ASHLAND — The start of the 2023 Ashland University football season is just around the corner, and the Eagles now know where they stand in the 2023 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll.
As released by the AFCA on Aug. 14, Ashland is slotted at No. 12 in the preseason Top 25. Earlier in the offseason, the Eagles were chosen as the preseason favorite to win the Great Midwest Athletic Conference title by league head coaches, and were slotted at No. 10 in the 2023 Lindy’s National College Football Magazine preseason poll.
The 2023 Ashland season-opener will be at No. 16-ranked Indiana, Pa., on Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. Ashland lost to IUP in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Division II postseason, meaning the Eagles will open a new season against the team they ended the previous campaign against for the first time since 1959-60 (Manchester).
Top-ranked Ferris State, the two-time defending Division II national champion, will be the Eagles’ first game in 2023 at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field, on Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. That will be AU Student Celebration Night, highlighting the successes of Eagle teams and student-athletes during the 2022-23 academic year.
Ashland will enter the new season under the guidance of first-year head coach Doug Geiser, who is taking over for the retired Lee Owens. The Eagles return 11 All-Great Midwest players, and have six returning starters on both offense and defense.
In 2022, AU football went 10-2, winning its first outright Great Midwest championship and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs. The Eagles were 13th in the final AFCA Division II Coaches’ Top 25 Poll of the season.
Fire dept. aids in team building
The AU football team completed team building challenges with their accountability squads around the Dwight Shar athletic complex on Sunday afternoon. The Ashland Fire Department volunteered to spray down the slip & slide and to teach the players how to use the Kaiser Sled.
The Fire Fighters among these photos included Jody Erickson, Scott McGuire, Matt Spaniel, Dan Miller, Austin Reeves, and Andy Ferguson.