No. 5 Eagles End Regular Season At Home Vs. No. 22 Huskies

No. 5 Eagles End Regular Season At Home Vs. No. 22 Huskies

For the full PDF version of the Week 10 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

For the third time this season, the Eagles will play host to a nationally-ranked team. In Week 10, it will be No. 5 AU welcoming No. 22 Michigan Tech to Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field.

Ashland is No. 4 in this week's Super Region 4 rankings (top seven teams qualify for the NCAA postseason), while the Huskies are No. 10, so another high-stakes game will be on tap on Broad Street.

In Week 9, the Eagles defeated then-No. 9-ranked Grand Valley State at home, 45-31. Ashland didn't trail after taking a 7-3 lead with 7:41 left in the opening quarter.

AU has won 11 consecutive home games coming into Week 10.


Last Look At Week Nine

There is a first time for everything, and Ashland University's football team had many notable firsts on Halloween Night.

The No. 5-ranked Eagles earned a 45-31 win over No. 9-ranked Grand Valley State (7-2, 6-2) in Week 9 at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field. It was the first time AU has beaten the Lakers when both teams were nationally-ranked this century.

"I'm so proud of our guys. That's a really good football team," said Owens. "That's a really good football team, playing as well as anybody in the country. And for us to be able to play like we did…our guys just found ways to get it done.

"We started the season saying that's how you define greatness. You find a way to overcome whatever you have to overcome every week. We've been great for nine weeks in a row."

Ashland's victory was paced by players who have been in starring roles all season, and those who were thrust into the spotlight for the first time against GVSU.

Sophomore quarterback Travis Tarnowski was 30-for-44 for 333 yards and four touchdowns, and completed passes to 10 different receivers. In the last three games, Tarnowski, who is 17-2 as AU's starting quarterback and 9-0 at home, is 76-for-114 (66.7 percent) for 1,020 yards, 10 touchdowns and just three interceptions and three sacks.

"We were clicking on a lot of different things. We had a lot of guys stepping up," Tarnowski said. "Every week, it's going to be a different guy. To say that we're clicking and that we're playing our best, I would hope so, and I hope we keep going forward and keep trying to get better."

Junior tailback Vance Settlemire ran 22 times for 147 yards and two touchdowns, and caught six passes for 53 yards and two more scores. It was his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season, and his 29 career touchdowns leaves him tied with current AU receivers coach Joe Horn for ninth in program history.

"We knew coming in they had a really good defense," Settlemire said. "We just went out there and played our game. The offensive line played outstanding, our receivers were catching the ball, Trav had a great game. We just had an all-around good game on offense and defense."

Sophomore tight end Adam Shaheen caught seven passes for 52 yards and two touchdowns, and has racked up 57 catches for 643 yards and nine touchdowns in nine games this season.

Defensively, junior inside linebacker Zach Olszewski (11 total tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss and a pass breakup) and senior rover Donzale Ashley (10 total tackles and an interception) led the charge.

The new hands were players like freshman fullback Cameron Barker, who caught two passes for 24 yards and ran once for three yards; junior backup quarterback-punter Austin Bruns, who saw significant time at tight end; junior defensive end Zach Leftenant, who made his first collegiate start and sophomore linebacker Austin Utter, who rotated with Leftenant and usual starter at "stud," junior Adam Wallace, who was not at 100 percent.

Ashland's offense racked up 534 yards and was 11-of-16 on third-down, but the Eagle defense came up with three key stops against the Lakers – a pair of fourth-down holds on goal-line stands, and Ashley's interception with 4:00 left in the game.


Ashland-Michigan Tech

The Eagles lead the all-time series over the Huskies, 9-6.

There haven't been many meetings between the Eagles and Huskies of late due to conference schedule rotation, but those contests have been notable.

In 2008, the Eagles upset the No. 24-ranked Huskies in Houghton, 48-41. Quarterback Billy Cundiff threw three first-quarter touchdowns, and finished the game 25-of-37 for 423 yards and five touchdowns.

Tailback Dawon Harvey ran for 149 yards and a touchdown, caught passes for another 51 yards and had 314 all-purpose yards. Wide receivers Joe Horn (seven catches, 157 yards, one touchdown), Nick Bellanco (six catches, 122 yards, two TDs) and Johnny Long (five catches, 87 yards, two scores) each had big games. Outside linebacker Tom Brenner picked off two passes to lead the defense.

In the first-ever game at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field, No. 19 Ashland topped Tech, 34-28. The Eagles led 20-0 at halftime, and got a big game from Cundiff, who was 23-for-33 for 307 yards and three touchdowns. Bellanco had five catches for 121 yards and a score, and linebacker Quinton Scott racked up 12 total tackles, two tackles for loss, a pass breakup and a sack.

Last year's regular-season finale was a 28-12 home win for the No. 20 Huskies over the No. 22 Eagles. AU led 6-0 after the first quarter and trailed 14-12 in the third quarter before Tech scored two touchdowns to pull away. In his final collegiate game, wide receiver Dan Piko caught eight passes for 130 yards and a touchdown.


