COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio Dominican's football team will play host to Lake Erie in its Great Midwest and home opener at 7 p.m. Saturday, the program's first home night game since 2013.
Despite starting the season with an 0-3 record, there is plenty of promise for the Panthers. ODU's three non-conference opponents are a combined 6-1 and are all ranked or receiving votes, including last week's FCS opponent Penn.
The Panthers gave the two-time defending Ivy League champs all they could handle in what was eventually a 42-24 loss. ODU led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter and 10-7 at the break, and had a potential scoring drive stalled in Penn territory at the start of the fourth quarter when trailing 28-17.
ODU's offense continued to click at a high level as it ran 86 plays and churned out 458 yards, including 353 in the air. The Panthers rank fifth in the country in passing yards per game (384.3) and are fourth in completion percentage (72.8). Through three games, ODU is averaging 456.7 yards per game (27th nationally), nearly 70 yards more per game than last season.
The Panthers have generated big passing plays in the air, with 18 completions of 20 yards or more through three weeks. Grant Russell, the G-MAC Offensive Player of the Week, leads the conference ranks in the top-10 nationally in passing yards, completions and completion percentage. Meanwhile, ODU's three starting receivers – Cory Contini (348 yards), David Turner (344) and Cedric Washington (274) each have two 100-yard games and are the top three receivers in the conference.
The defense has been paced by Cameron Kohl, who ranks second in the G-MAC with 31 tackles, which is also 30th in the country. Eleven players have made at least 10 tackles through the first three weeks, including 18 stops from Gus Dimmerling and 17 apiece from Brian Hunter, Tyren Jackson and Tre McIntyre. Kohl has made 3.5 tackles for loss and Hunter 2.5.
Freshman Logen Neidhardt hit six punts 40 yards or longer at Penn and averaged 46.0 yards per punt. He had three carry 50 yards or longer and placed a pair inside the Penn 20, including one downed at the one.