By Tim Glon
| Box Score |
UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS -- Senior Kyle Simmons accounted for 32 of No. 11 Ohio Northern's 35 points as the Polar Bears posted a 35-14 Ohio Athletic Conference football victory at John Carroll Saturday evening at Don Shula Stadium.
The Polar Bears improve to 6-1 overall and 5-1 in Ohio Athletic Conference action, while the Blue Streaks fall to 3-4, 3-3.
Simmons completed 14-of-21 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns, ran 10 times for 31 yards and two scores and ran for a 2-point conversion to lead ONU.
Senior All-American Brent Donley rushed 20 times for 99 yards for Northern.
The Polar Bears dominated every aspect of a deciding third period, running 26 plays to just six for JCU and out-gaining the Blue Streaks 173-3 in the period. Northern controlled the ball for 12:05 of the quarter and turned a tight 21-14 game into a 35-14 lead with a pair of long touchdown drives.
The Polar Bears marched 83 yards in six plays on their first possession of the second half. ONU scored on a 31-yard TD pass from Simmons to junior Jared Oehler with 2:46 gone in the period to extend the lead to 28-14.
The ONU defense forced a JCU punt and the Northern offense began to march again. It took 11 plays for the Polar Bears to score on an 8-yard TD pass from Simmons to Donley on a play in which Donley lined up as a wide receiver and caught the ball in the corner of the end zone for the score.
Sophomore DeMarqus Payne ran for 37 yards on the drive, which gave ONU a 35-14 advantage with 5:35 left in the third.
The ONU defense forced another three-and-out and Northern's offense got right back on track.
A 17-play, 47-yard drive took 7:49 off the clock. The drive ended on a missed 37-yard field goal, but there was only 11:55 left in the game at that point.
John Carroll had a solid night on the ground, as quarterback Devin O'Brien and Da'Quan Grobsmith ran for 114 and 96 yards, respectively. The pair had combined for 189 rushing yards in the first half, but the ONU defense did a much better job against the run in the final 30 minutes.
"It was a very busy halftime," ONU head coach Dean Paul said. "John Carroll had a nice game plan and executed it very well. They are an outstanding team that is very well coached. But our guys kept our poise. It's easy to get rattled when things are tough. Our assistant coaches did a great job of making adjustments at halftime.
"The way we came out in the third quarter was huge. (Offensive
Coordinator) Troy Rothenbuhler did a great job of being creative
with some of our play-calling and formations in the second half and
that was a big factor."
Senior Josh Bowman had a career-high 12 tackles and junior Chad Coward added 11 tackles for the Polar Bear defense.
Northern got on the board first on a 1-yard sneak by Simmons with 2:46 left in the first period. The extra point failed and ONU led 6-0.
The big play of the drive was a 56-yard pass from Simmons to senior Ryan Fleming on a 3rd-and-5 play that put the ball at the JCU 4-yard line.
The Blue Streaks answered just 54 seconds later, as Devin O'Brien scored from 26 yards out on a quarterback draw, giving JCU a 7-6 lead with 1:52 left in the opening period.
Simmons matched O'Brien's draw with a scoring run of his own, scampering in from three yards out to put ONU up 12-7 with 14:06 left in the half.
Simmons kept the ball on a fake PAT attempt, and swept in on the option play to extend the lead to 14-7.
The Polar Bears took a 21-7 lead when Simmons hit senior Brook Crawford on a 6-yard TD pass with 6:49 left in the half. Senior Jesse Richards recovered a fumble at the JCU 20-yard line, setting up the short scoring drive.
The Blue Streaks closed the half in strong fashion, driving 93 yards in 15-plays, taking 6:31 off the clock, and scoring on a 4-yard run by Grobsmith to pull within 21-14 with 18.5 seconds left in the half.
C.J. Schneider had a game-high 21 tackles for JCU.
The contest will be televised tape-delay on SportsTime Ohio.
Show times are Sunday at Noon, Monday at 5 am and Wednesday at 5
am. Check your local listings for channel information.
The Polar Bears will return to action next Saturday at Marietta at 1:30 pm at Don Drumm Stadium.