By Tim Glon
WESTERVILLE — The Ohio Northern football team got a tremendous defensive effort and held on a 16-10 victory at Otterbein Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
The Polar Bears improve to 1-2 overall and are 1-1 in Ohio Athletic Conference play, while the Cardinals fall to 1-2, 1-1.
Senior defensive tackle Scott Rapps (Bay Village Bay) was in the OU backfield all day, finishing with a team-high nine tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and two huge fumble recoveries for ONU.
His first fumble recovery was in the end zone for a touchdown after senior Trent Stout (Fremont/Ross) and junior Jason Hundley (Saint Cloud, Fla./Harmony) sacked OU quarterback Logan Stepp and forced a fumble to make it 10-0 Polar Bears with 3:00 left in the first period.
His second fumble recovery was just as big, as he sacked Stepp and recovered the fumble with just 1:34 left to ice the game for the Polar Bears.
"Sometimes to win in this league you just have to gut one out," ONU head coach Dean Paul said. "We missed some opportunities and had some things bounce the other way. I'm proud of the way our guys kept believing, kept fighting. Otterbein came in with confidence and played well. We gutted one out today, no question."
Williams has now rushed for more than 100 yards in all three of his collegiate football games.
He also caught seven passes for 64 yards and finished with 171 all-purpose yards.
Northern got on the board first when sophomore Joe French (Elgin, Ill./Saint Edward Central Catholic) nailed a 22-yard field goal on its first possession.
French made a 34-yard field goal to make it 13-3 with 9:23 to go in the half and made his third field goal of the game, this one a 21-yarder, to extend Northern's lead to 16-10 with 39 seconds left in the third.
His three field goals tied a school record, one that he had already equalled two weeks ago.
OU had four possessions in the fourth quarter, but could not get closer than the ONU 28-yard line on any of them.
Facing a 3rd-and-3 at the 28, Stepp threw a touchdown pass to Hunter Joseph down the right sideline that appeared to tie the game, but Joseph was called for offensive pass interference and the Cardinals punted with 3:05 remaining to play.
ONU forced Otterbein to burn all three of its timeouts in the ensuing 3-and-out and a 42-yard punt by senior Kyle Bergman (Coldwater) gave OU the ball at its 44 with 2:35 left.
The ball was at the ONU 44 when Rapps' sack and strip iced the game.
Northern out-gained Otterbein 280-205 in total offense and held the ball for 33:17 in the contest.
Stepp completed 19-of-36 passes for 171 yards to lead OU.
The Polar Bears will return to action on Saturday when they open the home portion of their schedule when they host No. 1-ranked Mount Union at 1:30 pm at Dial-Roberson Stadium.