ASHLAND — The Eagles finally caught a break, but Ashland coach Lee Owens understands the danger of looking in the rearview mirror.
Fresh off last week’s impossible 20-17 win at nationally-ranked Grand Vally State, Ashland will welcome Davenport to Jack Miller Stadium for Homecoming at 1 p.m. Saturday.
AU stunned the Lakers on the final play of the game last week when quarterback Austin Brenner lofted a jump ball into the end zone that wideout Logan Bolin miraculously came down with in the middle of five GVSU defenders. The 52 yard touchdown capped a wild fourth quarter that saw the Eagles score all 20 points in the final 5:01.
“It’s an unbelievable story of their character and not quitting and playing until the last play,” Owens said. “I’m just so proud of them. Finally we got one at the end.”
Ashland (3-2, 2-1 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) can’t afford to overlook Davenport. The Panthers (3-1, 1-1) suffered their first loss last week against No. 2 Ferris State, falling 35-7.
“Davenport’s good. Their only loss is to Ferris,” Owens said. “(They are a) physical team, athletic team that we have a lot of respect for.”
The Panthers are led by quarterback Deondre Ford, who has completed 59 of 116 passes for 623 yards and four touchdowns. Nate Couturier has 15 catches for 232 yards and two TDs, while running back Michael Catching has rushed for 224 yards and two scores on 50 attempts.
Davenport managed just 62 yards of total offense in the loss to Ferris Statee. The Panthers were held to minus-9 yards rushing.
“I kind of felt like the moment got us a little bit there,” Davenport coach Sparky McEwen said afterward. “We didn’t execute as well as we would have liked, but Ferris has something to do with that.”
Brenner has completed 85 of 169 passes for 923 yards and four touchdowns. Freshman tailback Gei’vonni Washington rushed for 169 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries against the Lakers and has 428 yards and four TDs on the season.
AU linebacker Clay Shreve has a team-high 51 tackles and ranks third in the GLIAC with 10.2 stops a game. Safety Jason Harrison is second the the conference with three interceptions.
“Ferris beat Ashland early in the year in a really close ball game,” McEwen said. “There’s a lot of similarities (between Ferris and Ashland) with the physicality.
“We’ve got some work to do.”
Owens knows the Eagles can’t bask in last week’s victory.
“We have to get our heads out of the clouds, get our feet back on the ground,” Owens said. “It’s the first thing I talked about on Sunday.
“It’s got to be Davenport.”