Fields and Clark lead Marietta over Ohio Northern

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MARIETTA, Ohio — Darrien Fields connected with Tanner Clark on a two-point conversion with 22 seconds left in the game to give Marietta College a 43-42 win over Ohio Northern University Saturday (Sept. 29) afternoon in Don Drumm Stadium.

"We did a great job of clock management and scored with little time left and went for two," Marietta head coach Andy Waddle said. We didn't give them the chance to move the ball back down the field. In my mind we went for the win because I felt that the two-point conversion play had a 75 to 80% chance of working and in overtime its 50-50 on the win."

The Pioneers improve to 4-0 on the season and are tied with Mount Union atop the Ohio Athletic Conference standings with a 3-0 record. This marks the first time since 1923 that Marietta has started a season with four straight wins. Ohio Northern falls to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in the OAC.

"We're really excited for our guys. Obviously, it was a back and forth game," Waddle said. "We were able to take a little bit of control heading into the half but Ohio Northern battled back to take the lead in the fourth quarter."

Ohio Northern scored 21 straight points in the second half to turn a 35-21 deficit into a 42-35 Polar Bear lead. Brock Martin capped a 14-play, 87-yard scoring drive with a three-yard touchdown run to give ONU the seven-point lead with 4:45 left in the game.

Marietta responded with its longest drive of the afternoon controlling the ball for 13 plays on the game-winning drive. Fields hit Andrew Barker on a 12-yard scoring strike to pull within one point, 42-41, of the Polar Bears and setup the winning two-point conversion attempt.

Fields, who became Marietta's all-time leader with 44 career touchdown passes, completed 25-of-36 passes for 315 yards and four touchdowns. Three of those touchdowns went to Barker who had six receptions for 112 yards.

"Darrien is what you want in a guy who is a three-year starter," Waddle said. "He's done a tremendous job for us and he is improving as the season progresses. The kid is a winner."

Fields entered this afternoon needing one TD pass to tie Jason Vrable (2003-06) for the MC career record. Vrable, currently an assistant coach with the New York Jets, threw 41 touchdown passes during his career in the Navy Blue and White.

Martin opened the scoring with a 19-yard run in the first quarter to give ONU the early 7-0 lead. Martin finished with 100 yards rushing on 12 carries and two touchdowns.

Marietta answered with a 42-yard scoring strike from Fields to Barker and then took the lead, 14-7, when Fields hooked up with tight end Bobby Cashaw on a 4-yard TD pass.

Both teams scored twice in the second quarter and Marietta held a 28-14 lead at halftime.

Clark opened the second half with a 2-yard touchdown run extending the Pioneers lead to 35-21. Clark carried the ball 34 times for 180 yards and two touchdowns.

In addition to Barker, seven other Pioneers caught passes in the game. Maguire Morris had six receptions for 61 yards, while Justin Bell had three catches for 61 yards, including one for 21 yards on a fourth-and-two during Marietta's final drive.

Linebackers Garrett Davis and Tyler Ruhl led the Pioneers defense. Davis recorded 10 tackles, while Ruhl finished with seven stops.

Ohio Northern's Anthony McFadden completed 18-of-29 passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 72 yards on 13 carries.

McFadden's favorite target was Chad Rex who finished with 10 catches for 156 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Mark Niles had a game-high 15 tackles for the Polar Bears. David Haseleu notched 12 tackles, including one sack.

Marietta travels to Heidelberg University next Saturday (Oct. 6) for a 1:30 p.m. matchup. The Student Princes defeated Wilmington, 44-13, this week improving to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in the OAC.

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