Streaks play their ‘Cards’ right

October 6th, 2011

Before Saturday, the Blue Streaks’ senior class had never tasted victory against Otterbein, losing each of their last three contests to the Cardinals.

A fourth straight loss to Otterbein would not be in store.

On Homecoming 2011, the Blue Streaks outlasted the Cardinals in double overtime, 47-41, in yet another offensive showcase (12 touchdowns and 1,039 yards of total offense).

“This is a win that I wanted more than any other this season,” said senior right tackle Devin Martin.

Led by senior quarterback Devin O’Brien, the Blue Streaks’ (2-2, 2-1 OAC) offense torched the Cardinals for 579 yards, including 353 on the ground. O’Brien amassed 403 yards of total offense alone (185 rushing, 218 passing), accounting for four touchdowns. Otterbein (1-3, 0-3 OAC) relied on senior quarterback Austin Schlosser, who tossed five touchdowns on 20-34 through the air for 353 yards.

“We knew it was a huge game for us,” said O’Brien afterwards. “It was a great team effort tonight. We faced a lot of adversity in the second half, but we battled all night; you can’t ask for much more than that from your teammates.”

O’Brien wasted no time in creating his Homecoming highlight reel. On the game’s first drive, the senior capped a 56-yard scamper with a dive at the pylon to put the Blue and Gold ahead.

That TD began a stretch of scores for the Blue Streaks on each of their first four possessions of the game. Freshman kicker Kresimir Ivkovic booted a 20-yarder with no time on the first half clock to send JCU to a 27-13 lead at the break. Both teams adjusted defensively during the intermission, resulting in a scoreless third quarter.

The Cardinals neutralized John Carroll’s offense in the final 15 minutes of regulation, while tacking on three scores of their own. With the score knotted at 34 and only a minute remaining, O’Brien marched his offense quickly down field with long passes to junior Lane Robilotto (six catches, 109 yards) and freshman Joe Quinzio (two grabs, 51 yards). A botched snap and a costly turnover (the game’s first) on the 17-yard line denied the Blue Streaks a sure chance to go for the win in regulation.

In the first overtime period, O’Brien hit junior tight end Ben Madden in stride in the end zone for a score on third and 10 from the 25-yard line. Schlosser would force a second OT with a touchdown pass to senior Trey Fairchild, who finished with eight catches for 132 yards and two scores.

After the Cardinals missed a field goal wide right, the Blue Streaks would turn to their dual-threat quarterback to put the game away from a yard out. O’Brien punched in the winning score two plays after junior fullback Anthony D’Aurizio plowed through the Cardinals’ defense for 24 yards.

Another win, another outstanding game for the John Carroll linemen – offensively, JCU finished the game with a second straight 350-yard rushing effort, while the defense dropped Schlosser five times behind the line. The senior-led offensive line leads the OAC with only two sacks allowed through the first four games.

“In the four years that I have coached here, I think this team has more of a chip on our shoulder,” said offensive line and special teams coach Tom Zagorski. “These guys really want to write their own chapter in the storied football tradition here at JCU, because they’re sick of hearing that the prestige of our program isn’t what it once was. I can’t wait to see how the rest of 2011 unfolds.”

John Carroll’s next game will be played at Wilmington this Saturday, Oct. 8 at 1:30 p.m.