MU Athletics - Saturday (Sept. 22) night marked the first time that the Marietta College football team played at home in 2007. A River City Bowl crowd of over 1,100 on Alumni Day was treated to a high-scoring affair but witnessed visiting Otterbein College obtain its first victory of the year with a 41-23 win over Marietta.
The Cardinals (1-2, 1-1 OAC), who beat the Pioneers (0-3, 0-2 OAC) for the fourth straight year, evened the all-time series at 40-40.
Otterbein and Marietta entered the game ranked eighth and ninth among Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) teams in passing, respectively, but combined for 731 yards through the air on Saturday. The Cardinals had 423 yards passing, while the Pioneers collected 308 in the loss. Otterbein added 170 yards on the ground to finish with 593 total yards. Marietta had 100 yards rushing to give it 408 total yards.
Otterbein scored on its first five possessions to take a 34-10 advantage into halftime and then cruised to the 41-23 victory.
Sophomore Dexter Hughes (Woodsfield/Monroe Central) came off the bench to complete 21-of-44 passing attempts, which covered a career-high 263 yards. Hughes, who was intercepted three times, including twice in the end zone, threw two touchdowns, a 20-yard strike to freshman Ryan Dawson (Parkersburg, W.Va.) with 8:24 to go in the first half and a two-yard toss to sophomore George Davis (Warren/Newton Falls) with 1:49 to play in the game. Sophomore Ryan Merrill (Parkersburg, W.Va./South), who started the game, went 3-of-7 and threw for 45 yards.
Otterbein senior Paul Stelzer completed 22-of-44 passes and threw for 394 yards, including 303 in the first half, which featured all five of his touchdown passes. Stelzer threw touchdown passes of 5, 36, 5, 13 and 50 yards. Backup Jack Rafferty went 2-of-4 with an interception, while backup running back Colton Coy threw a 30-yard touchdown pass in the third frame.
Junior Garrett Banks (Barberton) paced the Pioneers' ground game with five carries for 41 yards. Freshman Lamar Hunter (South Euclid/Brush) added eight attempts for 34 yards, including a four-yard touchdown, the first of his career. Davis finished with seven carries for 23 yards.
Tyrone Morgan led Otterbein's ground game with 13 carries for 104 yards, while Coy added nine carries for 48 yards.
Dawson pulled in a team-high seven catches for 101 yards. Senior Chad McDaniel (Wooster/Triway) added six grabs for 103 yards.
Scott DeLong led the Cardinals with 10 grabs for 155 yards and three touchdowns. Dan Gendron had six catches for 91 yards and a score, while Josh Bope added four receptions for 91 yards.
Sophomore JR Gibson (Seabring/West Branch) collected a game-high 13 tackles, while senior Brian Hahn (Upper Sandusky) added 11 and senior Carter Shaver (Trotwood/Waynesville) had nine. Freshman Brian Sweeny (Byesville/Meadowbrook) pulled down an interception and returned it nine yards. Freshman Seth Allman (North Canton/Hoover) blocked a fourth quarter punt to set up Marietta's final touchdown.
John Wahler and Eric Burnsides both had nine stops for Otterbein. Tony Furr added a pair of interceptions in the end zone.
Marietta is back in action Saturday (Sept. 29) when No. 10 Capital visits Don Drumm Stadium for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff. The Crusaders will bring in a 3-0 record after routing Heidelberg 42-10 on Saturday