Eagles Look To Corral Bisons

  • 11/23/2017 11:53:54 AM
  • Jeff Alan
  • Local Sports

ASHLAND, OH-  The 11-1 Ashland University football team will be at home for the second consecutive week Saturday when they host the Harding Bisons in round two of the NCAA Division II playoffs with the game set for a noon kickoff at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field.  The Eagles earned their way in by stopping defending D-2 national champ Northwest Missouri State in less than stellar weather conditions.

"No one has scored 21 points against Northwest Missouri State considering the field conditions that was a heck of an effort," said AU head coach Lee Owens.  We did turn it over, but every team in America that played in those conditions was turning the ball over.  Travis (Tarnowski) made three touchdown throws against an unbelievable defense and that's all we needed the way we were playing defense."

"It's just a tough group," said Ashland running back Luke Ogi on his teams' resiliency.  And that's due to the leadership of the team and all the seniors.  They've lead us through everything this season.  This has just been a great group for us this year and we just try to follow in their steps."

Ogi rushed for 82 yards on 26 carries vs the Bearcats, the second-best total against the nation's number one defense in D-2 all season long.  "The line did a great job blocking for me fullback, tight ends, all the credit goes to them they were creating seams for me." 

On Saturday's opponent Harding, the Eagles will face a ball control triple-option offense that has averaged over 350 yards of offense per game.  Says Owens, "The other night I watched Navy play Notre Dame to the end.  It's the exact same offense and Georgia Tech and Army and Harding those are the four top rushing teams in college football all divisions because of what they do.  They will limit the possessions of our offense.  It's a tough offense to defend particularly with only two days to prepare."

On playing at home in the playoffs, Ogi feels it works in his teams' favor.  "I think it's a huge advantage.  We have not lost a regular season game here, the seniors haven't in four years.  We really have an advantage here and we love playing here.  We get to sleep in our own beds Friday before the game it makes a difference."

The Ashland/Harding winner will be matched up next week with the winner of the Ferris State vs Fort Hays State winner next Saturday.       

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