OWENSBORO, Ky. – Senior EJ Colson (Middletown, Ohio) rushed for a season-high 140 yards and three scores, while the defense added a pair of pick-six's as the Ohio Dominican football team won its first-ever trip to Kentucky Wesleyan Saturday afternoon, 47-7.
Colson has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in back-to-back outings, both of which saw him find the end zone three times. The senior now sits just seven yards shy of third on ODU's all-time rushing list with 2,351 yards, while his 28 rushing touchdowns are second in school history, five shy of Brandon Schoen's record of 33.
The Panther defense recorded new season-best marks in points (7) and yards (280) allowed. The Black & Gold conceded less than 35 rushing yards each half, including 19 in the first half, to allow just 52 yards for the contest. The defense also had eight tackles for loss and three interceptions, giving them seven picks in the past two games.
14 different players had at least three tackles, with six players tallying at least five stops. Senior Alessio Amato (Zanesville, Ohio) picked off his fifth pass of the season. After garnering national player of the week honors last time out by tying the school record with three picks, Amato had his second straight game with an interception returned for a touchdown. The senior is the first player in school history with multiple pick-six's. Amato finished with a team-high 2.5 tackles for loss.
Junior Jayden Davis (Springfield, Ohio) led the team with nine tackles, with classmate Dauson Dales (Defiance, Ohio) adding seven stops. Another junior, Aarin Smoot-Baker (Columbus, Ohio), added three stops, 1.5 tackles for loss and one forced fumble.
Offensively, sophomore Evan Ernst (Mason, Ohio) completed 14-of-23 passes for 196 yards and one touchdown. Ernst also found the end zone on the ground. Senior Cedric Washington (Knoxville, Tenn.) caught three passes for a team-high 84 yards and one score.
For the first time this season, the Panthers (4-2, 3-1 G-MAC) were the first team to score. ODU took the opening drive 71 yards over nine plays, as Colson paid off from six yards out. Kentucky Wesleyan (0-7, 0-4 G-MAC) then drove down the field and had first and goal on the ODU five-yard line. After a tackle for loss by Amato and senior Chris Green (Toledo, Ohio), sophomore Ashton Gilkey (Westerville, Ohio) picked off his third pass of the season in the end zone for a touchback and change of possession.
Colson scored again on the next Panther drive, nine plays and 80 yards, giving the team a 13-0 lead early in the second quarter. Ernst and Washington connected on a 42-yard touchdown as the half neared its end, giving ODU a 19-0 lead at the intermission.
The Purple Panthers started the second half with possession but on the third play from scrimmage, Amato picked off a pass and returned it 30 yards for a score. After KWC punt, Colson scored for the third time, this one from 14 yards out, putting the Black & Gold up 33-0 with 9:01 showing on the third period clock.
With KWC near midfield, they decided to go for it on a fourth and one but their pass attempt fell incomplete. Four plays later, on a fourth and two for ODU, Ernst recorded the longest rush of his career, 37 yards, to put the Panthers up 40-0 heading into the final period.
After KWC scored with just under six minutes remaining, the final touchdown of the game came from sophomore Rich Jones (Columbus, Ohio), who returned an interception 44 yards. Jones' score gave the Panthers multiple pick-six's in a game for the first time in program history.
ODU enjoyed a 413-280 edge in total offense, including a 217-52 advantage on the ground. The Panthers have rushed for over 200 yards in each of the last two outings, averaging six yards per carry during the stretch.
Ohio Dominican will look to finish the month of October unbeaten when the team welcomes Walsh on Saturday, Oct. 26. The Great Midwest contest will kick off at noon and will be Veteran's Appreciation Day at Panther Stadium.
Contact: Tyler Jester