AU Football Replay – Backfield Youth Movement Underway

AU Football Replay – Backfield Youth Movement Underway


Ashland University's football team went very young in the offensive backfield during its 34-12 win on Saturday (Sept. 14) at Walsh.

Of the Eagles' 41 rushing attempts against the Cavaliers, 27 came from true freshman tailbacks - Gei'vonni Washington (18 for 75 yards), Jeffrey Barnett (five for 16 yards) and Larry Martin (four for 12 yards and a touchdown). Their production helped Ashland to gain 210 yards on the ground – AU's best in a single game since Sept. 22, 2018 at home vs. Northwood (249).

"Those guys have got to step up and play," said Ashland head coach Lee Owens. "All three have some ability. You want to bring them along slowly, but they can't be freshmen anymore. They've got to be ready to play."

Of Ashland's 70 rushing attempts through the first two games of 2019, all but three have come from freshmen and sophomores.



Walsh ran for just 49 yards on 34 tries on Saturday, an average of 1.4 yards per attempt. In two games so far in 2019, the Eagle defense has allowed 2.3 yards per rushing attempt, and the longest run allowed by Ashland so far this season is 14 yards.

Since the start of the 2018 season, a span of 12 games, Ashland "D" is allowing just 2.8 yards per rush. And in that time, teams have averaged 3.0 yards or less on the ground eight times.



Sophomore quarterback Austin Brenner fell two yards shy of becoming the first Ashland pivot this decade to rush for 100 yards, ending with 98 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries against Walsh.

"He makes plays with his legs," Owens said. "When things break down, being dynamic like that really helps us. We haven't had a lot of that in the past."

Brenner's 34-yard run early in the third quarter was the longest by an Eagle QB since…his 34-yarder in his first collegiate start, Sept. 8, 2018 at Ohio Dominican.



Junior kicker Satchel Denton has made all five of his field-goal attempts in the first two games of the season. The last Ashland kicker to hit at least five field goals in the first two games of a season was Gregg Berkshire (six) in 2011.