Updated Sun, Nov 10, 2013 7:31 pm
A 20-point second quarter propelled the Otterbein Cardinals (5-4) to a 29-21 victory over the Marietta Pioneers (1-8). On its Senior Day, Otterbein used a balanced offensive attack as well as two game-changing plays on special teams to defeat the Pios at Memorial Stadium.
For the second week in a row, Marietta scored on its first possession of the game with a 13-play, 81-yard drive. On the drive, Marietta ran the ball 11 times including a big 3-yard run by Tim Conner on fourth-and-2. Five plays later, Conner finished off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown, which was his first of two scores on the day.
Conner’s touchdown, however, was the only score of the first quarter, and from there the Cardinals came alive. In the second quarter, Otterbein scored 20 unanswered points including a field goal block that was returned 65 yards by Jordan Bonifas for a touchdown. The block by Zack Grieves gave Otterbein a 20-7 lead with only 16 seconds remaining before the half.
The field goal block and a mishandled punt return that resulted in a safety for the Pios changed the momentum of the game. Otterbein’s offense was just as effective, as it rushed for 204 yards on 43 attempts against Marietta, which is only the third time this season Otterbein has rushed for more than 100 yards. Leading the rushing attack for the Cards was running back Drew Ervin, who had a pair of rushing touchdowns to go along with his 95 yards on the ground. Marietta also showed its dominant ground game with 277 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Despite Conner running for 164 yards for the Pioneers, the ability to throw the football was the difference in the game. The Cardinals had the passing game working all day, as quarterback Ben Sizemore completed 15 of his 22 passes for 171 yards and nearly 12 yards per completion. Marietta, on the other hand, only had 89 yards passing on 11 attempts from quarterback Tom Fulton.
Although Otterbein had success through the air, Marietta’s defense showed improvement. The Pioneers sacked Sizemore three times, and Cody Rice and Charles Dixon each had eight tackles.
In its last game of the 2013 season, Marietta looks to pick up its second win in two seasons against Muskingum University (1-8). The Pioneers travel to New Concord, Ohio, for a 1:30 p.m. matchup against the Muskies at McConagha Stadium.