DeMarqus Payne returns 2 kickoffs for TDs, runs for another as Ohio Northern tops Wilmington 51-15
WILMINGTON — Junior DeMarqus Payne returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and scored on a 4-yard run to lead Ohio Northern to a 51-15 football victory at Wilmington Saturday afternoon at Williams Stadium.
The Polar Bears improve to 6-3 overall and are 5-3 in Ohio Athletic Conference play, while the Quakers fall to 0-9, 0-8.
With the win, Ohio Northern clinched its 16th consecutive upper division finish in the 10-team OAC.
Payne finished the day with 86 yards rushing on 11 carries and returned kickoffs for 75 and 79 yards for touchdowns, finishing the day with 260 all-purpose yards.
Payne becomes the first Polar Bear in school history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same game.
Sophomore Tyler Rue completed 11 of 16 passes for 128 yards and one TD and ran five times for 62 yards and a touchdown and junior Carter Paul carried the ball 14 times for 84 yards to lead the ONU offense.
Defensively, junior Cody Kelly had a team-high 10 tackles and his sack led to a fumble return for a score.
"DeMarqus had a great day," ONU head coach Dean Paul said. "We did a nice job in all three phases of the game and took care of business. We got a large number of players into the game to gain experience, so that was a positive also."
With Ohio Northern leading 28-8 at halftime, Payne scored three third quarter touchdowns to put the game away.
First, he returned the second half kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown and the ONU lead was 35-8 just 12 seconds into the second half.
Payne then scored on a 4-yard run with 4:40 left in the third period to give Ohio Northern a 41-8 lead.
Arehart hit Heard on a 22-yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds left in the third to pull the Quakers within 41-15.
Payne returned the ensuing kickoff 79 yards for a score and the Polar Bears were up 48-15.
Rue got the Polar Bears on the board first when he ran 75 yards for a score on ONU's fourth play from scrimmage to quickly lead 7-0 just 4:08 into the contest.
Wilmington answered when Brandon Arehart scrambled in from a yard out with 1:37 left in the opening quarter.
Nate Stierhoff threw a 2-point conversion pass to Malcolm Heard after bad snap on the ensuing PAT, giving the Quakers an 8-7 lead.
The Polar Bears took the ensuing kickoff and marched 49 yards in five plays and took a 14-8 lead when senior C.J. Iliff plowed over from a yard out on the first play of the second period for his first career touchdown on only his second career carry.
Rue then hit senior Frank Thien on a 7-yard scoring pass and ONU's lead was 21-8 with 3:56 left in the half.
Senior Mike Prokopovich scooped up a fumble and rumbled in seven yards for a score on the next play from scrimmage and Northern's lead was 28-8 with 3:38 left in the opening half.
Kelly forced the fumble with a sack of Arehart. It was ONU's first fumble return for a touchdown since Brian Jemison accomplished the feat in a 2001 victory over Heidelberg.
Carter Paul carried the ball nine times on ONU's next drive, setting up a 22-yard field goal by junior Lee Leckasevic with 5:43 left in the game to wrap up the scoring.
Arehart completed 15 of 24 passes for 186 yards and a TD to lead the Quakers.
The Polar Bears will wrap up their 2011 season next Saturday with a 1:30 pm contest at Heidelberg.