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2013-10-26 ONU completes comeback over Lindenwood-Belleville, snaps losing streak
2013 Michael Ho-Lewis (3)

Michael Ho-Lewis scored the Tigers go-ahead TD on Saturday, his 5th of the year

ONU completes comeback over Lindenwood-Belleville, snaps losing streak

Author: Nick Birkey
Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 7:37 AM

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — For the final 44:51 of Saturday’s game, the ONU football team shutout the Lindenwood-Belleville University (Ill.) Lynx en route to a 20-13 win. The Tigers trailed 13-0 early in the second quarter, but following a blocked extra point by Ron France (St. Charles, Ill.), Olivet scored 20 unanswered points to win their second game of the year. The Tigers forced a turnover and blocked two punts during the Tigers comeback effort.

To begin the game, neither team could create anything offensively. On the Lynx (3-6) second punt of the game, Lucas Limberg (Rockford, Ill.) made a costly decision in trying to field a bouncing kick that resulted in a fumble recovered by the Lynx. On the ensuing possession, Jeremiah Clemon scored from five yards out to make it 7-0.

After two more punts, one by each team, the Lynx took the ball 52 yards in 3:27. Anthony Dorsey kept in for a one-yard score to make it 13-0. Ron France blocked the extra point, his second of the year. Going forward from there, the Tigers (2-6) started to make their comeback. On their next possession, they had the ball for 8:19, going 58 yards on 12 plays. Zach Gross (Elgin, Ill.) eventually ran it in from 10 yards out. During the drive, the Tigers ran the ball 11 times and threw it once for a 15-yard gain.

Following two more punts, LBU was stopped with only 49 seconds remaining, giving the Tigers one more chance to score before the half. ONU took the ball from the their own 35-yard line and used a costly penalty and three passes by Ryan Sample (Manteno, Ill.) to go 56 yards to set up a 26-yard field goal by Andrew Muzljakovich (Vicksburg, Mich.). The Tigers trailed 13-10 at the half.

After a fumble on the Tigers first possession, ONU needed a stop to get the ball back. They did so by forcing the Lynx to punt. Tywan Brooks was blocked by Michael Williams (Lagrange Park, Ill.), and he recovered it at the Lynx 30-yard line. Five plays later, Muzljakovich tied the game with a second 26-yard field goal. Six plays later, Brooks was back to punt, and again Williams got to the kicker to block the kick. Grant Perkins (Sweetser, Ind.) recovered the ball at the LBU 12-yard line. Unfortunately, the Lynx blocked a kick of their own when Joe Witorek blocked Muzljakovich’s 20-yard attempt.

On the Tigers first possession of the fourth quarter, Sample led the Tigers down the field for 55 yards in 3:23. The big play of the drive was the 18-yard completion to Aaron Salas (San Marcos, Calif.) to the one-yard line. Michael Ho-Lewis (Boise, Idaho) ran it in and gave the Tigers the 20-13 lead. On the Lynx next possession, the Tiger defense made another big play as David Prater (Harvey, Ill.) forced a fumble and Ron France picked it up. LBU would have their last chance to score with 5:12 remaining, but four plays later the ONU defense snuffed out a fake punt for a loss of 10 yards. The Tigers kept the ball the rest of the half to secure the win.

For the Tigers' offense, freshman quarterback Ryan Sample went 11-for-17 for 162 yards. Zach Gross finished with 15 yards passing and rushed 10 times for 49 yards and a touchdown, his third of the year. Junior Michael Ho-Lewis had his most complete game of the season, running the ball 23 times for 80 yards and a touchdown, his team-leading fifth of the year. He also caught two balls for 29 yards. Senior Tyler Swindle (Lindenhurst, Ill.) caught five balls for 65 yards, and Aaron Salashad had four receptions for 74 yards.

ONU’s defense allowed 250 total yards (second lowest total of season) and 12 first downs. They allowed 127 rushing yards and 123 through the air. They finished with four tackles for loss (31 yards), one fumble recovery and three blocked kicks. Junior Brandon Ruemler (Williamsport, Ind.) returned after two weeks off with an injury to lead the Tigers with eight tackles. Junior John Litrenta (Orland Park, Ill.) finished with seven tackles and two tackles for loss (16 yards). Junior Michael Williams blocked two consecutive punts in the third quarter, and Ron France blocked the Lynx extra point in the second quarter.

In addition, kicker/punter Andrew Muzljakovich made his way into the record books on Saturday. With 136 punting yards against LBU, he now has 4,403 for his career, good for fifth on the Tigers' all-time list. He passed Micah Morgan (2002-03) (4,327). He has accumulated 4,403 yards in 112 attempts and averages 39.3 per kick. Also, he is now only 14 points (180) shy of fifth all-time in scoring (Corey Bell, 1988-91) (194). He scored eight points on Saturday with two fields and two PATs. During his career, he is 37-of-60 (61.6%) and has made 69 PATs. 

The Lynx freshman quarterback Anthony Dorsey was 13 for 18 for 123 yards, rushing for a touchdown. Kameron Harris rushed 24 times for 115 yards. Jeremiah Clemon ran the ball three times for 25 yards and a score. Three different receivers caught at least at three balls.

The Tigers will be back on the field at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, on the road against league foe William Penn University (Iowa).