooked up with Stewart down the home sideline for a 47-yard TD with 18 seconds to play before half to take the 27-point lead.
ODU racked up 407 yards of offense in the first half alone.
The Panthers kept rolling in the second half, with Johnson on the receiving end of a 42-yard pass from Miller and Stewart the recipient of a 62-yard scoring strike in the third quarter.
Spates' 15-yard run midway through the fourth capped the Panthers' scoring and gave them a 62-14 lead.
Senior Justin Bell (Columbus, Ohio) led the defense with a game-high 12 tackles and sophomore Brad McCurdy (Columbus, Ohio) added 11 stops (3.0 TFL). Sophomore Di'Andre Harrison (Columbus, Ohio) had two of ODU's five sacks, along with eight tackles (3.0 TFL).
Overall, the defense totaled 13 tackles for loss, tied for the fourth-most in a game in school history, and the five sacks is tied for sixth-most.
ODU's 62 points were tied for fourth-most in single-game history and the 345 rushing yards were fifth-most in single-game history.
Ohio Dominican concludes the regular season at noon Saturday at Malone.
Contact: Scott Miles