No. 12 Ohio Northern holds off Otterbein 34-33 in overtime thriller
By: Tim Glon
ADA — The first overtime game in Ohio Northern football history will be remembered for a long time.
The No. 12 Polar Bears stopped a 2-point conversion try in the first overtime to defeat Otterbein 34-33 Saturday afternoon at Dial-Roberson Stadium.
ONU improves to 2-0 overall and is 1-0 in Ohio Athletic Conference play, while OU falls to 1-1, 0-1.
After Austin Schlosser hit Brock Burzanko on a 7-yard TD pass in the first overtime to pull Otterbein within 34-33, Schlosser's 2-point conversion pass to Trey Fairchild in the corner of the end zone was incomplete against a great deal of pressure from the ONU defense.
Northern scored on its overtime possession on a 8-yard run by quarterback Tyler Rue to give the Polar Bears a 34-27 advantage.
ONU had a chance to win the game in regulation, but a bad snap led to a blocked 34-yard field goal attempt with 23 second left and the game tied at 27-27.
Rue finished the day 15 of 33 passing for 139 yards and a pair of touchdowns to junior Justin Wilson.
Sophomore Justin Buenger eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for the second consecutive week, running 26 times for a career-high 122 yards and a TD for Ohio Northern.
Schlosser completed 20 of 35 passes for 201 yards and two TDs for the Cardinals.
Ohio Northern scored 24 consecutive points to take a 24-7 lead with 1:23 left in the first half.
OU opened the scoring on a 18-yard end around by Fairchild on the game's first possession and the visitors dominated much of the game's first 10 minutes.
But Senior Zack Click intercepted a pass and returned it to the OU 15-yard line, swinging the momentum and setting up a 32-yard field goal by sophomore Luke Rice.
ONU would march 69, 77 and 43 yards for TDs on its next three possessions and it looked like Ohio Northern was in control of the game.
Rue hit Wilson on TD passes of 5 and 20 yards to make it 17-7 ONU and Buenger plowed in from one yard out to give ONU a 24-7 lead with just 1:23 left before intermission.
But the Cardinals swung the momentum back in their favor and pulled within 24-14 on a 6-yard TD pass from Schlosser to Fairchild with just five seconds left before the half.
Otterbein would then march 57 and 60 yards for field goals on its first two possessions of the second half to trim the ONU lead to 24-20 with 1:48 left in the third quarter.
A 27-yard field goal by Rice would make it a 27-20 game with 10:18 left in the game.
OU would then drive 62 yards in 11 plays and tie the game at 27-all with 3:55 remaining on a 1-yard run by Schlosser.
Northern would answer by driving 45 yards in 13 plays to set up the potential game-winning field goal that was not to be.
Senior Chad Coward and sophomore Malcolm Burrell each set career-bests with 13 tackles to lead the ONU defense.
Northern out-gained Otterbein 361-333 and held a 222-132 advantage in rushing yardage.
The Polar Bears will return to action next Saturday with their first road test of the season, a 1:30 pm OAC battle at Muskingum.