TIFFIN – Being an offensive lineman is a thankless job. It’s hard for the casual fan to quantify how well each lineman performs on any given Saturday. But when a team gains nearly 600 yards and scores touchdowns on eight straight possessions, as Heidelberg University did on Saturday, it’s safe to assume that the student-athletes up front performed at a high level.
No. 12 Heidelberg (2-0, 1-0 OAC) defeated Ohio Northern 55-27 on Fellows Day, recording their third-straight win in the Bendekovic Bowl.
Cartel Brooks averaged 15.9 yards per carry and finished with 143 yards and two touchdowns. Right behind him, Bryan Lacey rushed for 104 yards and two scores on 14 carries.
Quarterback Michael Mees threw for 304 yards on 13-of-23 passing. Mees notched four touchdowns and one interception. Donteea Dye had two receptions - both of which went for touchdowns – and 126 yards.
So, for the casual fan, that’s 590 yards of offense, 36 rushes, 26 passing plays without a sack and 55 points for the ‘Berg offense – a quantifiably outstanding day for Quentin Rembert, Austin Hunter, Alex Damschroder, Mike Lehman, Matt Byrne, Steven Korzunowski, Ryan Finck, Tyler Johnson and other linemen who rotated into the game.
“I was impressed with the play of our O-line today,” said head coach Mike Hallett. “They did an excellent job in the run game and gave Mees all day to find an open receiver.”
After an early turnover resulted in a field goal for Ohio Northern (1-1, 0-1 OAC), Mees found Ethan Kindle in the back of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown. Kindle’s grab was his third touchdown of the season.
On the following drive, the Polar Bears stalled at the Heidelberg 31 and turned the ball over on downs for the first of three times on the day.
Lacey found the end zone from 3 yards out on the ensuing possession, set up by a 47-yard pass to Ryan Fischer. Dan Kilger’s extra point attempt clanked off the left upright, snapping a school-record streak of 99 consecutive conversions.
Another failed fourth down play for ONU gave the ball back to Heidelberg. The Student Princes scored immediately, as Brooks ran 73 yards for the score on the first play of the drive.
The ‘Berg offense continued its assault on their next possession. Mees connected with Dye on a 53-yard strike.
Ohio Northern countered with their second field goal.
Again, Heidelberg responded with a touchdown. Mees found Josh Lynch for a 20-yard touchdown on fourth-and-1 for the final score of the first half.
Trailing 34-6, ONU scored a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half. Rembert blocked the PAT.
Heidelberg scored three touchdowns in the third quarter in just 11 plays. Brooks scored on a 57-yard rush, Dye scored on a 73-yard pass from Mees and Lacey scored on a 14-yard rush.
The Ohio Northern offense completed 33 passes, but averaged only 7.1 yards per reception. Quarterback Patrick Angle was sacked three times.
Will Lance led the ‘Berg defense with nine tackles. Will Nunnally had 1.5 sacks and batted a ball down at the line. Adam Cepik also deflected a pass to go along with two tackles-for-loss.
With the win, Heidelberg retains the Bendekovic Bowl trophy. The Bendo Bowl, started three years ago, is a traveling trophy game that honors the late Ronnie and Jason Bendekovic. Ronnie was an assistant at ONU at the time of his passing in 2005. Similarly, Jason was on the Heidelberg staff when he passed away in 2010.
Heidelberg hosts Wilmington next Saturday. Kickoff with the Quakers is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.