Ashland University's football team made quick work of Hillsdale on Homecoming, and the Eagles' victory certainly was complete.
Ranked No. 8 in Division II and leading the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's South Division, AU took the lead against the Chargers late in the first quarter and didn't look back, improving to 7-0 overall and in the GLIAC following a 52-21 win on Saturday (Oct. 17) afternoon.
Ashland moved one step closer to a South Division title with the Week 7 victory. AU is 2½ games ahead of Tiffin and three games ahead of Ohio Dominican with three league games to go.
The Eagles also retained the Traveling Trophy, in one of the few NCAA-sanctioned trophy games, for the second consecutive season.
Hillsdale is 1-6, 1-5.
Ashland's offense, which racked up 52 points and 639 yards of offense, was paced by sophomore quarterback Travis Tarnowski, who was 21-for-29 for 360 yards and four touchdowns.
"We threw the ball a little more than what we planned, but that seemed to be what was working, and Travis was on," said Ashland head coach Lee Owens. "He's the guy. Everything goes through him, and he makes such good decisions and he's an accurate thrower. He played as well as you can expect a guy to play."
Tarnowski completed passes to eight different receivers in the win.
"We have so many stars, so much talent on the offense," said Tarnowski. "It's fun to go out there and know that the guys are going to make plays and make catches for me. I could throw it to anyone and have the same confidence in him as I do the next guy."
Junior tailback Vance Settlemire ran eight times for 77 yards and a touchdown, and caught two passes for 46 yards. Sophomore tight end Adam Shaheen caught five passes for 47 yards and two scores, and junior wide receiver Jamie Hence grabbed five passes for 86 yards and a TD.
"Vance is great. It's really easy for me when we have a guy like that that teams are so worried about," Tarnowski said. "Every week, we're going to have a different who coach calls 'hero.' Each week, it's going to be a different guy."
The 639 total yards, 52 points and 259 rushing yards all were the second-best numbers of the season in each category.
"We're going to take what the defense gives us," Owens said, "and that's what they were giving us today is the big hits, the seam routes, the go routes."
Defensively, junior inside linebacker Brandon Gency had a team-high nine total tackles to go with a half-sack and a half-tackle for loss, and senior cornerback James Ester and senior safety Cory Blackstock each intercepted a pass.
The kicking game also got into the act, as sophomore kicker Aidan Simenc, the Week 6 GLIAC Special Teams Player of the Week, had six extra points and a field goal while nailing two touchbacks on kickoffs, and junior punter-backup quarterback Austin Bruns averaged 48.0 yards on four punts.
"Aidan did a good job of getting some deep kicks into the wind," Owens said. "I was happy with the way we played, and really, the wind didn't end up near the factor that it was last year."
Ashland will play its final regular-season road game of 2015 on Saturday, Oct. 24 against Northern Michigan (4-3, 3-3). Kickoff from the Superior Dome will be at 1 p.m.
EAGLE NUGGETS: The Eagles are 62-25-5 all-time on Homecoming, and 6-1 against the Chargers all-time on Homecoming…Ashland has won 10 consecutive games at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field…AU's eight scoring drives were 69, 75, 64, 65, 64, 79, 62 and 47 yards.