By Tim Glon
ADA — The Ohio Northern football team opened its 2018 season with a 34-17 victory over Adrian (Mich.) on a beautiful Saturday night at Dial-Roberson Stadium.
The Bulldogs (0-1) got 92 yards rushing and a score from Emmanuel Stewart and four receptions for 98 yards from Jerron McGaw in the loss.
Junior Mark Niles (Miramar, Fla.) had a career-high 15 tackles and two PBUs for ONU as well.
Adrian controlled play in the early going, holding the ball for 14 of the first 17 minutes and led 7-0 on a 2-yard run by Colton Randle with 12:41 left in the half.
Northern rallied for three touchdowns in the final 5:26 of the half to take a 20-7 lead into intermission.
Martin plowed in from 5 yards out with 5:26 to go to tie the game at 7-all.
After the ONU defense forced Adrian into a 3-and-out, junior Anthony McFadden (Chillicothe/Paint Valley) hit senior Chad Rex (Bradenton, Fla./Lakewood Ranch) on a 23-yard touchdown pass to put the Polar Bears on top 13-7 with 1:35 to go in the half.
On the next play from scrimmage, Hines stepped in front of a pass and returned the interception 29 yards for a score and a 20-7 ONU lead.
AC pulled within 20-10 on a 29-yard field goal at the 8:43 mark of the third quarter.
Martin extended the lead on Northern's next possession as he bulled his way in from eight yards out and it was 27-10 with 4:05 left in the third.
The Bulldogs got within 27-17 when Stewart scored on a 12-yard run with 37 seconds left in the third period.
Northern put the game out of reach when McFadden hit sophomore Chase Rose (Kenton/Upper Scioto Valley) on a 9-yard TD strike with 6:12 left in the game.
McFadden finished the game with 68 yards rushing on 10 carries and completed 9-of-18 passes for 132 yards and two TDs to improve to 3-0 as a starter.
ONU out-gained AC 321-306 in total offense.
The Polar Bears will begin Ohio Athletic Conference play next Saturday with a 1:30 pm home contest against Muskingum at Dial-Roberson Stadium.