Football drops hard-fought 20-16 decision to John Carroll

Football drops hard-fought 20-16 decision to John Carroll

By Tim Glon

ADA -- Ohio Northern freshman Christiaan Williams (Sidney/Anna) rushed for more than 100 yards for the sixth consecutive game, but five turnovers were too much to overcome as John Carroll edged ONU 20-16 on a beautiful Saturday night at Dial-Roberson Stadium.

The Polar Bears fall to 2-4 overall and are 2-3 in the Ohio Athletic Conference, while the Blue Streaks improve to 5-1, 5-0.

Williams snapped off a 63-yard run in the first quarter and finished the day with 113 yards rushing on 20 carries, marking the sixth time in his six collegiate games that he has eclipsed the 100-yard mark.

Sophomore Will Freed (Carlsbad, Calif./San Marcos) completed 15-of-28 passes for 227 yards and a score and senior Reed Allen (Whitehouse/Anthony Wayne) caught six passes for a season-high 134 yards and a score for ONU.

Junior Zach Schmerge (Wapakoneta) had a game-high 12 tackles to lead the Polar Bear defense.

A 22-yard field goal by sophomore Joe French (Elgin, Ill./St. Edward Central Catholic) put Ohio Northern up 16-13 with 8:27 left in the third quarter.

But the next four Polar Bear possessions would end in turnovers, one at the JCU 19 and three more inside the ONU 40.

The ONU defense would hold, allowing only a 13-yard TD run by Ro Golphin with 10:26 left in the game, but those would prove to be the winning points in the defensive battle.

Northern would out-gain John Carroll 310-309 in total offense despite JCU holding the ball for 39:20 and running 27 more plays than the hosts.

The Blue Streaks took a 6-0 lead when Sam Kukura scored on a 1-yard run with 4:36 left in the opening period.

But junior Mark Aguliar (Miami, Fla./American Heritage) would block the PAT to keep the score at 6-0.

Williams scored on his 63-yard TD run just four plays later, but French's PAT sailed wide right and the score was tied at 6-all with 2:37 left in the first.

Freed hit Allen on a 13-yard touchdown pass with 12:07 left in the half to put the Polar Bears ahead 13-6.

Kukura scored on a 3-yard run on a 4th-and-1 with 1:27 left in the half to tie the game at 13-all at intermission.

After French's field goal made it 16-13, the ONU defense forced a punt and the offense drove deep into JCU territory.

But a fumble at the 19-yard line thwarted the drive.

John Carroll then put together a 15-play drive that netted just 34 yards and missed a 46-yard field goal with 13:17 left in the game.

After an interception gave JCU the ball at the ONU 37-yard line and the visitors would capitalize with a 13-yard TD run by Golphin with 10:26 left in the game to put the Blue Streaks up 20-16.

John Carroll would get another pick, but the Polar Bear defense would for a punt with 6:25 to play.

A bad snap on a punt would give JCU that ball at the ONU 16, but junior Jason Hundley (Saint Cloud, Fla./Harmony) would block the 25-yard field goal attempt to keep Ohio Northern within four points with 1:09 to go.

But the ONU offense would only net one yard in four plays and the Blue Streaks would hold on for the win.

Golphin finished the day with 109 yards rushing on 21 carries to lead the JCU offense.

The Polar Bears will return to action next Saturday when they host Muskingum as part of Homecoming Weekend at ONU.