Geneva College (3-3, 1-2)
Vs. Ohio Dominican (4-3, 1-2)
Saturday, October 28, 2006 - 12:00 noon, Columbus, OH
RADIO COVERAGE - WMBA-1460 AM (ONLY)
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It is play-off time once again for Geneva’s football team. A year ago, the Golden Tornadoes ran the table with five consecutive victories to end the regular season, which catapulted them into their first trip to the NAIA National Championship Series game in seven years. In 2006, the Golden Tornadoes opened the season by dropping three of their first five games, including the first two games within the MSFA Mideast League. Last week, the Golden Tornadoes got back on track with an impressive 36-6 victory over Taylor University. The scenario looks a lot like 2005 in that Geneva must win its last three regular season games to have a chance at qualifying for the NAIA post-season.
Standing in Geneva’s way on Saturday is 21st ranked Ohio Dominican University. The Panthers, which are also 1-2 in the MSFA Mideast League, are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Walsh University. ODU watched Walsh score on a 42-yard pass play on the game’s final play a week ago to drop a 37-31 decision. Despite the loss, ODU and head coach Dale Carlson have turned things around in Columbus, OH in a very short time. In just the third season of football, Ohio Dominican has quickly made an impact on the NAIA national scene. Carlson, who is quite familiar with Geneva and the MSFA, coached at Tri-State University before heading to Columbus three years ago. Geneva and Tri-State battled several times on the national stage. In fact, Geno DeMarco still calls Geneva’s victory over Tri-State University back in 1996 as one of the programs biggest victories in a long time.
This season, Ohio Dominican may have one of the most prolific passing attacks in the NAIA. Willing to throw the ball anywhere on the field, ODU features quarterback Chris Reisert’s 1922 yards and 18 touchdown passes in just seven games. Reisert is completing over 72% of his passes and has thrown touchdown passes to six different receivers. Topping the list at wide out is Jared Stace, who has 44 receptions for 553 yards and an impressive nine touchdowns. On the ground, Nathan Clark and Marcus Roberts have combined for seven touchdowns, while averaging close to five yards a carry. ODU’s defense has surrendered 21 points per game, but has gotten to opposing quarterbacks 12 times this season. Led by Zach Jacobs’ 50 tackles, ODU’s defense is certainly not going to play second fiddle to its offense.
As for Geneva, senior quarterback Justin Sciarro has thrown for five touchdowns in the pass two weeks and is completing passes at a 65% ratio in those games. For the season, Sciarro has thrown for 1270 yards and six touchdowns, along with eight interceptions. Geneva’s running game has still gotten back to last year’s form, however, freshman Javon Moody did score a pair of touchdowns last week and has carried the mail for four touchdowns in 2006. Geneva’s defense continued to shine last week in allowing just its seventh offensive touchdown of the season. Senior linebacker Brian Hall continues to headline a solid defensive crew. Hall is second in the MSFA with 67 tackles, including 10.5 tackles for loss. Gabe Gordon, who sat out last week’s game because of a concussion, is due back in Geneva’s line-up this Saturday.
Geneva and Ohio Dominican have met only twice, both meetings coming in the past two years. Geneva has won both meetings, including a 29-28 thriller at Reeves Stadium last year. A five-yard Sciarro to Bam Harmon touchdown late in that game proved to be the difference. Last time these teams met in Columbus, OH, Geneva came away with a 38-16 victory.
After Saturday’s contest, Geneva will travel to Urbana next week and will then close out the regular season at home against 2nd ranked and 8-time defending conference champion St. Francis, IN on November 11th.
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