Football Falls Just Shy Against No. 2 GVSU, 24-21

Football Falls Just Shy Against No. 2 GVSU, 24-21

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Dominican's football team stood toe-to-toe with No. 2 Grand Valley State, but a turnover inside the Laker red zone with 17 seconds ended the Panthers' upset bid as ODU fell 24-21 at home Saturday afternoon in GLIAC play.

The Panthers trailed 17-0 at halftime and 24-7 late in the third quarter before rallying. Junior Grant Russell (Newark, Ohio) found sophomore Cory Contini (Dover, Ohio) in the end zone for a 23 yard scoring toss on the last play of the third to make it 24-14, and ODU capitalized on a Laker turnover with 6:30 to play as Russell hooked up with sophomore Dar Stanford (Zanesville, Ohio) on a 13 yard strike to cut it to 24-21.

The defense held GVSU to one first down on its next possession before forcing a punt, and ODU took over on its own 17 yard line with 3:05 left.

Russell connected with Stanford for 24 yards on a third-and-18 play to keep the drive moving, then followed up with another first down pass to Stanford, an 11 yard run by himself, and an 11 yard pass to senior Aaron Stephens (Ironton, Ohio) to help move the ball to the Laker 15.

After an incompletion, Russell threw a pass that was intercepted at the GVSU five to end the comeback.

This is the third straight meeting between the two teams that came down to the wire. ODU rallied in the fourth quarter to beat GVSU 28-24 in Allendale in 2014, but the Lakers answered with a 27-24 fourth quarter rally in Columbus last year.

With the setback, ODU fell to 2-3 (2-3 GLIAC), while the Lakers improved to 5-0 (5-0 GLIAC).

The Panthers outgained GVSU 464-353 and held the ball for 35:41. The Lakers entered the game leading the GLIAC with 47.0 points per game, 564.5 yards per game, and 318.5 yards rushing per contest. GVSU managed just 73 yards on the ground this afternoon (2.7 yards per carry).

Senior Marquise Tyus (Lakewood, Ohio) led the Panthers with nine tackles and two pass break ups, while sophomore Brian Hunter (Mayfield, Ohio) made eight tackles (2.0 TFL) with a sack. Junior Cameron Kohl (Hilliard, Ohio) had seven stops and junior Demetrius Farmer (Dover, Ohio) and senior Paul Wesselhoeft (Logan, Ohio) had 1.5 sacks as well.

Contini caught a career best 10 passes for 150 yards and two scores, while Stanford also had a career high 10 receptions. Russell threw for 321 yards, while senior Justin Davis (Detroit, Mich.) ran for 44 yards.

The game was scoreless until late in the second quarter, when GVSU cracked through with a 72 yard scoring drive to take a 7-0 lead with 4:10 to play.

The Panthers tried to answer, but a Russell pass was intercepted at the GVSU 22 with 1:21 left, and the Lakers went 78 yards in just over a minute to take a 14-0 lead.

Then, ODU fumbled with 10 seconds left in the half, allowing GVSU to kick a 47 yard field goal to take a 17-0 lead in the half.

On its second drive of the third quarter, the Panther offense cracked the scoring column as Russell connected with Contini on a 25 yard touchdown to make it 17-7 with 7:12 left. GVSU answered with a touchdown on its next drive to regain a 24-7 cushion.

Ohio Dominican takes the road next Saturday for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Lake Erie.

Contact: Scott Miles