TIFFIN, Ohio—The Heidelberg University football team will look to finish the 2011 regular season on a four-game winning streak when it hosts Ohio Northern University on Saturday, Nov. 12 in an Ohio Athletic Conference game at Mayer Field in Tiffin, Ohio. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. A win in the final regular season game would give the Berg an 8-2 overall record, the best mark since 1993 when the Student Princes went 8-2 under Dick West.
The game will be broadcast by campus radio station WHEI 88.9 FM. Josh Stallings and Jimmy Flynt have the call. In addition, live stats for the game will be available at http://www.heidelberg.edu/statcrew/fb/xlive.htm.
Saturday’s game marks the last for 17 Student Prince seniors, who come into the match-up boasting a 39-game record of 20-19 and looking to post the best four-year record since the class of ’95 went 24-14-2 from 1991-94.
Under the direction of fifth-year head coach Mike Hallett, Heidelberg (7-2, 6-2 OAC), winners of three straight games and six of their last seven, are coming off a 41-28 win at John Carroll University (Nov. 5) in which the offense totaled 500 yards, 300 rushing yards and had two 100-yard rushers for the third straight game. The Student Princes currently sit in a tie with Baldwin-Wallace College for second place in the league standings. A ‘Berg win and a B-W loss to JCU in the final week of the season will give Heidelberg sole possession of second place to close the year.
ONU (6-3, 5-3 OAC), guided by eighth-year head coach Dean Paul, has also won three straight games following its 51-15 win at Wilmington College (Nov. 5).
Saturday’s game will be the fifth between Hallett and Paul. Hallett served as Paul’s offensive coordinator from 1999-2003 when Paul was the head coach at Thomas More (Ky.) College. Hallett later succeeded Paul as TMC’s head coach from 2004-06 following Paul’s departure for Ada.
The Heidelberg offense enters the game boasting the nation’s 18th-best offense (460.9 yards per game) and 13th-best rushing offense (272.9 ypg.) while scoring 34.0 points per game. The ground attack is led by the one-two punch of sophomore second-team All-OAC running back Germany Woods (Cleveland/Lakewood St. Edward) and sophomore running back/kick returner Cartel Brooks (Kokomo, Ind./Galion), the conference’s reigning offensive player of the week. Woods is tied for the league lead and is ninth nationally with 138.7 rushing ypg. He has scored eight touchdowns, tallied 1,248 yards and needs 84 more to break the single-season school record of 1,331 set by Bryce Tuohy in 1989.
Brooks, who is fourth in the OAC by averaging 81.9 ypg., has rushed for 655 yards on only 58 attempts for an 11.3 yards-per-rush average and has scored three of his six TDs from 57 yards or longer. Brooks has also returned three of nine kickoffs for TDs—including scores of 85, 79 and 92 yards—and averages 40.2 yards per return.
Freshman quarterback Michael Mees (North Ridgeville) will direct the passing game. Mees has completed 49.5 percent (104-of-210) of his passes this season for 1,645 yards and 17 TDs against just nine interceptions, and averages 182.8 passing ypg. He has gone over the 200-yard passing mark four times this season, including in his last two outings. Among Mees’ favorite targets are junior wide receiver Mario Escalante (Highland Heights, Ky./Newport Central Catholic) and senior wide receiver CJ Powell (Detroit, Mich./Bishop Foley). Escalante has team-highs of 24 receptions and 469 receiving yards and is ninth in the OAC with 52.1 ypg. Powell has caught 20 balls for 427 yards and a team-high six TDs.
The Polar Bear defense is allowing 22.8 points and 331.2 yards of total offense per game, including 144.6 on the ground and 186.7 through the air. Defensive back Chad Coward and linebacker Joe Powell lead the unit with 78 tackles and 68 tackles, respectively, to rank seventh and 13th in the league. Linebacker Zack Click has made 51 stops of his own, while all three have notched two INTs. Defensive ends Trygve Henrikson and Sean Denson anchor the four-man front. Henrikson has tallied 39 hits and 3.5 sacks, while Denson has been in the backfield for 10.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.
ONU’s offense is scoring 28.9 points and totaling 357.9 yards of offense per game, including 193.0 rushing and 164.9 passing ypg. Justin Buenger leads the team and is sixth in the conference with 71.3 rushing ypg. He has 646 yards on 142 carries and has scored six TDs. Tyler Rue will run the offense. Rue has completed 61.7 percent (122-of-195) of his passes this season for 1,280 yards and 10 TDs against just three INTs, the fewest of any starting quarterback in the league. Justin Wilson and Frank Thien lead the receiving corps, combining for 58 receptions for 616 yards and eight TDs.
The Student Prince defense is allowing 24.1 points and 402.0 total yards per game, including 142.2 rushing and 259.8 passing ypg. Heidelberg is third in the OAC and eighth nationally with 3.44 sacks per game and owns a plus-nine turnover margin. The unit is led by the linebacker corps of junior Craig Sykes (Centerburg), sophomore Dawson Gore (Bellevue) and senior Andy Fadenholz (Grafton/Keystone). Sykes leads the unit and is tied for fifth in the OAC with 83 tackles, including 50 solo stops, and is tied for third with four INTs. He also has nine tackles for loss, including 3.5 sacks. Gore has made 74 tackles, 8.5 of them coming from behind the line of scrimmage, while Fadenholz, who has 49 hits of his own, is second in the OAC in both TFL (14.0) and sacks (9.5).
Junior safety Justin Suddeth (Akron/Warren Howland) and senior cornerback Tony Gordon (Euclid) anchor the secondary. Suddeth leads all defensive backs with 53 tackles, while Gordon has two INTs and is fourth in the OAC with 10 total passes defended. Junior Stephen Fejedelem (Ravenna) leads a three-man defensive front with 45 tackles and six sacks.
In 79 meetings dating back to 1900, ONU leads the all-time series, 44-29-6. The last ‘Berg victory against the Polar Bears came in 1994. The Heidelberg-ONU rivalry is the second-oldest and second-most played on the Heidelberg docket.