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Views from the press box: No scare from Marietta on Halloween as ONU rolls

Sophomore quarterback Ricardo Johnson ran for three touchdowns and passed for three more on Saturday. (photo/ ONU Sports Information)

When a team records 618 yards of total offense and 28 first downs in one game, the chances of that team winning are high. Last Saturday night, that’s what the Ohio Northern football team did- and the result was, indeed, a victory for the Polar Bears.

ONU dismantled Marietta in a night game on Halloween, winning by a score of 62-21. Sophomore quarterback Ricardo Johnson III ran for three touchdowns and threw for three more, all of which were passes to senior wideout Devon Price. Ohio Northern punted just once on Saturday night.

Marietta would strike first, however. A 10-play, 57-yard drive was capped off by a touchdown rush from tailback Roger Bush, putting the Pioneers up 7-0.

Northern responded with a drive of its own, and senior kicker Andrew DiMario made a 22-yard field goal to narrow the deficit. ONU scored again on its next offensive possession, when Johnson found Price for a 27-yard connection. The Bears would never look back, as they kept the lead the rest of the way.

Marietta’s offensive struggles set ONU up with fortunate field position, and senior running back Justin Magazine scrambled into the end zone for a 15-yard rushing touchdown to end the first quarter.

Northern started the second quarter with a 20-yard touchdown rush by Johnson, putting them up 24-7. While Marietta would score late in the half on a 28-yard touchdown pass, the Bears answered in the following possession, as Johnson ran into the end zone from nine yards out. ONU led 31-14 going into the locker room.

The second half was more of the same for the Polar Bears. Johnson found Price for a 10-yard touchdown to start the half, and Johnson would score on a 20-yard scramble on ONU’s next possession to put the Bears up 45-14 midway through the third quarter.

In their final possession of the night, Johnson found Price yet again for a 28-yard touchdown reception. Coach Dean Paul would pull the starters after three quarters of action, as ONU led 52-14 heading into the fourth quarter.

Marietta’s Nick O’Neal scored on a two-yard touchdown rush early in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 31. Following a 27-yard field goal by DiMario late in the fourth, ONU backup tailback Rodney Holmes (a freshman) scored the first touchdown of his college career, as he plunged into the end zone after a 23-yard run.

Northern went on to defeat Marietta, 62-21. Through a balanced attack, ONU got whatever they wanted on offense on Saturday night. Brett Wonders and John Kramer called the game for WONB Sports Radio; here were their thoughts:

Brett: Last week was an overpowering performance for the Ohio Northern football team over Mariettta. While it was a total team effort, it was definitely a case of having the three best players on the field. Ricardo Johnson, Justin Magazine and Devon Price combined for 77% of the offense for the Polar Bears. They truly dominated the game throughout and helped ONU cruise to a 62-21 victory. Expect a similar performance this week as the Polar Bears travel to Wilmington College who have gone 1-31 in their last 32 games.

John: Last week's game was another testament to Ricardo Johnson and the phenomenal job he has done to date filling in for Will Freed. Another convincing win for ONU, and a great team effort overall. While the competition is certainly not as fierce as the first half of the season, RJIII is making his claim to be QB1 heading into the offseason.

The Polar Bears improved to 6-2 overall, 5-2 in the OAC with the win on Halloween. Marietta dropped to 1-7 overall, 1-6 in the OAC with the loss.

ONU is currently fourth in the OAC, with Baldwin Wallace ahead of them at third. While Northern won’t be able to catch John Carroll or Mount Union at the top of the conference, wins over Wilmington and Otterbein in the season’s final two weeks, accompanied by losses from Baldwin Wallace to Mount Union and Heidelberg, would put the Bears in third place to finish the season.

Ohio Northern will go to Wilmington to take on the Quakers (1-7 overall, 0-7 in the OAC) on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m.