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2013-09-21 Defense delivers as Tigers gain first win over Concordia-Ann Arbor
2013 David Payne (1)

Junior David Payne sealed the win over Concordia for ONU with a fourth-quarter touchdown

Defense delivers as Tigers gain first win over Concordia-Ann Arbor

Author: Nick Birkey
Posted: Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 11:15 AM

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Tiger defensive effort once again was strong as the Olivet Nazarene University football team held the Concordia University-Ann Arbor Cardinals to just seven points on Saturday, September 21. ONU shut out the Cardinals until the 14:21 mark of the fourth quarter, dominating the game from start to finish, resulting in a 24-7 win — the first for the Tigers in 2013.

ONU (1-2) went on the road, seeking their first win, and Concordia-Ann Arbor (1-2) stood in their way. A much improved offensive effort aided a tough defensive scheme, helping the Tigers to a victory.

An early first quarter turnover by the Tigers could have resulted in a Cardinal score, but a goal line stand by the defense on fourth and five kept the home team out of the end zone. The Tigers, in turn, drove the ball 61 yards on 11 plays in 5:22, giving Andrew Muzljakovich (Vicksburg, Mich.) a 46-yard field goal (third longest of his career).

With a 3-0 lead and momentum gradually moving their way, the Tigers took advantage on the Cardinals next play from scrimmage. Sophomore Lucas Limberg (Rockford, Ill.) intercepted Tyler Steele’s pass and returned it 12 yards for the score, giving ONU an early 10-0 lead. However, Limberg wasn’t done keeping the Cardinals from scoring. Later on in the second quarter, he blocked the Concordia 30-yard field goal attempt, and Mark Kosrow (Elk Grove Village, Ill.) returned it 15 yards.

With 5:13 to play before the half, ONU got the ball back after a stop. Ryan Sample (Manteno, Ill.) led them down the field, completing five passes (68 yards), and eventually found Tyler Swindle (Lindenhurst, Ill.) for a 21-yard scorem giving the Tigers a 17-0 halftime lead.

As the second half started, the momentum fell solely on the Tigers hands. Olivet was even lucky enough to receive to begin the half. However, the entire third quarter consisted of four punts, two by each team. As the fourth quarter began, the home team was pressing toward the red zone and eventually found the end zone when Steele found Austin Douglass three yards out to make it 17-7. Sample was intercepted on the Tigers' next possession, but ONU held strong and stopped the Cardinals on a fourth and four to get the ball back.

With 7:15 to play, the Tigers took the ball back and turned it over when Cortez Smith intercepted a pass. The Cardinals took it on their own 40. A play later, Chris Aschemann (Carterville, Ill.) sacked Steele, forcing a fumble, recovered it, and the Tigers got the ball back — which led to an eight-play, 47-yard drive (4:11) and a David Payne three-yard run to make it 24-7. With 1:23 left, Concordia tried to drive down the field and score; but on their fifth play, Jared Carl (Galesburg, Ill.) intercepted Steele’s pass and ran it back 52 yards to end the game.

For the Tigers' offense, freshman quarterback Ryan Sample threw for a career-high 167 yards (12-for-24) and a touchdown, while throwing two picks. Junior David Payne ran 20 times for 73 yards and a score; he also caught three balls for 44 yards. Tyler Swindle also caught four yards for 62 yards and touchdown. In the Tigers’ third game of the season, they won the possession battle for the first time in 2013 (30:51 to 29:09).

The Tiger defense forced three turnovers against the Cardinals and only gave up 262 total yards. Junior linebacker Brandon Ruemler (Williamsport, Ind.) led the Tigers with 15 tackles, one tackle for loss and a pass breakup. Mark Kosrow had nine tackles. Lucas Limberg helped the scoring effort for the Tigers by returning a 12-yard interception for a touchdown. Also, Jared Carl returned a second interception for 52 yards. In total, the Tigers had eight tackles for loss (26 yards), the most of any game this season. Six Tigers had at least one tackle for loss.

Cardinal quarterback Tyler Steele was 32 for 50 for 310 yards with one touchdown (two interceptions), while running for 15 yards on five carries. D’Karas Fields caught nine balls for 92 yards, and Austin Douglass had five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown.

The Tigers will be back in action on Saturday, September 28, at Ward Field against Siena Heights University (Mich.) at 1:30 p.m.