TIFFIN -- They had their (birthday) cake and ate it, too.
Second half pick-sixes by Donovan Walker and birthday-boy Michael Warden helped the Heidelberg University football team upset No. 9 John Carroll, 47-21. The walloping was The Berg's first win over a ranked opponent since a 21-0 win over No. 25 Otterbein on October 13, 2012.
With the win in their home opener, Heidelberg moved to 3-0, 2-0 in the conference. John Carroll fell to 1-2, 1-1.
The Heidelberg secondary tallied five interceptions on the day -- their first five-pick day since October 31, 2015 vs. Wilmington. Walker and Warden each had two interceptions while Jermaine Burket had one.
Quarterback Tyler Stoyle and his cadre of wide receivers picked about the JCU secondary -- especially in the first half. Stoyle was 20-of-35 for 317 yards and three scores.
The Student Princes have hung 40+ points on all three opponents this season -- Olivet, Ohio Northern and John Carroll -- all of whom were either ranked or receiving Top 25 votes at the time of victory.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Jermaine Burket's interception midway through the first set up the first Heidelberg score. Burket stepped in front of an Anthony Moeglin pass at the JCU 35 and returned it to the 17. On the first play from scrimmage, tailback Cameron Vocke received the snap and ran it wide to the right before cutting back into the end zone. Austin Baker added the extra point.
After JCU tied the game early in the second, HU responded quickly. Tyler Stoyle hit a streaking Tony Morris in stride down the left sideline. Morris high-stepped his way through a tackle and went 73 yards for the score.
Leading 14-7, Demetrius Magee caught a seven-yard pass in the end zone, despite being draped by a defender. Baker's kick was deflected, but caromed through the uprights for a 21-7 lead.
A rare interception by Stoyle set up another Blue Streaks touchdown, with Arin Pruitt dancing in from two yards out.
Heidelberg added a 33-yard Baker field goal before the half and jogged into the locker room with a 10-point lead.
On the opening drive of the second half, A 48-yard field goal attempt by Matt Danko was blocked. Heidelberg would add another 33-yard Baker field goal later in the third.
Up 27-14, Donovan Walker picked off a Moeglin pass at the HU 48 and took it to the west end zone for six. The PAT was blocked.
Driving into Heidelberg territory on the ensuing possession, JCU stalled at the 30. Eschewing a 47-yard field goal try, the Blue Streaks opted to go for it on 4th-and-12. Michael Warden slid and snared a pass by Riley Larkin at the 14.
To start the fourth, JCU seemed to have their own pick-six, but an offsides penalty negated what could have been a game-changer. Instead, Heidelberg drove deep into JCU territory before turning it over on downs.
On the second play, Warden capped off his birthday with a 39-yard pick-six -- and seemingly sealed the game.
Down 40-14, JCU methodically drove 74 yards for a score, creeping to within 19.
After recovering an onside kick attempt, The Tricolor had a short field. After four Jace Grossman carries, Stoyle found Magee along the right side for a 29-yard touchdown.
Walker put an exclamation mark on the stunning Heidelberg victory with his second interception of the game.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
Morris (a career-high 135 yards) and Magee (109 yards) became the first pair of HU receivers to break the century mark in the same game since Donteea Dye and Christian Dominguez did it on October 18, 2014 vs. Mount Union. Magee had a career-high 10 receptions..
Baker's 33-yarders tied his career high which he set while kicking at Lake Erie. Early in the game, he fielded a high punt snap, avoided a Blue Streak player and uncorked 38-yard punt downed at the seven. The poor field position helped play a role in Burket's pick.
The Student Princes have won seven straight games, dating back to 2016.
Head coach Scott Donaldson on the game: "We forced them to throw the ball and that's where our specialty lies, in our defense … Everyone stepped up and made plays today, from Stoyle to the entire bench."
Michael Warden on the defense: "We have a great group of guys on defense and we played really aggressive today … We all did our part in this win."
Donovan Walker on moving ahead: "We have to take it week by week .. we put all of our focus into this game and it paid off … Now we prepare for Muskingum."
The Student Princes board the buses and head to New Concord on Saturday -- facing the Muskies (1-2, 0-2 OAC) for a 1 p.m. start. Heidelberg needed a late touchdown to seal a 27-24 win over the Muskies last season.