Updated Thu, Oct 17, 2013 4:28 pm
The Marietta Pioneers are halfway through the 2013 football season and are still searching for their first win of the year.
The Pioneers hope to change their fortune this week as they take on the 2-3 Ohio Northern Polar Bears at Dial-Roberson Stadium this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. In the past three weeks, Marietta has given up over 60 points a game including its most recent loss to No. 21 John Carroll 62-7.
In this homecoming weekend game for the Polar Bears, the storyline will be whether or not Ohio Northern can continue its success on offense against an underperforming Marietta defense. Ohio Northern is also looking to get back to winning after losing its past two games, while the Pios are hoping to capture their first win since Nov. 2011.
Ohio Northern is having an explosive offensive season thus far, averaging 333 yards a game with 204 of those coming through the air. Two key players leading the Polar Bears’ aerial attack include quarterback Patrick Angle and wide receiver Devon Price who both had career days in last week’s 38-17 loss to Baldwin Wallace. Angle completed 28 of his 47 passes for 317 yards while his go-to receiver Price caught 10 of those passes for 143 yards of his own.
This dynamic duo could pose serious problems to the Pioneers’ defense that is allowing opponents to gain 547 yards and score nearly 60 points a game. The secondary for Marietta is also giving up 10 yards per pass. In order to have success in this game, the Pioneers’ secondary must be “very disciplined throughout the game and recognize routes early on,” according to Marietta head coach Andy Waddle.
Despite Ohio Northern’s productive offense, it has lost its past two games and is below .500. This losing environment is unfamiliar territory for the Polar Bears, who have been nationally-ranked 11 out of the past 13 seasons. While Ohio Northern looks to pick up its third win of the year, the Pioneers are still fighting for win number one. In order to get this win, Marietta needs to accomplish a few key things on offense.
“We need to hold onto the football better than we did last week,” Waddle said. “We need to produce more first downs and be able to push [the ball] into the end zone.”
Marietta turned the ball over four times last week compared to the Polar Bears’ defense that forced four interceptions against Baldwin Wallace.
Interceptions can be the difference in this week’s homecoming game for Ohio Northern just as it was last year when it picked off Marietta three times in a 56-14 win over the Pioneers. Marietta looks to avenge last year’s loss to the Polar Bears as both teams hope to snap their own losing streaks.