Ashland University's football team went toe-to-toe with No. 2-ranked Ferris State on Saturday (Sept. 21) night at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field, but turnovers were the deciding factor in a 28-13 loss to the Bulldogs.
The No. RV Eagles are 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while FSU is 3-0, 1-0.
The Bulldogs recorded interceptions on three of the Eagles' final five drives, and turned them into two touchdowns. Ashland forced four Ferris State mistakes, but scored just seven points off of them.
"I'm not sure anybody in America had a tougher league opener than what we did tonight," said Ashland head coach Lee Owens. "That's a heck of a football team. Very talented football team, very physical football team.
"We made too many mistakes."
THE MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
- The Bulldogs went ahead 14-0 in the first 6:40 of the game thanks to a 43-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jayru Campbell to wide receiver Xavier Wade, and a Campbell four-yard touchdown run.
- Ashland forced two turnovers in the first quarter – an acrobatic interception by senior rover Nick Powers, and a fumble recovery by sophomore defensive tackle Nick Cone. The Eagles, however, didn't turn either Bulldogs miscue into points.
- The Eagles got on the board when junior kicker Satchel Denton nailed a 42-yard field goal with 8:06 left until halftime.
- Ashland cut its deficit to 14-10 with 21 ticks left until the halftime break when sophomore quarterback Austin Brenner scrambled for a 23-yard touchdown run. Brenner's score came two plays after redshirt freshman defensive back Jordan Swett's 51-yard interception return, the Eagles' third takeaway of the first half.
- Ferris State upped its lead to 21-10 late in the third quarter when Campbell went in from a yard out, capping an 82-yard, 10-play drive. Denton then started the fourth quarter with a 40-yard field goal to make it a 21-13 score.
- With 4:13 left on the regulation clock, Ashland got the ball back at its own 8, looking to tie. The Bulldogs, however, recorded their third interception of the game one play later, and on the next play, FSU running back Marvin Campbell scored for the final margin of victory.
- Ashland yielded just 2.9 yards per carry to the potent Ferris State offense (50 attempts for 143 yards), and has kept nine of its last 13 opponents to 3.0 yards per rushing attempt or less.
"Our defensive football team, they fought their tail off tonight," Owens said. "I commend them for the effort they made defensively, the way they battled all night long."
- Brenner was 19-for-49 for 167 yards and three interceptions, and added 74 yards and a touchdown on 11 rushes.
- Junior wide receiver Dakota Hobbs caught a game-high seven passes for 79 yards.
- In addition to his acrobatic pick, Powers ended the night with 11 total tackles (seven solo), a sack and two tackles for loss.
- Jayru Campbell, the reigning NCAA Division II Player of the Year, was 16-for-29 for 246 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions, and ran for 40 yards and two scores on 15 attempts.
- Ferris State has won 21 consecutive regular-season games.