September 17, 2011

Cardinals Fall Short in OT at No. 12 Ohio Northern

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Andrew Woodley -- Otterbein Sports Information

ADA, OHIO --  The Otterbein Cardinals gave No. 12 Ohio Northern all they could handle, but fell just short on their upset bid, falling 34-33 at Dial-Roberson Stadium.

With the loss, Otterbein falls to 0-1 in Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) play, 1-1 overall. Ohio Northern moves to 1-0 in the OAC, 2-0 overall.

After the Otterbein defense allowed an overtime touchdown to the Polar Bears, senior quarterback Austin Schlosser took the Cardinal offense down to the 7-yard line. On second down, Schlosser rolled to his left and threw a touchdown pass to junior running back Brock Burzanko. The upset-minded Cardinals went for two and the win. Schlosser overthrew senior wide receiver Trey Fairchild and the Cardinals fell just short of the upset.

Ohio Northern seemingly controlled the tempo of the game up until the fourth quarter. With less than seven minutes left in the game, and the Cardinals down 24-17, Otterbein appeared to be stopped on 4th down and 19. But a roughing the punter call gave the Cards new life. Senior Quarterback Austin Schlosser took advantage of the fortune and connected with senior wide receiver Trey Fairchild for a 47-yard, 3rd down reception to put Otterbein at the 3-yard line. Schlosser finished the job, taking the ball in from the 1-yard line to even the score at 24.

The Polar Bears responded with a drive that took them all the way to the Otterbein 18-yard line. But with 33 seconds left, Ohio Northern's 33-yard field goal attempt was blocked by junior safety Jordan Benson. The Cardinals ran the clock out and sent the game into overtime.

Ohio Northern took the opening possession of overtime and scored on an 8-yard quarterback keeper by sophomore Tyler Rue. Sophomore place-kicker Luke Rice knocked in the extra point that would prove to be the difference.

Otterbein had thoughts of an upset from the start. Following the opening kickoff, the Cardinals used a no-huddle attack to march down the field. Fairchild took an end-around 18 yards to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.

The Polar Bears responded with 24 consecutive points, ten off Otterbein turnovers, to take a 24-7 lead late in the 2nd quarter.

The Cardinals would not exit the first half quietly. Schlosser engineered a 9-play, 57-yard drive, capped off by a Fairchild 6-yard touchdown reception to pull Otterbein within 10 at the half.

Otterbein played strong defense and held the Polar Bears scoreless in the third quarter. Meanwhile, the Cardinals had strong drives into the Ohio Northern red zone, but could only come away with field goals of 25 and 27 yards by junior place-kicker Aaric Milligan to pull the Cards within four, 24-20, with 10:18 to play in the game.

Schlosser finished the game 20 of 35 for 201 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. The Plain City native also led the Cardinal ground attack with 65 yards on 21 carries.

Fairchild, who entered the game leading all OAC wide receivers in yards, finished with 92 yards on seven catches with one touchdown. The Dublin Coffman alum also returned five kickoffs for 145 yards, and added two carries for 25 yards, highlighted by his 18-yard touchdown run (262 all-purpose yards).

On the defensive side, senior linebacker Shane Centers led the Cardinals with 11 tackles. Sophomore defensive lineman Harlan Page also reached double-digit tackles, finishing with 10.

The Cardinals return to action next week when they host Heidelberg in the 20th anniversary of the Rhine River Classic. It will be Homecoming weekend at Otterbein.

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Dec. 19: All times Eastern
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