MARIETTA — Brent Donley ran for 137 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the first half as No. 11 Ohio Northern posted a 45-6 football victory at Marietta Saturday afternoon on Homecoming at Don Drumm Stadium.
The Polar Bears improve to 7-1 overall and are 6-1 in Ohio Athletic Conference play, while the Pioneers fall to 2-6, 1-6.
Northern scored on all five of its first half possessions and built a 38-3 halftime lead.
Donley scored on runs of 11 and 48 yards and now has 995 yards on the year. He is just five yards short of becoming only the third player in ONU history to run for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.
Jamal Robertson (1999-2000) and Ben Snell (1996-97) also accomplished the feat. Donley ran for 1,104 yards as a junior in 2009.
Senior Kyle Simmons surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for his career, carrying the ball eight times for 42 yards and a touchdown.
In his four-year career, Simmons has rushed 270 times for 1,002 yards and 20 touchdowns. He trails only Shane Franzer, who ran for 1,089 yards from 1998-2000, in rushing yardage for ONU quarterbacks in school history.
Simmons also completed 9 of 14 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown.
Senior Zack Click had a team-high seven tackles for the ONU defense.
Senior Marvin Mitchell had a pair of interceptions, including a 50-yard pick-six and five tackles for Ohio Northern.
Chad Coward Intercepted a pass and returned it 21 yards to the MC 47-yard line to set up Northern's first score.
It took five plays for ONU to find the end zone on an 11-yard run by Donley and it was 7-0 Polar Bears with 4:31 gone in the contest.
The Pioneers answered with a 12-play, 77-yard drive that ended with a 22-yard field goal by Ryan Cardwell, making it a 7-3 contest with 5:51 left in the opening period.
Senior Blair Ellenberger answered with a career-long 43-yard field goal on Northern's ensuing possession, increasing the lead to 10-3 with 1:52 left in the first quarter.
Senior Josh Bowman returned an interception 33 yards to the MC 11-yard line, and it took two plays for ONU to score.
Simmons scampered in from 8 yards out to give the Polar Bears a 17-3 lead on the first play of the second period.
Donley rumbled in for a 48-yard touchdown on Northern's next possession to make it a 24-3 game with 9:50 left in the second quarter.
Senior Marvin Mitchell returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown just 1:20 later, giving Ohio Northern a 31-3 lead with 8:30 left in the half.
A spectacular diving catch by Brook Crawford resulted in a 19-yard touchdown play from Simmons on Northern's fifth possession, giving the Polar Bears a 38-3 advantage with 2:06 left in the half.
Seadrick Marshall plowed in from a yard out with 5:04 left in the third quarter, giving Ohio Northern a 45-6 advantage.
"Our guys stepped up and made some big plays early," ONU head coach Dean Paul said. "Marietta was moving the ball well early, so the interceptions were huge momentum shifters. We settled down as the game wore on and played well. Offensively, we were very efficient. The defense gave us some short fields and we capitalized."
The Polar Bears will wrap up their regular season schedule next Saturday at home against Wilmington at 1:30 pm and Nov. 13 at home against Heidelberg at 1 pm.
Both games will be at Dial-Roberson Stadium.