ASHLAND — If anything good came of Ashland University’s season-opening loss to Indianapolis, it’s that veteran coach Lee Owens knows he has a reliable field goal kicker.
Not much else went right for the Eagles in the second half of a 24-9 setback to the nationally-ranked Greyhounds.
AU (0-1) will try to right the ship when it heads to Canton on Saturday to take on Walsh (0-1). Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
In last week’s opener, the Eagles led the Greyhounds 9-3 at the half thanks to three Satchel Denton field goals. The former University of Rhode Island kicker booted a 41-yarder and a 36-yarder in the first quarter and added a 26-yarder in the second as the Eagles opened a 9-0 lead.
“We felt pretty good about him going in last year,” Owens said of Denton, who is 16 for 18 on field goal attempts at AU. “He had the right demeanor and he didn’t miss in practice, which is a pretty good indicator that he won’t miss in a game.”
Denton’s first-half performance was the lone bright spot as AU came unglued in the second half. The Eagles turned the ball over three times on offense and surrendered 255 yards on defense.
“They came out with a great scheme after halftime,” said AU linebacker Ryan Corkrean, who had 10 tackles in the loss. “They kind of fired off the ball real quick. It was a good scheme.”
AU quarterback Austin Brenner completed 22 of 45 passes for 303 yards in the loss — the first 300-yard passing game of his career — but was picked off twice. Sophomore wideout Garrett Turnbaugh caught a career-high six passes for a career-best 145 yards but lost a fumble that Indy turned into a touchdown.
The Cavaliers opened the season with a 44-3 loss at Football Championship Subdivision member Duquesne. Walsh managed just 73 yards of total offense while surrendering 462 yards.
Ashland is 5-0 all-time against Walsh, which was a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 2012 to 2017 before joining the Great Midwest Athletic Conference. The Eagles needed overtime to secure a 31-24 victory in their last visit to Canton in 2015.
“We’ve got work to do on both sides of the ball,” Owens said after last week’s loss. “We know what we need to fix right now and that’s the positive.”