By Bud Denega
ADA — The Ohio Northern football team put on an offensive showcase, featuring a plethora of big plays, in its first home game of the 2019 season Saturday at Dial-Roberson Stadium. The Polar Bears downed Otterbein 45-35 to improve to 2-2 on the season and 2-1 in Ohio Athletic Conference play.
"I thought it was a really solid performance," ONU head coach Dean Paul said. "We knew Otterbein was going to be a good test. After a disappointing loss last week, it was important for us to have a good week of practice and come out strong against a quality team, and we did that."
The Polar Bears put up 436 yards of total offense and had balance. They gained 250 yards through the air and 203 yards on the ground.
Senior quarterback Anthony McFadden (Chillicothe/ Paint Valley) was an efficient 15 of 24 for 250 yards and four touchdowns. He spread the ball around to seven different receivers and six of those had at least two catches.
Austin Eick (Rossford) paced the receiving group with three receptions for 93 yards and one touchdown. Chase Rose (Kenton/Upper Scioto Valley) had two catches for 83 yards and two scores, while Ryan Rockwell (Broadview Heights/St/ Edwards), A.J. Marks (Guysville/Alexander) and Brock Martin (Attica/Seneca East) had two receptions apiece.
"Anthony is a dynamic playmaker," Paul said. "He puts a lot of pressure on the defense. He spread the ball around, and that's a credit to him, and the coaches' play design. Chase Rose is back, and he's a big target. Eick is just a crafty guy that can get open. The wide receivers did a nice job tonight."
Junior running back Christiaan Williams (Sidney/Anna) also reeled in three passes totaling 24 yards. He also led the ground attack with 146 yards on 12 carries, which was good enough for an 11.8 yard-per-carry average.
Williams got the scoring started Saturday and quickly. Williams found the end zone on a 42-yard run off the left side that gave his team a 7-0 advantage with 13:12 to play in the opening quarter.
Dom DiFalco (Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional) made it 10-0 on a 20-yard field goal with 6:40 to play in the opening quarter. Following a 1-yard touchdown run from Otterbein's Luke Schmeling, ONU scored three of the half's final four touchdowns, all through the air.
McFadden found Rose for a 42-yard score, Eick for a 76-yard touchdown and Rockwell for a 13-yard score, and the Polar Bears held and 31-13 lead at half.
McFadden hooked up with Rose for a 41-yard score with 14:51 left in the game. Martin — who gained 29 yards on five carries — made it 45-21 with 6:53 to play, but the Cardinals wouldn't go away.
Otterbein tallied two touchdowns in the game's final three minutes of the contest before finally bowing out. The Cardinals gained 419 total yards, 275 of which came via the air.
Senior linebacker Mark Niles (Miramar, Fla.) paced Northern's defensive unit, matching a career-high 15 total tackles, three for loss. Freshman Josh Bever (Ashland) and Cairo Smith (Lorain) logged 11 and 10 tackles, respectively.
The Polar Bears remain in Ada and host Marietta next weekend.