ADA — Ohio Northern celebrated its 24 seniors with a 56-35 Senior Day victory over Marietta Saturday afternoon at Dial-Roberson Stadium.
The Polar Bears improve to 5-3 overall and are 4-3 in Ohio Athletic Conference play, while the Pioneers fall to 2-6, 1-6.
Sophomore Justin Buenger rushed 20 times for 146 yards and three touchdowns to lead an ONU running attack that amassed a season-best 335 yards.
Sophomore Tyler Rue completed 13 of 20 passes for 134 yards and ran 11 times for 72 yards and two scores and junior Justin Wilson caught six passes for 52 yards to lead the Ohio Northern offense.
Freshman Steven Kenny had a team-best 11 tackles and one sack to lead the ONU defense.
Senior Seadrick Marshall and junior Carter Paul also had rushing touchdowns for the Polar Bears.
Marietta quarterback Andrew Keller completed 26 of 54 passes for 295 yards and 4 TDs to lead the Pioneers.
Northern started quickly, racing to a 28-0 lead in the first 16 minutes, but Marietta scored 21 points in a 8:32 span to pull within 35-28 with 9:45 left in the third period.
But Buenger scored on TD runs of 3, 1 and 54 yards as ONU scored on three consecutive possessions to put the game away.
Rue started the scoring with a 13-yard run to give the hosts a 7-0 lead just 2:02 into the game.
Senior Chad Coward then blocked a punt and senior Zack Click scooped it up and ran 27 yards for a score and Northern led 14-0 just 3:25 into the contest.
Marshall's 4-yard run with 3:19 left in the first period made it a 21-0 Polar Bear lead and Paul plowed in from a yard out to give ONU a 28-0 advantage with 14:15 left in the opening half.
Keller connected with Kirby Harris on a 16-yard touchdown pass to pull MC within 28-7 with 11:22 left in the second, but Rue answered with a 1-yard TD sneak and Northern led 35-7 with 6:27 left in the half.
Marietta then scored 21 straight points to get back into the game.
Keller his Chad Walker on a 12-yard TD pass with 3:17 left before intermission to make it a 35-14 score.
After an ONU fumble gave MC the ball at the ONU 23-yard line, Keller hit Walker on a 13-yard TD pass with just three seconds left in the second period to pull MC within 35-21.
Marietta then took the second half kickoff and marched 78 yards in 13 plays and pulled within 35-28 on a 7-yard pass from Keller to Sean Munfield with 9:45 left in the third.
The Polar Bears answered by marching 57 yards in 13 plays and extended their lead to 42-28 with 5:10 left in the third on a 3-yard run by Buenger.
MC then drove to the ONU 1-yard line, but Keller's pass was broken up by junior Cory Spelman and was intercepted by junior Joe Powell for a touchback, thwarting the scoring drive.
Northern then put the game away by driving 80 yards in 12 plays and scoring on a 1-yard run by Buenger and it was 49-28 ONU with 9:33 left.
Marietta made it 49-35 on a 1-yard sneak by Keller with 5:17 left, but Buenger broke free up the middle on a 54-yard TD run to wrap up the scoring just two plays later.
Ohio Northern out-gained MC 469-357 in total offense, including a 335-62 advantage on the ground
The Polar Bears will be on the road for their final two games this season, playing at Wilmington next Saturday and at Heidelberg on Nov. 12.