BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Quarterback Rico Prestia (Elk Grove Village, Ill.) completed a 29-yard sideline pass to Tyler Swindle (Lindenhurst, Ill.), which moved the Olivet Nazarene University football team inside the red zone and put the Tigers in a great position to tie the game.
The Tigers' final, fourth-quarter comeback attempt, however, got no closer to the end zone than the 3-yard line, and they fell 14-6 to No. 15 Grand View University (Iowa) on Saturday, Sept. 8, at Ward Field.
The loss was the Tigers' third straight loss to open the season — all against teams ranked in the top 15 of the NAIA Top 25 poll. This time, it was Grand View (2-1, 1-0), last year's Mid-States Football Association Midwest League champions.
Olivet (0-3, 0-1) held its own early and limited the Vikings to just one scoring drive in the first half. The Tigers' offense, meanwhile, got six points courtesy of two Andrew Muzljakovich (Vicksburg, Mich.) field goals. Both were the results of turnovers, the second one a 20-yard interception return by linebacker Brandon Ruemler’s (Willamsport, Ind.).
In the third quarter, the Tigers' special teams gave the offense an opportunity to take the lead. However, Muzljakovich missed a 26-yard field goal, and the Tigers still trailed 7-6.
Olivet’s defense held strong for the next 11 minutes until the Vikings' offense broke through for a five-play, 79-yard drive, which gave Grand View a 14-6 lead.
On the Tigers’ next possession, the offense drove 70 yards and into the red zone, thanks to a 16-yard run by Blake Anders (Mokena, Ill.) following a bad snap on a field-goal attempt. However, the drive ended with an interception.
The next Tigers' drive was their final one, and a fourth-and-goal attempt from the Vikings' 7-yard line was stopped at the 3.
Prestia completed 13 of 29 passes for 113 yards; 49 of them went to running back David Payne (Chebanse Ill.), who was also second on the team in rushing. Michael Ho-Lewis (Boise, Idaho) ran 14 times for 60 yards. The Tigers totaled 282 yards on offense, outgaining Grand View.
Ruemler finished with eight tackles, one sack and one interception. Michael Williams (LaGrange Park, Ill.) finished with eight tackles, including three for loss and one sack.
Grand View amassed 224 total yards. Quarterback Dorian Ballentine completed 8 of 18 passes and ran 22 times for 98 yards. Running back Charlie Badgett ran three times and scored two touchdowns.
Olivet plays its fourth straight home game on Saturday, Sept. 15, against No. 7 University of St. Francis (Ill.). The game is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Ward Field.
L, Olivet Nazarene University – 6
#15 Grand View University (Iowa) - 14