Ashland University's football team earned a decisive Senior Day victory on Saturday (Nov. 16) afternoon, as the Eagles topped Northern Michigan, 31-10, at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field.
The Eagles finish the 2019 season at 7-4 overall and 6-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, good for a third-place finish in the league. The Wildcats end the campaign at 1-9, 0-8.
"It was all about our senior group," said Ashland head coach Lee Owens. "They showed up today. They've bounced back every time they've been down. They don't stay down. They get back up and keep fighting."
Ashland's seven wins gives the program 505 all-time, going into the celebration of the first century of Eagle football in 2020.
"We had to show up and play today," Owens said. "If not, we could have gone the whole game the way the first half was, a one-score game."
THE MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
- On its second drive of the game, Northern Michigan took a 3-0 lead following a 19-yard field goal from Daniel Riser. That drive started in Eagle territory following a Wildcat interception.
- Following the first career interception for senior safety Cedric Frierson, Ashland drove to the NMU 24, but failed to convert on a fourth-and-two run play.
- On the 10th play of the drive to start the second quarter, sophomore fullback Austin Williams plunged in from a yard out to give Ashland a 7-3 lead with 10:25 to go until halftime.
- Frierson picked off his second pass of the first half and his career just 15 seconds later, and that led to a seven-play, 68-yard drive which ended with a two-yard run by freshman tailback Jeffrey Barnett – and a 14-3 Eagle advantage.
- Northern Michigan quarterback Keshawn Howard countered on the next possession with a 34-yard touchdown draw to get the Wildcats to within four points at 14-10. That was set up by a 54-yard kickoff return by Tyquan Cox.
- Junior kicker Satchel Denton capped off a 6:29 drive to start the second half with a 37-yard field goal which extended Ashland's lead to 17-10.
- Barnett went in from four yards out for his second rushing touchdown of the afternoon less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, giving the Eagles a 24-10 lead. He then scored on a two-yard run with 7:36 to play for his third score of the contest to lift AU to a 31-10 bulge.
- Freshman tailback Gei'vonni Washington capped off the best rushing season in AU history for a first-year player by gaining 139 yards on a career-high-tying 31 carries. Washington became the first Eagle runner to have eight straight 100-yard games since D.J. McCoy in 2010, and his 1,205 rushing yards in 2019 are the sixth-most for any Ashland runner all-time.
- Barnett finished with 64 yards and three scores on just nine attempts, as the Eagles ran for 275 yards and four TDs on 53 tries.
"They were daring us to run the football," said Owens.
- Defensively, sophomore defensive end Curtis Roupe and senior stud Tristan Reichelderfer each ended with nine total tackles, Reichelderfer added a blocked field goal, and freshman cornerback Jordan Swett recovered a fumble.