The Ottawa University football team has been in dogfights all season. Ottawa has come up short in those, except for the season opener.
On Saturday, Ottawa dominated play from start to finish in a 39-3 victory over Saint Mary at AdventHealth Field.
“It is a great feeling,” Ottawa coach Kent Kessinger said. “It is good for our guys. They deserve it.”
The Ottawa defense, which gives up 450 yards and 36 points per game, shut down Saint Mary. The Spires mustered 183 yards and hit a field goal with 3:37 left to avoid the shutout.
“Our defense played hard,” Kessinger said. “Our defense had there way with their team.”
Matthew Blankenship led the defense with 13 tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss. Colby Johnson had 12 tackles, 2.5 sacks, four tackles for loss, recovered a fumble and forced a fumble. Jalen Skar finished with nine tackles and one tackle for loss.
The Ottawa offense took advantage of short fields with scoring drives of 27 and 43 yard, plus had drives of 86, 68, 65 and 63.
Injuries forced Ottawa to play several reserves and others played out of position. Stephon Sanders stepped in at receiver for Colton Davis, who had an ankle injury. He caught three passes for 26 yards.
Dylan Foos played everywhere, including quarterback. He caught two touchdown passes and passed for another.
“Dylan Foos played a little bit of everything for us except offensive tackle,” Kessinger said. "Unfortunately, we don’t have a ton of depth.”
Karim Powell caught eight passes for 102 yards and three touchdowns.
“He had some really good matchups we exploited, particularly down in the ‘Red Zone,’ ” Kessinger said.
Dalyn Johnson had his best day as a Brave, rushing for a career-best 136 yards on 17 carries. Johnson squirted free for a 55-yard run. He also caught three passes for 13 yards.
“He has really good moves," Kessinger said. "Today, he set his foot in the ground and went vertical. That is when you see some of those longer runs. It is good to see that. Our whole team needed it.”
Kessinger said the offense hit Saint Mary with several big plays of 20-plus yards, which came off the passing game. Connor Kaegi was 20-of-33 for 209 yards and four touchdowns.
Ottawa (2-6, 2-6) plays at 1 p.m. Saturday against Friends at AdventHealth Field. It will be Senior Day and the 2009 squad will return to be honored. The team went 11-1 and recorded an NAIA playoff victory.