Muskingum upsets No. 9 Ohio Northern 27-7
By: Tim Glon NEW CONCORD — Muskingum scored on three consecutive first half possessions and registered seven quarterback sacks to upset No. 9-ranked Ohio Northern 27-7 Saturday afternoon at McConagha Stadium. The Polar Bears fall to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the Ohio Athletic Conference, while the Muskies improve to 3-0, 2-0. Ohio Northern controlled the ball for 35 minutes and ran 92 plays to 52 for the Muskies, but failed to convert on numerous scoring opportunities in dropping its first road contest of the season. ONU had the ball inside MU territory on seven possessions after its initial score and could not convert them into points. "We did not make plays and did not take advantage of our opportunities today," ONU head coach Dean Paul said. "Muskingum played very well and deserved to win. They made plays. We simply did not make plays in any aspect of the game. We need to learn from this, get back to work and continue to get better as a team." Northern out-gained MU in total offense 328-322 and 23 first downs to 16 for the Muskies. Junior Joe Powell led the ONU defense with 12 tackles and a forced fumble. Sophomore Tyler Rue completed 16 of 29 passes for 131 yards and a TD, junior Chad Mason completed 9 of 17 passes for 90 yards and sophomore Justin Buenger ran 15 times for 41 yards for Ohio Northern. But Muskingum, who entered the game leading the nation with an average of 8.5 sacks per game, sacked ONU quarterbacks seven times for 44 yards in losses, thwarting several ONU drives. The Polar Bears got on the board first when Rue hit junior Justin Wilson on an 8-yard TD pass with 3:39 gone in the contest. Senior Jeff Butler set up the score when he forced and recovered a fumble at the Muskingum 37-yard line on the second play of the game. Muskingum quickly answered, marching 70 yards in 10 plays on its ensuing possession and tied the game at 7-7 on a 4-yard run by Dalton Smith with 5:51 left in the opening period. Smith then hit Demetrius Bailey on a 56-yard TD pass to give the Muskies a 13-7 lead with 12 seconds left in the first quarter. Smith connected on another long ball on the Muskies' next possession, hitting Antowan Logan on a 45-yard TD pass to give the hosts a 20-7 lead with 12:44 left in the half. The Polar Bears marched inside the Muskingum 25-yard line on each of their next three possessions, but could not score any points, missing a field goal, turning the ball over on downs and throwing an interception. Muskingum made ONU pay, driving 58 yards in nine plays and went ahead 27-7 on a 3-yard run by Smith with 4:02 left in the third period. Palmer Smith ran 18 times for 86 yards and Dalton Smith completed 7 of 12 passes for 160 yards and 2 TDs for Muskingum. The Polar Bears will return to action next Saturday to host No. 2-ranked Mount Union at 1:30 pm at Dial-Roberson Stadium as part of ONU's Homecoming Weekend.