UPLAND, Ind. - In the regular season finale, the Olivet Nazarene University football team started out quick with a 13-0 lead against Taylor University (Ind.), however the Tigers failed to score on offense again falling to the Trojans 22-15. Under two minutes the Tigers still led after a safety in the fourth quarter, but gave up a touchdown with only 1:17 remaining.
It was a promising start for the Tigers (3-8). On the first drive of the game, freshman M.J. Green (Albany, Ga.) broke through on a 55-yard touchdown run, giving ONU a 6-0 lead. The Tiger defense held strong on a fourth down attempt by Taylor (4-6), giving them the ball back to Olivet at the Taylor 29 yardline. From there, freshman quarterback Zach Gross (Elgin, Ill) led the drive, capped by his own 6-yard scamper for a touchdown and a 13-0 lead.
From that point forward, the game was controlled by Taylor. Late in the first quarter Darvon Blackmon caught a 13-yard catch from Nick Freeman to make it a 13-7 game. Again in the second quarter Blackmon caught a 48-yard bomb from Freeman to go ahead 14-13.
In the second half the Taylor defense would not allow the Tiger offense to score. The Tiger’s only other points came from a safety in the third quarter. With Taylor punting from their own 32-yardline, Olivet broke through the protection and blocked the kick. Taylor fell on the ball in their own endzone, good for two points, giving Olivet a 15-14 lead. However, with over 13 minutes remaining the Tigers failed to stretch their lead.
Taylor finally answered with a 32-yard touchdown pass and Blackmon’s third score at the 1:17 mark of the fourth quarter. The end result was a 22-15 Olivet defeat.
Taylor was lead by quarterback Nick Freeman, who completed 13-20 passes for 169 yards and three touchdowns. 133 of those yards, and every touchdown, went to receiver Darvon Blackmon.
For the Tigers, the offense was lead by Green, with 77 yards rushing and a touchdown, and Gross, who had 100 total offensive yards and a score.
For the Trojans, Nick Freeman passed for 169 yards on 13-for-20 and three touchdowns. Jake Fieldler ran 24 times for 89 yards. Darvon Blackmon caught nine balls for 133 yards and three scores.
Defensively, sophomore linebacker Michael Williams (Lagrange Park, Ill.) had one sack and two tackles for a loss, totaling four yards. Sophomore linebacker Brandon Ruemler (Williamsport, Ind.) led the team with nine tackles andhad three tackles-for-loss for 9 yards. Senior linemen Ben Tobey (Valparaiso, Ind.) and Tony Turner (Momence, Ill.) ended their careers combining for six tackles, and a half-sack.