Saturday, October 25, 2014

OU Braves tied with Friends for KCAC lead

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 10/7/2013

MCPHERSON — The Ottawa University football team has played with its back against the wall the past few years with two early-season losses.

This season, Ottawa is playing with that same mentality and it is working out well.

MCPHERSON — The Ottawa University football team has played with its back against the wall the past few years with two early-season losses.

This season, Ottawa is playing with that same mentality and it is working out well.

Ottawa is tied with Friends with 3-0 conference marks after Saturday’s 34-7 victory over McPherson in McPherson.

“We have to take care of ourselves,” Ottawa coach Kent Kessinger said. “We take one game at a time.”

Ottawa did not look past McPherson, which came in averaging nearly 35 points a game. The defense held the Bulldogs to seven points and 279 total yards. McPherson finished with 43 yards rushing on 28 attempts after averaging 146 yards through the first four games

“We did a pretty solid job against the running game,” Ottawa defensive coordinator Josh Homolka said. “Our guys are executing the things that are called. We have been playing the same thing over and over and over.”

Kessinger said Ottawa ganged up on Havelock Pomele

“He is a heck of a runner,” Kessinger said.

McPherson used the screen game effectively at times.

“The big thing was the screen was not going to beat you,” Homolka said.

Kessinger said, “We have to get better at is the outside quick passes and screens. We have to stay on our landmarks and tackle a little better.”

Ottawa picked up 472 yards of offense. The Braves moved ball effectively against the wind, scoring all 34 points in the second and third quarters when facing the wind.

He said Braves worked against the wind Thursday and Friday in Ottawa and got used to it. Quarterback Michael Behr threw nice passes into the wind.

“He had to step into it,” Kessinger said. “It was good development in him. He was reading the stuff we were doing ... the run and the pass. He did a really good job of managing the game.”

Ottawa was effective in moving the ball on the ground and through the air. Behr was 14 of 21 passing for 224 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 76 yards and scored a touchdown.’

One of the big plays of the game came early in the third quarter when Ottawa converted on fourth down and goal from the 1. Behr sneaked in to give Ottawa a commanding 27-0 lead.

Kessinger said Behr made the right read and sneaked it in.

The coach said Ottawa needs to convert better on third down. Ottawa was 4 of 16 on third down.

“We have to be able to get out of third down situations,” he said. “That is where we have fallen off this year. We are not as high percentage as we should be with this style of offense in third down conversions. When we do a much better job on first down we don’t have to be in those situations.”

Ottawa rushed for 240 yards led by Luke Lundy’s 143 yards.

Kessinger liked how Ottawa started the second half.

Ottawa (4-1, 3-0) plays 6 p.m. Saturday at home against Saint Mary.

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