Nationally-Ranked AU, ODU To Face Off At Jack Miller Stadium

Nationally-Ranked AU, ODU To Face Off At Jack Miller Stadium

For the full PDF version of the Week 3 game notes, go to


Sights and Sounds

This week's game will be broadcast live on WNCO-AM 1340, with Matt Brubaker handling the play-by-play and Don Graham providing the commentary. The game can be heard at, and also can be accessed on the scoreboard page on the home page of the AU athletics website -

Head coach Lee Owens also can be heard during his weekly appearance on WRDL-FM 88.9's morning show, "The Early Bird's Word," every Thursday at 8 a.m.


Looking Ahead and Behind

The 2015 home opener for Ashland University's football team is a matchup of Division II Top 25 teams. The Eagles, ranked 19th in this week's American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches' Top 25 Poll, will play host to Ohio Dominican, ranked 17th in the country.

A win in Week 3 would give the Eagles a 3-0 start for the second time in the last four seasons.

AU is 2-0 overall and in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference following a 31-24 overtime win at Walsh in Week 2. The Eagles overcame a 10-0 second-quarter deficit to win in OT for the first time since 2011.


Last Look At Week Two

Owens noted last week how much trouble his teams have had offensively at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

In Week 2 at Walsh, that trouble continued – until it mattered in the fourth quarter and overtime.

In Ashland's first overtime game in almost four full years (Sept. 17, 2011 at Hillsdale), sophomore quarterback Travis Tarnowski found a wide-open senior defensive end Chase Hoobler for a 5-yard touchdown pass, and the Eagle defense held Walsh on four downs on its OT possession for a 31-24 victory.

"It just continues. I don't know what it is here," said Owens. "We make more penalties, more mental mistakes and more turnovers here than anywhere we play.

"Walsh played a really good game. We told our guys, we said we can't look by this team. It may take 60 minutes, it may take the last play to win, and that's exactly what happened."

The win was AU's first in overtime since a 39-36 four-overtime decision at home against Indianapolis on Sept. 10, 2011.

The Eagles trailed the Cavaliers 10-0 in the second quarter. AU cut its deficit to 10-7 with 1:08 left until the half when Tarnowski, hit and falling away, threw a 20-yard jump-ball touchdown pass to sophomore tight end Adam Shaheen.

Ashland caught the second half's first break when Walsh junior running back Aaron Male fumbled, and junior free safety Terrell Hudson recovered at midfield with 4:55 left in the third quarter. The resulting 35-yard field goal attempt by sophomore kicker Aidan Simenc was good, and game was tied at 10 with 2:50 to go in the third.

The Eagles' first offensive play of the fourth quarter was a 76-yard catch-and-run from Tarnowski to Shaheen down the left sideline. Two plays later, Tarnowski kept the ball on a read-option play and scored on a six-yard touchdown run to the left pylon, giving AU 17 unanswered points and a 17-10 lead.

Walsh took the ensuing drive, however, and went 68 yards in nine plays, tying the contest at 17 on a two-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Kalvin Gordon.

The see-saw affair turned Ashland's way once again, as the Eagles re-took the lead at 24-17 with 3:55 to go in regulation when senior fullback Aaron Weyer plunged in for a one-yard TD. That dive capped off a 12-play, 75-yard drive which took 6:13 off the clock.

Walsh kept coming, however, and drove the ball. On first-and-goal at the AU 2 with 49 seconds left in regulation, Hudson stopped Gordon for a one-yard gain to the AU 1. But on second-and-goal, Gordon reached over the goal line for the tying touchdown with 40 seconds to go in the fourth.


Ashland-Ohio Dominican

The young series between the Eagles and the Panthers has been an interesting one in terms of who's won where. Ashland is 0-2 at home against Ohio Dominican, but 2-1 in Columbus.

Ashland's last victory in the series came in 2012 on the road, by a 44-21 count. Tailbacks Anthony Taylor (128) and Jordan McCune (115) each ran for more than 100 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns, while quarterback Taylor Housewright was 28-for-43 for 285 yards and two touchdowns passing.

In those five previous meetings with the Panthers, the Eagles haven't turned the ball over, and have an aggregate turnover ratio of plus-6.


Leaders Of The Pack

The 2015 Ashland University football captains are split evenly between offense and defense, and they span across three classes in eligibility.

