ADA, Ohio. -- "Gosh, Bendo would love this."
Watching the Heidelberg University offensive line bully the Ohio Northern Polar Bears en route to a 655-yard outburst, 'Berg Head Coach Scott Donaldson thought of his old friend. The late Jason Bendekovic loved smashmouth football and would have loved to watch the Student Princes pound ONU, 40-21.
With the Bendo Bowl VII victory, Heidelberg improved to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. ONU slipped to 1-1, 0-1.
With 365 yards passing and 290 on the ground, a balanced Heidelberg offense kept the ONU defense on its heels.
Three different Student Princes scored their first collegiate touchdowns -- including a breakout performance by freshman tailback Jace Grossman. Grossman has 87 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Keivon Belcher and Josh Cross had the others.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Heidelberg took the opening kick and marched 75 yards in four plays for the first score of the game. Vocke danced in from a yard out two plays after Tyler Stoyle hit Demetrius Magee for a 60 yard completion. Austin Baker's PAT gave HU a 7-0 lead.
Later in the first, ONU drove deep into Berg territory. John Eckroth broke through the line on third down and sacked Polar Bear quarterback Will Freed for a seven-yard loss. ONU settled for a 38-yard field goal attempt -- which was blocked by Eckroth.
Jarett Wasson's second interception of the season in the second quarter helped set up Heidelberg's second touchdown of the game. Josh Cross scored his first collegiate touchdown, squirting through a sea of bigger bodies and into the end zone. Baker's pass on a 2-point conversion attempt was incomplete.
Midway through the second, Chad Rex hauled in a two-yard pass from Freed to put ONU on the board. Heidelberg went into the locker room with a 13-7 advantage.
Heidelberg took their first possession of the second half 91 yards in 11 plays -- scoring on a Jace Grossman 4-yard rush. Grossman carried about four Polar Bears into the end zone with him for his first collegiate touchdown.
On the ensuing possession, a fake punt keyed an ONU scoring drive that brought the hosts back to within six at 20-14 midway through the third.
The Polar Bear momentum lasted precisely 23 seconds.
Vocke took a handoff on the first play after the kickoff, ran off tackle to the right before breaking free for a 91-yard touchdown rush along the right sideline. Baker's PAT was blocked.
Rex closed out the third quarter with his third touchdown of the day, a three-yard pass from Freed. Rex finished with six catches for 144 yards and three scores. Freed was 23-of-32 passing for 289 yards, along with the three TDs and one INT.
Leading 26-21 at the start of the fourth, Heidelberg demoralized the Polar Bears by grinding the clock and padding the lead. First, Stoyle connected with a wide-open Belcher for a 34-yard pitch-and-catch. Baker's PAT was true, giving HU a 33-21 lead.
After an ONU punt, Heidelberg regained possession at their own 20 yard line with 9:02 to play. A 14-play drive, resulting in a game-sealing Grossman touchdown from six yards out, chewed up a total of 8:15. HU converted on three third downs on the drive.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
The Heidelberg defense held vaunted ONU running back Christiaan Williams to a career-low 73 yards rushing. It was the first time in his collegiate career that the sophomore did not rush for more than 100 yards.
Cam Vocke finished with 179 yards on 17 carries, and 232 yards from scrimmage -- all career highs.
Magee's 176 yards receiving were the most by a Heidelberg receiver in Ada since Donteea Dye's 148-yard breakout performance at ONU in 2012. Magee finished with
Stoyle's 365-yard effort is his eighth 300+ yard performance. He was 22-for-33.
The Heidelberg offensive line did not yield a sack.
On the day, Heidelberg was 10-of-13 on third down.
Jarett Wasson had nine tackles, one interception and one sack.
BENDO BOWL VII
The Student Princes are 6-1 in the Bendekovic Bowl. The trophy game is played in honor of the late Ronnie and Jason Bendekovic. Ronnie and Jason were assistant coaches at ONU and HU at the time of their premature passing.
Head coach Scott Donaldson on the meaning of the Bendo Bowl: "Personally, this game means everything to me … Jason was one of my best friends and to come out here and play as well as we did, especially up front means everything … Watching how our O-line performed, letting Cam Vocke break off big runs without getting touched …. That's the beauty of it."
Donaldson on the defense: "Our D-line did an unbelievable job today … they were everywhere … We knew that would be a big advantage for us … The guys on that unit are all quick and we use that to our advantage."
Donaldson on the Grossman: "Jace Grossman is a great change-of-pace back for us and is so smart as a freshman and I am really excited to see what he will do for us in the future."
Donaldson on Magee: "Demetrius Magee wants to do whatever it takes to help this team win … He's tough to stop."
The Student Princes make their home debut on Saturday -- facing No. 9 John Carroll (1-1, 1-0 OAC) for a 1:30 p.m. start. JCU narrowly defeated cross-Cleveland rival Baldwin Wallace, 24-21. The game marks HU's annual Families and Fellows Day celebration.