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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 pull off nail-biter, 37-35, in fourth overtime period

The Ashland University football team was led by wideout Dezmin Lyburtus’ 200+ yard receiving game
Mike Hopkins
Eagle running back Larry Martin motions to the sky after finding the endzone.

Intensity and physicality were on display all afternoon as the Ashland University Eagles football took on the University of Findlay Oilers in the 51st all-time meeting between the two squads. 

Heading into the outing, the two teams battled for the No. 2 spot in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC) standings, with the hopes of securing a birth into the CrossRoads Bowl Game in the coming weeks. The Eagles would battle from start to finish, barely pulling off the 37-35 win over the Oilers.

The two longtime rivals had a game that ended well past last regulation, but starting in the first quarter the Eagles added the only points to the scoreboard in the frame with a Larry Martin touchdown run. After a forced fumble by Jackson Myers, the Eagles were ahead 7-0. 

Quickly after the first quarter ended the Eagles got the ball back for the first time in the second and did not waste any time at all scoring in just two plays. Quarterback Trevor Bycznski found Dezmin Lyburtus over the middle, and his legs did the rest, dashing past the Oilers secondary for a 73 yard touchdown. 

“Big time players show up in big games, and he has shown up big time today,” said Head Coach Doug Geiser. 

With the 14-0 lead the Eagles tried to rely on the defense heading into the halftime break, but the Oilers offense began breaking through for the rest of the first half. Quarterback Alec Bornhorst spotted a tightly covered Cam Childers in the endzone to cut the Eagles lead in half with just under four and a half minutes to go in the first half. 

Then in the waning moments of the first 30 minutes, after a bad punt leaving the Oilers to take over in Eagle territory,  a designed quarterback run had Bornhorst waltzing into the endzone to knot the game at 14 a piece.  

“On their touchdown we gave them a short field. We can’t give them a short field again in the second half,” said Geiser at halftime. 

Coming out of the locker room the Eagles got an interception from safety Riely Weiss setting their offense up in the red zone. The Oilers held stout in the red zone leaving AJ Rhodes to knock home a 26 yard field goal to take a 17-14 lead. 

The drive ensuing after that had the Oilers take their first lead of the game with Bornhorst finding a wide open Garrett Clark running a wheel route out of the backfield into the left corner of the endzone for a 21-17 advantage. 

The Eagles countered back with an eight play drive that also ended with a wide open touchdown catch, this time it was Bcyznski to tight end Nabil Abdus-Salaam from 12 yards out. This started the back and forth affair of the second half and further, giving the Eagles a three point lead. 

Down the stretch in the 3rd quarter the Oilers’ kicker Brian Bartholomew tied the contest up at 24-24, but neither side scored in the 4th. The best chance to score was a field goal attempt with just three seconds left by Bartholomew, but it was blocked by the Eagles special teams unit and recovered by Jackson Myers to end regulation. 

In the first overtime both teams would score three points with respective field goals by Rhodes and Bartholomew. The second overtime saw two touchdowns, one by each side, with Bornhorst running for his second of the game and Libertus catching a tough pass in the back right corner of the endzone. The game was then tied at 33 a piece and both teams would have to attempt two point conversions to find a winner.  

The third overtime featured tight end Mike Rigerman catching a pass from Bornhorst to put the Oilers ahead 35-33. To counter, Bycznski found Libertus once again in the endzone but this time for two points to tie the game at 35-35. 

Quadruple overtime final found the game a winner when Devon Prude deflected the Oilers two point attempt away. After that Bcyznski threaded the needle on a pass to senior Jake McLaughlin to score the walk off winner, ending the contest at a score of 37-35. 

The Eagles now move into sole possession of second place within the Great Midwest Athletic Conference. Next up is the regular season finale, as the Eagles will travel to Kentucky to take on the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 P.M. on Nov 11. 

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