Cardinals drop 21-17 contest at Ashland

Cardinals drop 21-17 contest at Ashland

ASHLAND, Ohio -- The Cardinal football team hit the road for the second straight week on Saturday (Oct. 6) night, traveling to face Ashland University in a GLIAC contest. In a back-and-forth matchup where SVSU held a slim fourth quarter lead, the home team came back and eventually claimed a victory by a 21-17 count. 

The loss is the first of the season for Saginaw Valley, as the Cards drop to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in league play. The Eagles improve to 3-3 overall with a 3-1 mark in the GLIAC.

Saginaw Valley got on the board first with 7:19 showing in the opening quarter, taking the first drive 15 plays and 68 yards for a 7-0 lead. That score was compliments of a 2-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Conklin to Chad Gailliard

The Eagles responded with two touchdowns to take a 14-7 lead, with the first coming as time expired in the first quarter and the second with 9:21 showing on the clock in the second.

The Cards would score once more before the half, using another long drive in 18 plays and 75 yards resulting in a 25-yard Connor Luksic field goal to trim the deficit to 14-10.

Saginaw Valley was forced to punt on its first drive of the second half but was helped by a muffed punt by Ashland that was recovered by Josh Schelke at the Eagles' five yard line. 

Despite a penalty that backed the visitors up on the first play, the third play later saw Conklin find Dominick Fiscelli from seven yards out to give SVSU its second lead of the game at 17-14 after a Luksic PAT. 

Ashland gained possession with 10:48 left in the contest and would come up with an 11 play, 51-yard drive that was capped-off with a touchdown to give the home team a 21-17 lead. That left just 5:28 on the game clock. 

A quick three-and-out forced the Cards to punt the ball with 4:22 to play and AU worked 2:18 more off the clock before they would have to punt the ball back to Saginaw Valley after a stalled drive. 

The Cardinals took over at their own 32 with 2:04 to play as heavy rain entered the stadium and made conditions tough.

On the second play of the drive, an attempted pass was picked-off by Ashland's Isiah Roberts and gave the Eagles the ball back with 1:47 left and SV had no timeouts remaining.

A 45-minute weather delay would ensue after a lightning strike was near the stadium. 

After play resumed with the Eagles needing to only run out the clock, they did just that and sealed the 21-17 victory over the Cardinals. 

Inside the Boxscore

  • SVSU held a 256-247 edge in total offense. 
  • The Cardinals held the Eagles to just 67 yards rushing, which was well below their average of 201.2 yards-per-game entering the matchup.
  • Conklin finished 21-32 for 167 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. He was named the Meijer "Player of the Game."
  • Nate McCrary had team-highs of 14 rushes and 58 yards on the ground.
  • Fiscelli had a game-high six catches for a team-best 63 yards and a score.
  • Gailliard had a touchdown receiving as well. 
  • Luksic made good on his only field goal try of the game.
  • Austin Egler had a team-high seven tackles with a pass break-up.
  • Justin Whitted had six stops with two tackles-for-loss.
  • Heath Williams had three tackles with a sack while Marvin White had five stops with a pair of break-ups.

Up Next...

The Cardinals host Northern Michigan Saturday (Oct. 13) for the annual homecoming game at Wickes Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. The Wildcats are coming off a 27-24 loss to Northwood on Saturday. 

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