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2013-09-28 Offense struggles in 14-0 loss to Siena Heights
2013 defense front

Ruemler (back right), France (right), and Hosselton (left) totaled 25 tackles for the Tigers on Saturday

Offense struggles in 14-0 loss to Siena Heights

Author: Nick Birkey
Posted: Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 7:14 PM

BOURBONNAIS, Ill.  — Following their first win of the season, the ONU football team returned to Ward Field for an afternoon showdown with Siena Heights University (Mich.). The Saints scored early and late to win over the Tigers 14-0. ONU struggled to find any offense all day, but was able to stay in the game defensively.

The Saints (3-1) possessed the ball for almost two-thirds of the game, and they dominated the first quarter with a first drive of 5:52 that went 92 yards on 12 plays. Travis Damron ran it in from 13 yards. ONU (1-3) struggled to stop Siena Heights, giving up eight first downs on the drive.

Later in the quarter, ONU got the ball on their own 27-yard line and took it 40 yards, but Andrew Muzljakovich (Vicksburg, Mich.) was unable to convert a career-high 50-yard field goal.  

The Saints again controlled the tempo of the game with a run-first attack, taking 9:59 off the clock during the drive. The Tigers were unable to keep points off the board when Ron France blocked Victor Bodrie’s field goal from 33 yards. For the remainder of the half, each team contributed to a total of five punts and zero points. Only two first downs were converted the rest of the half.

Trailing 7-0 in the second half and needing to find rhythm offensively, the Tigers continued to run into the Saints' defense. On their second drive of the half, they were intercepted by Fred Butler. They punted it two other times; Muzljakovich had seven punts on the day and averaged 46.7 yards.

In the fourth quarter, the Saints started to move into ONU territory, converting on four first downs en route to an eventual touchdown at the 9:57 mark. Matt King found Reggie Blackmon from 5 yards out to make it 14-0. The drive went 13 plays and 91 yards (6:51). The Tiger offense had two more chances to make a comeback, but failed to make a first down on the first and intercepted by DeShawn Gilbert on the second.

For the Tigers' offense, freshman quarterback Ryan Sample (Manteno, Ill.) threw for 149 yards (16-for-30) and two interceptions. Without running back David Payne, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury, the Tigers ran for just 10 total yards on 16 carries. Rico Prestia (Elk Grove Village, Ill.) caught seven balls for 72 yards, and Aaron Salas (San Marcos, Calif.) had five catches for 50 yards.

ONU’s defense allowed 442 total yards and 28 first downs. Junoir Brandon Ruemler (Williamsport, Ind.) led the Tigers with 11 tackles and a half tackle for loss. Mark Kosrow (Elk Grove Village, Ill.) had 10 tackles. Ron France (St. Charles, Ill.) had eight tackles, a tackle for loss and a blocked field goal. Lance Craft (Onondaga, Mich.) had six tackles and two tackles for loss (five yards).  

Saints' quarterback Matt King was 19 for 28 for 191 yards with one touchdown, while running for 34 yards on eight carries. Travis Damron led the Saints with 25 rushes for 118 yards and a score. Campbell caught six balls for 60 yards, and Reggie Blackmon had three catches for 34 yards and a touchdown.

The Tigers will be back in action at noon on Saturday, Oct. 5, on the road against No. 24 Trinity International University (Ill.).