WESTERVILLE, Ohio – Otterbein University's Memorial Field is the only natural surface left in the Ohio Athletic Conference. The plush green grass could not slow down No. 12 Heidelberg University, specifically junior running back Cartel Brooks.
Brooks had a record-setting performance on a chilly autumn evening to lead Heidelberg (6-0, 5-0 OAC) to a 35-17 win. He finished with 337 yards and 5 touchdowns, both single-game records for the Student Princes.
His 35th carry of the game, a 38-yard touchdown rush, broke Jeff Brock's single-game rushing record of 301 yards set in 1999. His fifth touchdown breaks a record held by himself and five others.
The 21st Rhine River Classic was a tense contest, unlike Heidelberg's first five games which were largely decided before halftime.
Otterbein (3-3, 3-2 OAC) won the coin toss, took the football and drove it down inside the Heidelberg 5-yardline. The Student Prince defense buckled down and forced Otterbein into a 27-yard field goal by Alana Gaither. The drive took 14 plays and ran nearly 8.5 minutes off the clock.
On their first possession, Heidelberg found the end zone on a 36-yard rush by Brooks. The touchdown capped off a 67-yard drive.
The Cardinals regained the lead on the first play of the second quarter. Brice Frentzel broke free on a 74-yard reception from Ben Sizemore.
The Student Princes responded. Brooks found the end zone again, this time from 23 yards out. Dan Kilger's kick gave Heidelberg a 14-10 lead.
The Cartel Brooks show continued on the next Berg drive. The junior ripped off a 74-yard scamper to the Otterbein 3 then plunged into the end zone two plays later.
Otterbein opened the scoring in the second half. Tight end Bryson Wray made a tremendous one-handed catch and scored on a 22-yard pass from Sizemore. Gaither's PAT made it 21-17.
After the teams traded possessions in which they turned the ball over on downs, Brooks scored his fourth touchdown of the game. The 2-yard rush gave Heidelberg a 28-17 lead in the third quarter.
Trailing 35-17, the Cardinals knocked on the door in the game's final minute, but could not crack the goal line.
The night, though, belonged to Cartel Brooks. His 337 yard total is the sixth-highest mark in the history of the Ohio Athletic Conference.
The Rhine River Cup, which commemorates the 1992 Heidelberg-Otterbein game held in Frankfurt, Germany, will reside in Tiffin for the third straight season.
Heidelberg will hit the road again next week. They face Muskingum at 1:30 p.m.