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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

Eagles win ninth all-time outing against Cavaliers, 21-7, in dominant showing

The Eagles improved to 3-3 overall on the season and 3-1 in conference play
Mike Hopkins
Eagle defensive end Chris Julian continues to shine in the 2023-24 season.

The Ashland University football team has now found its first multi-game win streak of the 2023-24 season as the Eagles were able to pull off a victory at home over the Walsh University Cavaliers.

On Saturday, Oct. 7, the two sides went toe-to-toe at Jack Miller Stadium with cold air, heavy winds and light rain coming down over the players as they battled from start to finish. With Eagle quarterback Trevor Bycznski finding himself with over 200 passing yards and three touchdowns, the Eagles were able to find themselves in the driver’s seat with a 21-7 win against the Cavaliers.

In the first quarter of play, the Eagles were able to receive the ball, with the team opening up the contest offensively. The Eagle offense found a quick strike at the hands of wideout Jent Joseph who dashed 55 yards down the field to put the Eagles onto the Cavaliers’ side of the field early.

However, that drive would last a measly six plays before they would ultimately end up punting the ball away.

The following few drives would sputter out before the Cavaliers would attempt a field goal on the fourth drive of the contest.

This, coming from 47 yards out, would miss wide right, giving the Eagles possession at the Eagles’ 30-yard line. They would then proceed to march 70 yards down the field to open the contest up with a bang as Bycznski would throw a one yard score to wideout Jake McLaughlin to open the contest up with a 7-0 lead.

The next five drives would see both teams struggle, as neither team would be able to produce much offensive consistency. The Cavaliers would hold three of those five drives, showcasing just 24 total yards through 16 plays.

The Eagles would then find themselves on the scoreboard for the final time of the first half as Bycznski marched the Eagles down the field in three plays, going 44 yards before finding a score.

This drive saw McLaughlin make another huge play as he made a leaping catch at the 10-yard line on a 34-yard heave from Bycnzksi to set up the Eagles with perfect field position. On the next play though, the Eagles would be knocked with a 15-yard penalty, backing the team up.

The very next play Bycznski found Joseph for a 25-yard score off a slant, as he dashed for six. The PAT from kicker A.J. Rhodes would be missed off a botched snap, leaving the contest’s score line at 13-0.

That score would come with 1:35 left on the clock until halftime hit as the Cavaliers looked to lessen the blow heading into halftime, but the Eagle defense would remain strong as they forced them off the field, heading into the remaining 30 minutes with a 13-0 lead.

Bycznski would head into halftime leading the Eagles with two scores and completing 11-of-20 passes for over 150 yards through the air.

At the halftime break, Eagle Head Coach Doug Geiser applauded his teams effort for the way in which they defied odds defensively and kept the Cavaliers off the board.

“Not a lot of missed tackles in the first half,” said Geiser. “That is usually a pretty good recipe for success. We need to continue to make tackles.

To open the second half, the Cavaliers received possession off the kickoff, setting up a chance for them to bring the contest back within reach as they trailed by 13 points.

However, a botched kickoff return and a phenomenal play made from special teams standout Tony Pannunzio would pin them inside the Cavalier 10-yard line.

The offense for the Cavaliers would travel down the field in 6:31, wasting a lot of time off the clock early through 15 plays and 90 yards of offense. Although it took them some time, they would end up finding the teams first score of the game.

On fourth and two from the two yard line, the team would bring out backup quarterback Hayden Wickard who would find tight end Braeden Elwer for the touchdown.

The Cavaliers’ score would cut the contest down to just six points, 13-7, making things more than manageable moving forward.

The next three drives would then consist of 10 plays going for six yards for both teams combined, marking a lot of back and forth play being displayed. Both teams’ defenses shined as they continued to put pressure on the other sides quarterback, forcing mistakes and pushing offenses off the field.

The following drive however, with 2:24 remaining in the third quarter, the biggest mistake of the game would occur for the Cavaliers as quarterback Dalys Jett tossed a lob to the Eagles’ sideline with safety Anthony Harkness jumping up and snagging the ball from the sky, picking the ball off for the Eagles.

It would be his first interception of the season, coming in a pivotal moment as the Eagles looked to enter into the final 15 minutes with momentum.

The Eagle offense would then sputter once more as they would go six yards in three plays before punting the ball away back to the Cavaliers. They would down the ball at the one yard line, forcing the Cavaliers to produce something magical.

The Cavaliers would then once again have one of the teams most promising drives of the game as they went 57 yards down the field in four plays. The highlight of the drive came as Jett tossed a 50-yard missile down the field for wideout Anthony Harris who jumped up and made a spectacular catch, giving the Cavaliers possession at the midfield line.

With the Cavaliers garnering momentum, the Eagles would make three straight stops, forcing a punt.

This would effectively kill the contest for the Cavaliers.

The Eagles would go on to find another score as they wasted 6:42 off the clock in 14 plays and 80 yards of offense before Bycznski threw a screen to Pannunzio, who would dash 27-yards to the house. The team would then elect to go for a two-point conversion to solidify the contest, where Bycnzski would waltz in from two yards out.

The Eagles would finish the game with a 21-7  score line, solidifying a victory at home. The Eagles’ victory marked the first time in the 2023-24 season that they were able to produce a multi-win streak, which now sits at two games.

The team was led by Bycnzski who threw for 232 yards and three touchdowns while going 15-for-28 through the air. His three touchdowns went to Joseph, McLaughlin and Pannunzio, who helped lead the Eaglers to a victory.

On the ground, running back Larry Martin carried the ball 18 times for 131 yards, helping propel the Eagles’ running attack past its early-season inconsistencies.

Defensively, the Eagles held the Cavalier offense to just 253 total yards of offense, and locked down one of the best running back rooms in the conference, holding them to just 90 yards. They also held them to just seven points, now 13 total through the last two games.

“They [the defense] did a great job, starting with the coordinator Tim Rose,” said Geiser. “He puts the team in good situations and that helps the players execute the game plan.”

The 3-3 Eagles next look to take on the Northwood Timberwolves in conference play on the road on Saturday, Oct. 14 with kickoff set for 1:00 P.M.

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