Eagles Seeking Outright Conference Title

  • 11/10/2017 2:06:35 PM
  • Jeff Alan
  • Local Sports

ASHLAND, OH-  After beating Grand Valley State University last Saturday 34-31, the Ashland University Eagles stand at 9-1in all games and 8-0 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.  A win Saturday over 5-5, 3-5 Saginaw Valley State at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field would give Ashland an outright GLIAC championship and possibly put them at home in week one of the NCAA Division II playoffs.

"I think with a victory I feel good about us hosting," said AU head coach Lee Owens. Obviously, we want to have an outright title and finish perfect in the GLIAC and these seniors have a chance to finish perfect in the regular season at home for four years which is pretty hard to believe.  So, they are playing for a lot.  I anticipate our guys playing hard. But Saginaw is good.  They are big physical and well coached football team and we know it won't be easy."

Talking about the prospect of being a class that never lost a regular season home game, senior receiver Matt Wilcox (35 receptions-655 yards 5 touchdowns) was not even aware.  "Coach just kinda mentioned that statistic before we came out today.  It was kinda a surprise to me because we go into every home game ready to take care of business and we always played well at home so that is awesome and I'd be proud to finish my career with a win."

"The biggest thing is we want to go out as the only conference champion we don't want to be co-champs with anybody," said senior defensive end Austin Utter (39 tackles, 7 sacks).  We will try our best to play our football at our home stadium and keep doing what we've been doing for the past four years we'll celebrate when it happens."

"Last year we got left out of the postseason and that really hurt," said Owens.  I think we've used it as an edge in the offseason and all season long and let's not let it happen again.  Let's not put it in the hands of the committee. Let's leave no doubt that we are one of the playoff teams."

"We knew we weren't going to repeat 2016," said Wilcox.  We came out with a higher intensity.  We knew our schedule was tough so we knew we had to bring it each week to practice and that's what we did."

The biggest thing for me personally, that I've seen is young guys stepping up and playing roles that we expect to be filled and more," said Utter.  I think we thought a lot more than what other people thought of us.  We thought we were underestimated going into the season.  We knew guys were going to step up but I didn't think they would step up as much as they did."

If the Eagles pull out a win over Saginaw Valley on Saturday at 1 pm it would mark only the fourth time in program history dating back to 1920, that Ashland University has won ten or more games in a single season.  The previous times were 1972 11-0, 2012 11-1, and 2015 10-1.   The Eagles will be gunning for their 22nd straight home regular season win     

 

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