COLUMBUS, Ohio -- With playoff implications on the line, the top two teams in the GLIAC South Division will meet up at noon Saturday in Panther Stadium as ODU plays host to No. 20 Ashland in the regular season finale for both teams.
Ashland (8-2) enters the week ranked ninth in Super Region Four while the Panthers are knocking on the doorstep with a 7-3 record. The top seven from each region qualify for the postseason. Ashland is looking for a repeat trip to the postseason, while ODU looks for its third trip in four years.
The Panthers knocked off Wayne State 28-17 last Saturday to pick up its fifth straight win. ODU overcame a 10-6 deficit for its first win when trailing at the break this year and sixth since 2010 (6-20). The Panther offense clicked into gear in the second half, converting 6-of-9 third downs and scoring on touchdown passes to David Turner (18 yards) and Dar Stanford (nine yards) and a 56 yard run by Joe Hines.
Hines finished with 141 yards on 16 carries (8.8 yards per carry, ninth-best in school history), which were both career highs, and he also caught five passes for 38 yards. Grant Russell had another efficient performance, connecting on 22-of-30 tosses (73.3 percent) for 211 yards and three touchdowns. He's completed at least 64 percent of his passes for six straight games and leads the nation in completion percentage (70.5 percent).
The defense was solid against Wayne State's high powered rushing attack. The Panthers limited the Warriors in the second half to 74 rushing yards on 21 carries, including just 10 rushing yards in the fourth quarter. Wayne State did not convert a single third down in that fourth quarter as well.
Ross Thompson earned his first career GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week award as he recorded 17 tackles (4.0 tackles for loss). Marquise Tyus added 10 tackles and Nick Isaacs and Tre McIntyre recorded seven apiece.
The Panthers also performed well in special teams' coverage. Justin Bonchek averaged 42.0 yards per punt, and Wayne State's average drive start was its own 22 yards line.
• Since 2006, ODU has anoverall record of 86-34(.717 win percentage.) The Panthers are 40-9 in their last 49 games (.816 win percentage.) ODU has also won 39 of its last 46 regular season games (.848).
• Over the past 49 games, ODU has outscored opponents by 829 points, an average of 16.9 points per game. The Panthers have scored 30 or more points 33 times in that stretch and held opponents to 14 points or fewer 20 times.
• ODU is 38-6 against opponents from Ohio since 2007 (.864 winpercentage.)
• The Panthers are 23-1 in their last 24 GLIAC South Division games (.958) and are also 24-3 in their last 27 regular season road games (.889).
• ODU is 42-1 (.977) in its last 43 games against unranked opponents, dating back to Oct. 15, 2011.
Contact: Scott Miles