TIFFIN, Ohio—The Heidelberg University football team will look for its seventh win of the season Saturday, Nov. 2 when it faces John Carroll University in an Ohio Athletic Conference game at Don Shula Stadium at Wasmer Field in University Heights, Ohio. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. A win would guarantee the Berg its best record since 1994 when it finished 7-3 overall under Dick West.
The game will be broadcast live on the ‘Berg Athletics Network (http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/heidelberg.portal#). Jeff Garvin ’04 and John Gerstenberger ’83 have the call. In addition, fans can follow live stats at http://www.sidearmstats.com/jcu/football/index.htm and watch the action live at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/jcu-football.
The Student Princes (6-2, 5-2 OAC) have won two straight games and five of their last six following their 49-20 win over Wilmington College last Saturday. Heidelberg has put up 1,192 total yards, 903 rushing yards and 91 points in its last two games, outscoring its opponents 91-40.
Despite a 0-2 start to the season, the Blue Streaks (5-3, 5-2 OAC) have also won five of their last six games, including a 37-24 victory over Capital University in its last game. The winner of Saturday’s game will occupy sole possession of third place in the OAC standings, and will tie Baldwin-Wallace College for second place if the Yellow Jackets lose at No. 2 University of Mount Union.
Saturday’s game will feature a pair of high-powered offenses, as both Heidelberg and JCU rank second and third, respectively, in the OAC in scoring offense, total offense and rushing offense. Under the direction of fifth-year head coach Mike Hallett, the Berg scores 33.1 points per game and totals 455.1 yards of offense per game, including 268.9 yards on the ground, which stands 15th in NCAA Division III. Sophomore second-team All-OAC running back Germany Woods (Cleveland/Lakewood St. Edward) and sophomore running back/kick returner Cartel Brooks (Kokomo, Ind./Galion) have both rushed for 180 or more yards in each of the last two games. Woods is tied with Mount Union’s Jeremy Murray for the league lead and 10th nationally in rushing yards per game with 136.6. Woods averages 5.8 yards per carry and has scored seven TDs this season, while eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark (1,093) for the second consecutive year. Brooks has netted 516 yards on just 44 carries, averaging 11.7 ypc. and 73.7 ypg. to rank fifth in the conference. Three of Brooks rushing TDs have been runs of 58 yards or longer and he has also returns two kickoffs for TDs. Both scored a pair of TDs last week against Wilmington.
Freshman quarterback Michael Mees (North Ridgeville) will direct the passing game. Mees has completed 49.7 percent (94-of-189) of his passes for 1,443 yards and 15 TDs against only seven interceptions and averages 180.4 passing yards per game. He has also thrown for 200 or more yards in three contests this season. Mees’ favorite target has been junior wide receiver Mario Escalante (Highland Heights, Ky./Newport Central Catholic), who leads the team with 20 receptions for 434 yards and is fifth in the OAC with 54.2 receiving yards per game. Senior wide receiver CJ Powell (Detroit, Mich./Bishop Foley) has caught 17 balls for 292 yards and a team-high five receiving TDs.
Under the director of 13th-year head coach Regis Scafe, the John Carroll offense scores 30.4 points and averages 394.8 yards of total offense per game, including 222.9 rushing yards. Reigning OAC offensive player of the week Devin O’Brien leads both the Blue Streak passing and running games and is third in the league with 232.9 yards of total offense per contest. O’Brien has tallied 504 yards in 104 attempts on the ground for a 63.0 ypg. average, and has completed 63.8 percent (104-of-163) of his passes for 1,359 yards (169.9 ypg.) and five INTs. He has run for eight TDs and passed for 10 more.
Ben Madden and Lane Robilotto are the primary receiving targets. Madden has team-highs of 24 receptions for 365 yards, while Robilotto has caught 23 passes for 338 yards. Both have two TD receptions.
The Student Prince defense is allowing 23.6 points and 396.4 yards of total offense per game, including 154.2 rushing yards and 251.1 passing yards per outing. The unit is anchored by the linebacker corps of junior Craig Sykes (Centerburg), sophomore Dawson Gore (Bellevue) and senior Andy Fadenholz (Grafton/Keystone). Sykes and Gore are sixth and eighth in the OAC with 73 and 67 tackles, respectively, and have combined for 16.5 tackles for loss. Sykes is also tied for fourth in the league with four INTs. Fadenholz, who has made 41 stops of his own, is third in the OAC with 11.0 TFL and is second with 7.5 sacks.
Heidelberg’s three-man defensive front is led by junior Stephen Fejedelem (Ravenna) with 41 tackles, including six for loss and three sacks. Junior safety Justin Suddeth (Akron/Warren Howland) and senior cornerback Tony Gordon (Euclid) anchor the defensive secondary. Suddeth leads all defensive backs with 44 hits, while Gordon, who has 32 tackles of his own, has notched 10 INTs and is tied for fourth in the conference with 10 total passes defended.
As a unit, the defense is eighth nationally with 27 sacks.
The Blue Streak defense is giving up 28.4 points and 387.9 yards of total offense per game, including 149.9 rushing yards and 238.0 passing yards per game. C.J. Seitzinger leads the team and is fourth in the OAC with 76 tackles, including 3.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks. Ryan Winchell has 49 stops and Dan Valore leads the unit with 5.5 TFL and 3.5 sacks. Alex Cameron, Matt Feeney, D.J. Debick and Marty Gibbons have each recorded INTs.
Last season, Hallett guided the Berg to a 37-35 win over the Blue Streaks in Tiffin. JCU defeated the Student Princes, 17-15, in 2008 in the last game between the two schools in University Heights. The Blue Streaks lead the all-time series, 21-4.
Following Saturday’s game, Heidelberg will close the 2011 regular season by hosting rival Ohio Northern University in an OAC game on Saturday, Nov. 12.