This year's captains are senior safety Donzale Ashley, senior guard Jon Cipa, junior inside linebacker Brandon Gency and Tarnowski, a sophomore quarterback.


Honoring The 1965 Eagles

The 1965 Ashland College football team will be honored at halftime of Saturday night's game. Fifty years ago, the Eagles went 7-1-1 for head coach Dr. Fred Martinelli, and won the last of seven Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference championships, including their fourth in a row.

In 1965, AC began the season with a six-game undefeated streak (5-0-1). In nine games, the Eagle defense allowed just 88 points, and Ashland won four games by four points or less.

It was the Eagles' third season of play at Community Stadium, and the new facility and the winning team combined for an average home crowd of 3,585 fans for the four home games.


9-18                 31  Wooster  13                 Ashland

9-25                 7    Heidelberg  7             Tiffin

10-2                 16  Defiance  12                Ashland

10-9                 3    Bluffton  0                   Bluffton

10-16               47  Wilmington  12          Wilmington

10-23               9    Ohio Northern  7       Ashland (Homecoming)

10-30               14  Capital  19                   Bexley

11-6                 21  Northwood  18           Midland, Mich.

11-13               14  Marietta  0                   Ashland


Shaheen Adds Exciting Dimension

Shaheen very easily could be deemed Ashland University's version of Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham.

And with good reason.

While comparing Shaheen to two of the National Football League's top tight ends may be considered premature, the results through two games of the 2015 season suggests otherwise. He leads GLIAC tight ends in catches with 12, and is the Eagles' top target in terms of receptions, receiving yards (192) and touchdowns (two).

Shaheen lines up in a traditional tight end position, but also can line up wide and run past and through cornerbacks, something that AU's offense perhaps has never had.

"Adam's one guy where we can get a mismatch, so we try to find some ways where we can get him lined up and get the ball to him where he can make a big play, and he did that a couple times," said Owens.

Shaheen caught a 20-yard jump-ball touchdown pass for AU's first points near the end of the first half of the team's 31-24 overtime win at Walsh on Saturday (Sept. 12). He also recorded a 76-yard catch-and-run, the program's longest completion since a school-record-tying 96-yarder on Sept. 4, 2010.

His 151 receiving yards against Walsh is the first 100-yard receiving game by an AU tight end in the Owens era, and the first by an AU tight end this century.


Eagles' Overtime History

Ashland's overtime win in Week 2 was its first since Sept. 10, 2011 at home against Indianapolis, 39-36 in four extra periods.

In that game, the Eagles trailed the Greyhounds by 10 points in the second quarter. On Saturday, AU trailed Walsh by 10 points in the second quarter.

The Eagles even their all-time overtime record at 4-4.

Here is AU's overtime history, since the NCAA eliminated ties to begin the 1996 season:






at Walsh

W, 31-24 (1)


at Hillsdale

L, 34-40 (3)



W, 39-36 (4)


at Gannon

W, 22-19 (1)



L, 17-23 (1)



L, 35-42 (1)



W, 30-27 (2)


at Indianapolis

L, 16-19 (1)


"You practice it and you have plays set aside for it," Owens said of overtime. "We're not going to be not prepared for it. There's certain plays that you need to be able to call. Going first, you have to put points on the board. You hope you don't have to go first. You'd like to go second so you know whether it's three or seven (points) that you need to score to win or tie."


The Eagles' Last 100

In the last 100 games, dating back to the first game of the 2006 season, Ashland is 67-33 (.670) overall. During that time, the Eagles are 64-26 (.711) in GLIAC games, and have made three NCAA Division II postseason appearances (2007, 2008 and 2012).


Sustained Conference Excellence

In all-time Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference/GLIAC play, the Eagles are 155-95 (.620). AU's winning percentage in MIFC/GLIAC play is fourth-best all-time, trailing only Grand Valley State (.791), Butler (.759) and Ohio Dominican (.667).

Ashland's Week 2 game at Walsh was the program's 250th all-time MIFC/GLIAC game.


Eagle Nuggets

- The 75 rushing yards Ashland allowed to Walsh is the defense's best effort since allowing 54 at home to Northern Michigan on Oct. 25, 2014.

- Ashland's defense hasn't allowed a touchdown pass in 69 pass attempts in 2015.

- The Eagles are 5-2 in their last seven road games.