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 Ashley, senior guard Jon Cipa, junior inside linebacker Brandon Gency and Tarnowski, a sophomore quarterback.


Eagles Jump Two Spots To No. 4 In Super Region 4

The Eagles earned a jump from sixth to fourth in the second NCAA Division II Super Region 4 rankings, released on Monday (Nov. 2) afternoon.

Seven teams from each of the four super regions will be chosen for the 28-team Division II playoffs. The top seed in each super region will have a first-round bye.

Super Region 4 consists of teams from the GLIAC, Great Lakes Valley Conference, Lone Star Conference and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

All 10 teams in this week's Super Region 4 rankings also are ranked in this week's American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II Coaches' Top 25 poll.

The third regional ranking will be Monday, Nov. 9. Selection for the NCAA Division II postseason will be Sunday, Nov. 15, and first-round games will be played on Saturday, Nov. 21.


Settlemire Earns First GLIAC Weekly Honor Of Career

Settlemire has earned his first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week honor following a 200-yard, four-touchdown effort against the Lakers.

He scored a touchdown in each quarter – a one-yard run in the first, a 15-yard catch in the second, a 10-yard catch in the third and a 46-yard run in the fourth.

Settlemire is the first Eagle to score four touchdowns in one game since former teammate Anthony Taylor crossed the goal line on four rushing touchdowns in his school-record 311-rushing yard game at Lake Erie on Oct. 5, 2013.

Settlemire is the fourth Eagle to earn a GLIAC weekly award this season, following Bruns (Sept. 21), sophomore kicker Aidan Simenc (Oct. 12) and Tarnowski (Oct. 19).

Another national honor came in later in the week, as Settlemire was named USA College Football Division II Offensive Player of the Week.


AU Football Ranked No. 5 In AFCA, Polls

There is no change in the top five in this week's AFCA Division II Coaches' Top 25 poll, released on Monday (Nov. 2), meaning Ashland University remains the No. 5-ranked team in the country.

It continues to be the Eagles' highest ranking in the AFCA poll since November 12, 2012, when they were No. 4 in the country.

Ashland is one of four GLIAC teams in the poll, along with Ferris State (No. 3), Grand Valley State (No. 17) and Michigan Tech (No. 22).

The Eagles also are ranked No. 5 in this week's poll.


Senior Class Going Down In Eagle History

It is Senior Day on Saturday, and there will be plenty to celebrate for the 19 seniors prior to the game.

There would be one more thing for those seniors to take away after the game with a win. One more win would mean the most victories in a four-year span in Eagle football history:































































Home, Very Sweet Home

This is the seventh season for the Eagles at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field, and to say they enjoy playing in the still-relatively-new digs on Broad Street is an understatement.

Ashland is 31-7 (.816) at home since 2009, and has won 11 straight at "The Jack."

"The comfort, the support, as much as anything, has a lot to do with how well we play here," Owens said. "Our guys just feel good. We practice here every day. We know every foot of that field - how to play it, how the wind works. The No. 1 thing, without question, is the support of the students and the alumni and the community that we get here."


Climbing Up The Eagle Charts

Tarnowski's 2,562 passing yards is fourth-most in a single-season in Eagle history, and his 23 touchdown passes are tied for fifth-most. Career-wise, his 4,729 passing yards and 39 touchdown passes both are third-highest in program history.

Bruns' 45.3-yard gross punting average would be the best in Eagle annals.

Shaheen's 57 catches this fall are tied for eighth-best in a season.

Settlemire needs 21 rushing yards to earn the program's 20th all-time 1,000-yard season. His 84 points are tied for sixth-best all-time, and his 14 touchdowns are tied for fourth.

Simenc's 44 extra points are third-most in a single season in AU history.


Divisional Dominance

Ashland, which already has clinched the 2015 GLIAC South Division championship, is 3½ games ahead of second-place Ohio Dominican.

In the previous five seasons of GLIAC divisional play, the biggest gap for a division winner was three games for the 2012 Eagles and the 2013 Panthers.

"Obviously, we're playing this game for a conference championship, we're playing this game to be undefeated, we're playing this game with the hopes of hosting a postseason game," Owens said, "so there's a lot at stake."


A Big Key To Success – Run Well, Stop The Run

In all nine wins this season, the Eagles have had more rushing yards than their opponents.

Ashland has played 41 games since the start of the 2012 season, and is 33-8 in those games - 31-3 when outrushing opponents and 2-5 when not.


The Eagles' Last 100

Ashland University's football program is 71-29 (.710) in its last 100 games, dating back to the last three contests of the 2006 season.

Included in that stretch for the Eagles are three NCAA Division II postseason appearances (2007, 2008 and 2012) and a GLIAC championship in 2012.


Eagle Nuggets

- A win against the Huskies would give the AU football program its third double-digit-win season, along with 1972 (11-0) and 2012 (11-1).

- Ashland's offense has racked up 138 points and 1,697 total yards in the last three games. It also averaged more points per game in five October games (42.6) than in four September contests (38.5).

- The Eagle defense allowed fewer points (23.2) and total yards (345.6) per game in October than in September (24.5 and 384.3).