Oct. 31, 2009

Courtesy of Marietta

MARIETTA, Ohio — The 2009 Marietta College football team proved once again that anything can happen when teams collide on the gridiron during Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) play. The young Pioneers sent a shock wave around the league Saturday (Oct. 31) afternoon by scoring in the final minute en route to a 25-22 upset of #7 Otterbein College on Senior Day at Don Drumm Stadium [Box Score]

The victory helped Marietta (3-5, 2-5 OAC) snap a five-game losing streak on the year as well as a 4-game losing streak in the series. It is also the Pioneers' first win over a ranked team since knocking off #20 Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, during the 2006 season. Otterbein fell from the ranks of the unbeaten and is now 7-1 overall, 6-1 in league play.

Marietta and Otterbein were tied at 7-7 after the first quarter, while Marietta led 14-13 at halftime and mainainted the 1-point advantage heading into the fourth period.

Marietta, who entered with the OAC's second-ranked defense, held the high-powered Otterbein offense, which ranked second in both scoring and total offense, to just 289 yards while racking up 456 yards of its own. The Cardinals finished with 251 yards rushing but just 38 yards passing. The Pioneers, meanwhile, ran for 169 yards and passed for 287 yards.

Otterbein opened the game with a 6-play, 60-yard drive, which was capped off by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Schlosser to Ryan Rowley less than 2 minutes into the action.

Marietta answered on its first possesion with a 9-play, 83-yard drive to knot the score at 7-7 with 10:03 left in the first period. Sophomore Andrew Keller (Cincinnati, Glen Este), the Galaxy Pizza Player of the Game, completed passes of 17 yards, 8 yards and 20 yards before finally running it in from 1-yard out.

The Cardinals looked as if they were going to regain the lead but Pioneer junior Joe Williams (Akron, Archbishop Hoban) blocked a 46-yard field goal attempt and Marietta took over on its own 9-yard line. Marietta then moved 91 yards on 15 plays over the next 5:38 to capture a 14-7 lead. Senior Lamar Hunter (South Euclid, Brush) closed the scoring drive with a 4-yard touchdown run, and Marietta led by 7 points with 9:22 to play in the half.

Otterbein's offense answered with a 9-play, 59-yard drive that ended with Colton Coy scampering into the end zone from 4-yards out. The ensuing extra point attempt missed to the right and Marietta held on to the lead, 14-13 as the teams entered intermission.

Both teams traded possessions but could not score in the third period. That would all change as the final 15 minutes produced 4 lead changes. Otterbein got a 25-yard field goal by David Brewer on the third play of the final frame to take back the lead, 16-14.

Marietta was forced to punt and then turned the ball over on an interception to end its next two possessions but its defense gave the offense the ball back on its own 22-yard line with 7:52 to play in the game. Keller led the offense into Otterbein territory before being sacked for an 8-yard loss on third down. Facing a fourth down and 10 from the 29-yard line, the Pioneers turned to freshman place kicer Zane Eschbaugh (Marietta, Marietta), who drilled a 47-yard field goal, his first collegiate attempt, to give his squad the 17-16 advantage with just over 3 minutes on the clock.

The lead was short-lived however, as Otterbein took over with a short field following a 44-yard kickoff return from Anthony Korpieski. Two plays later the Cardinals were celebrating in the end zone as backup quarterback Kyle Stoughton scored on a 34-yard touchdown run to give his team back the lead, 22-17. Otterbein went for the two-point conversion but the pass was incomplete.

Marietta then took over on its own 31-yard line with 2:18 to play in the game. Keller and sophomore wide receiver Chad Walker (Spring Hill, Fla., Central) went to work, teaming up four times for a total of 51 yards, highlighted by a 17-yard touchdown connection in the corner of the end zone to give the Pioneers a 23-22 advantage with 59 seconds to go. Marietta converted the two-point attempt to increases it lead to 25-22.

Sophomore Jake Depp (Geneva, Geneva), who got the start in place of injured senior strong safety George Davis, sealed the upset with interception Stoughton's first-down pass, allowing Marietta to run out the final 49 seconds and celebrate the 25-22 win.

Keller finished the day 25-of-43 and threw for a career-high 287 yards, while Walker caught a career-best 10 passes for 145 yards and junior Cory Kriechbaum (Marietta, Marietta) added 7 receptions for 80 yards. Hunter continued to carry the load on the ground, finishing with 26 rushes for 146 yards. It is his fourth 100-yard game of the season.

Coy ended his day with 17 carries for 101 yards, while teammate Eric Yates had 13 carries for 79 yards. Schlosser, who left the game with an injury at the end of the first quarter, finished 6-of-9 and threw for 41 yards, while backup Stoughton was 2-of-8 for -3 yards.

Williams led all tacklers with a game-high 10 stops, while freshman George Grady (Willowick, Eastlake North) and junior Adam Tate (Chesterhill, Federal Hocking) both added 8 hits to lead Marietta. David Ebright had 8 tackles, while Chad Woodfork and Donnie Reinhart both had 6 stops for Otterbein.

Marietta will look to build off the victory when it makes the trek to Tiffin, Ohio, on Saturday (Nov. 7) for a match-up with host Heidelberg University at 1:30 p.m. The game will be played on Heidelberg's campus, marking the first time in nearly 60 years that the Student Princes will play an OAC game there.