No. 8 Eagles To Face Chargers In Homecoming, Traveling Trophy Game

No. 8 Eagles To Face Chargers In Homecoming, Traveling Trophy Game

For the full PDF version of the Week 7 game notes, go to


Sights and Sounds

This week's game will be broadcast live on WNCO-AM 1340, with Matt Brubaker handling the play-by-play and Don Graham providing the commentary. The game can be heard at, and also can be accessed on the scoreboard page on the home page of the AU athletics website -

Head coach Lee Owens also can be heard during his weekly appearance on WRDL-FM 88.9's morning show, "The Early Bird's Word," every Thursday at 8 a.m.


Looking Ahead and Behind

The Week 7 game at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field between Ashland and Hillsdale is significant for a couple of reasons. Not only are the Eagles, No. 8 in Division II and leading the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's South Division, looking to improve their position and remain undefeated, Saturday afternoon's game also is Homecoming and the Traveling Trophy contest vs. the Chargers.

This will be the seventh Homecoming game for AU at its relatively-new home on Broad Street. It will be the first time the Chargers have been the Eagles' Homecoming opponent since 2001.

In Week 6, the Eagles improved to 4-0 on the road in 2015 with a 33-7 victory at Saginaw Valley State.


Last Look At Week Six

It's now six up, and six down.

Ashland University's football team improved to 6-0 overall and in the GLIAC following a 33-7 win in Week 6 at Saginaw Valley State (0-6, 0-5). The Eagles are two games ahead of both Ohio Dominican and Tiffin in the GLIAC South Division with four games to play.

This is the sixth time in program history that AU has started a season with at least six straight victories. The Eagles used 33 unanswered points, six scoring drives of 10 or more plays, 41:42 time of possession (most in the Owens era) and a defense which yielded just 163 yards to remain undefeated.

As was the case in last year's meeting, the Cardinals struck first. Quarterback Brad Odeman Jr. found wide receiver Marq Johnson for a 43-yard touchdown pass to give SVSU a 7-0 lead with 7:28 left in the opening quarter.

The ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, giving the Eagles good field position as their 35-yard line. Ashland marched 65 yards in 12 plays and tied the game on a four-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Travis Tarnowski.

Ashland took the lead for the first time at 10-7 with 5:29 to go until halftime when sophomore kicker Aidan Simenc hit a 23-yard field goal. That capped off a 15-play, 53-yard drive.

Just before halftime, AU finished off another lengthy drive – this one 10 plays and 67 yards – with a one-yard touchdown run by senior tailback Jordan McCune to make it 17 consecutive points and a 10-point lead.

On their first possession of the second half, the Eagles drove 75 yards in 16 plays to make it 20 straight points after a 25-yard Simenc field goal. After AU freshman tailback Andrew Vaughn recovered a Cardinal fumble on the ensuing kickoff at the SVSU 25, Simenc nailed his third field goal of the game from 21 yards for a 23-7 Eagle advantage with 3:47 left in the third quarter.

Early in the final quarter, Simenc hit his career-high fourth field goal – a 27-yarder – to give Ashland a 26-7 advantage. Vaughn capped the scoring with a three-yard touchdown run with 2:12 left in the contest.

Tarnowski was 26-for-44 for 280 yards, completing passes to 10 different receivers. Junior tailback Vance Settlemire ran 10 times for 36 yards and caught a career-high seven passes for 56 yards, all in the first half.

The Eagles were 13-for-19 on third downs and converted their only fourth-down attempt. Ashland ran 89 offensive plays (most since 89 at Grand Valley State last season) to SVSU's 40.



The Eagles and Chargers have been playing each other almost yearly since 1970. The Traveling Trophy, which is displayed in the Robert Troop Center after last season's 17-7 AU victory, is one of the few NCAA-recognized trophy games.

"It's a one-game season. When you play a rival...they're playing to win that trophy out there," Owens said. "If they put it together one time for four quarters and beat us, they take the trophy home. It's important for them to do that. We fought our tails off to get that trophy back here last year. We just don't want to give it up."


Eagle Homecoming History

Ashland is 61-25-5 all-time in Homecoming games at four different home venues - College Field, Redwood Stadium, Community Stadium and Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field.

The first-ever meeting between the Eagles and Chargers came on 1970 Ashland College Homecoming. Ashland and Hillsdale have met on Ashland's Homecoming six times prior to 2015, with the Eagles prevailing five times.


Leaders Of The Pack

The 2015 Ashland University football captains are split evenly between offense and defense, and they span across three classes in eligibility.

This year's captains are senior rover Donzale Ashley, senior guard Jon Cipa, junior inside linebacker Gency and Tarnowski, a sophomore quarterback.


Simenc Is GLIAC Special Teams Player Of The Week

Simenc is the Week 6 GLIAC Special Teams Player of the Week.

Simenc hit a career-high four field goals in four attempts and made all three extra points for a career-high 15 points in the Eagles' win at Saginaw Valley State. He hit field goals of 23 yards in the second quarter, 25 and 21 yards in the third and 27 yards in the fourth.

Ashland now has two of the first six GLIAC Special Teams Players of the Week in 2015. Junior punter-backup quarterback Austin Bruns earned the honor in Week 3.

Simenc has been the Eagles' placement kicker in 12 games over the last two seasons, and is 14-for-16 on field goals and 49-for-54 on extra points. He has made six field goals in a row.

"The wind was howling pretty good up there," Owens said. "What I was actually more pleased with is he hit two kickoffs deep into the wind, almost to the goalline. He pounded those two. Those were great kicks."


Once-In-A-Long Time Game Of Keep-Away

The Eagles' time of possession of 41:42 against the Cardinals is rare.

How rare? It is the highest in the Lee Owens era, and it's not even close. Here are the times in the last 12 seasons when Ashland had a single-game time of possession of at least 36 minutes:






at Saginaw Valley State



at Ohio Dominican









at Wayne State






at Northwood















at Lake Erie



"I've never run out of plays on my play sheet," said Owens. "I had no more red zone plays. We literally ran out of plays on third down, we ran out of plays on the red zone. I can't ever remember going through a whole play sheet before, like we did."


Former Eagle Coach Keller Going Into AU Hall Of Fame

Former Ashland College/University assistant and head coach Gary Keller is going into the AU Hall of Fame on Saturday morning, and will be recognized at halftime of Saturday's game.

Keller ranks as one of the top assistant football coaches in Ashland history, and became just the second Eagle head football coach to lead the program to the NCAA Division II postseason.

In his 23 seasons at Ashland, Keller molded some of the best defenses in the country. The Eagles consistently ranked among Division II's best in various defensive statistical categories from 1990-94, including ranking as the country's top team in total defense in 1991 and 1992, and in rushing defense in 1992.

Keller coached in the NCAA playoffs twice – in 1997 as head coach and in 1986 as an assistant. During that 1997 season, Ashland won a share of the Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference title, and Keller was named MIFC Coach of the Year. Keller guided the Eagles to six winning campaigns.

Keller is married to wife, Laurie, and they have two children – Nicholas and Jesse.