COLUMBUS, Ohio – Returning from its second bye week of the season, the regionally ranked Ohio Dominican football team is set to host Lake Erie for its annual Senior Day. Kickoff between the Panthers and Storm is at 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9, with Senior Day festivities taking place during the pre-game warmups.
Ohio Dominican was last in action on Saturday, Oct. 26, as the team outlasted the weather conditions and longtime rival Walsh in a 7-0 victory. The win capped an unbeaten 3-0 mark for ODU in October and brings the Black & Gold to a 5-2 overall mark entering play this weekend, including a 4-1 record in Great Midwest play.
The NCAA released its first regional rankings for Division II football during the Panthers' bye week, which had ODU ranked 10th. With the top seven teams qualifying for the national playoffs, ODU is once again ranked 10th in Super Region One this week, one spot behind fellow G-MAC institution, Tiffin.
With two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Panthers will attempt to catch Tiffin in the G-MAC standings, as the Dragons, who are ranked No. 25 in the national coaches poll, are currently leading the conference with a 5-0 mark. Hillsdale, who faces Tiffin this week, and Findlay, join ODU with one conference loss heading into the final month of the season.
ODU's win over Walsh marked just the eighth shutout victory in program history and the first since Sept. 23, 2017. For their efforts, senior linebacker Camren Moore (New Carlisle, Ohio) and junior punter Logen Neidhardt (Hicksville, Ohio) were named G-MAC Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week. Moore tied a career high with 16 tackles, while Neidhardt averaged 46.2 yards over five punts, which included a long attempt of 61 yards and three tries inside the WU 20-yard line.
On the season, Moore leads the conference with 9.9 tackles per game, which also ranks among the top 25 nationally. With his performance last time out, Moore also became the all-time leading tackler in G-MAC history, as he has 266 career tackles. He ranks fourth in school history for career tackles as well. Neidhardt is fifth across Division II in punting average this season at 43.3, while also dropping 16 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line with no touchbacks.
Offensively, sophomore Evan Ernst (Mason, Ohio) and junior Devanaire Conliffe (Willoughby, Ohio) recorded the only touchdown against Walsh, capping the opening drive of the game with a three-yard passing score. Ernst now has 17 total touchdowns this season, including 13 through the air, as he has completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,575 yards. Conliffe leads the conference in touchdown receptions with nine, while also leading the team in receiving yards, 456.
Senior EJ Colson (Middletown, Ohio) ran for 122 yards in the win over Walsh, giving him four consecutive outings over the century mark. On the season, the senior has 548 yards, averaging 5.8 yards per rush. Colson also has six rushing touchdowns over the past three games.
Lake Erie enters play Saturday with a 3-6 overall record, including a 2-4 mark in G-MAC competition. Prior to their trip to Columbus, the Storm have lost back-to-back games, allowing over 60 points to both Tiffin and Findlay. Prior to that stretch though, LEC had won three of four games, including G-MAC triumphs over Kentucky Wesleyan and Alderson Broaddus.
The Storm are accumulating 372.1 yards of offense per game and are scoring 24.8 points per outing. Redshirt senior Javarian Smith leads the offense with 2,310 passing yards and 15 touchdowns. Smith has tossed for over 300 yards on four occasions this fall, including 469 yards against Tiffin.
Defensively, LEC is allowing close to 400 yards per game, including over 200 yards on the ground. Three opponents have topped 40 points on the Storm this season, who are giving up 33.2 points per game. Graduate defensive back Elems Ukwu Jr. leads the team with 63 tackles. Redshirt junior Justin Growel has 57 stops, 19 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles.
Contact: Tyler Jester