Cardinals rush for a season-high 309 yards in win
September 28, 2009 —
With more road games than home games this season, the Cardinals knew that they were going to have to perform well on the road if they wanted to be among the best teams in the GLIAC.
The Cardinals defeated Indianapolis Saturday night, 34-13, propelling their record to 4-1 and completing a grueling part of the schedule that had them play four of their first five games away from home. With such a tough early season schedule, it was imperative that the team not get too emotionally high or low after a game.
“Our goal at the end of each week is to be 1-0, so if we can continue to do what we have done so far this season, we will continue to be successful,” junior quarterback Charles Dowdell said.
The 19th ranked Cardinals traveled to Indianapolis hoping to gain momentum heading into this weekend’s homecoming game against Northern Michigan. Like they have been able to do most of the season, the Cardinals used a strong rushing attack to do just that.
Unlike their last two games, the Cardinals were the first ones on the scoreboard against Indianapolis, which allowed them to manage the game.
Sophomore kicker Austin Borchard opened the scoring for the Cardinals with a 27-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead. Later in the first quarter, sophomore wide receiver Justin Groeneveld connected with senior tight end Galen Stone on a trick play for a 20-yard touchdown pass. The touchdown gave the Cardinals a 10-0 lead.
Indianapolis tried to answer back in the second quarter when they scored on a long touchdown pass. They missed the extra point, making the score 10-6.
The Cardinals came back on the next possession and scored what would turn out to be the game-winning touchdown when Dowdell completed a 42-yard scoring drive with a 5-yard touchdown run, giving the Cardinals a 17-6 lead.
Indianapolis scored a touchdown to cap off the scoring in the first half, making the score 17-13, although that was all the scoring they would manage the rest of the game.
Borchard added his second field goal of the game, this time from 30 yards out.
The Cardinals defense also got in on the scoring in this one when senior linebacker John Jacobs intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown, giving the Cardinals a 27-13 lead.
Sophomore wide receiver Nick Gallina capped off the scoring for the Cardinals with a 26-yard touchdown run.
Leading the Cardinals offensively was junior running back Xavier Walker, who rushed for 91 yards on 18 carries. Dowdell also had success running the ball against Indianapolis, finishing the game with 82 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. He also finished 14-25 for 102 yards passing.
Jacobs led the Cardinals defense with nine tackles. Senior linebacker Mike LeVand also had nine tackles to go along with a sack.
Offensively, the team seems to be coming together. The last two weeks it has combined to score 66 points. The same can be said about the defense, as the 13 points allowed matches their best output of the season.
The Cardinals rushed the ball for a season high of 309 yards. Their defense held Indianapolis to only 50 yards. This week, the Cardinals welcome Northern Michigan, which leads the GLIAC in offense, averaging 41 points a game. Their top scoring game was a 62-0 thrashing of GLIAC foe Tiffin. They also lead the GLIAC in rushing, averaging 298 yards rushing a game.
The Cardinals rushing defense ranks third in the GLIAC, allowing only 99 yards per game, meaning something has to give in the matchup.
On the defensive side of the ball, Northern also is strong, ranking No. 1 in the GLIAC in total yards allowed per game at 263. Of it four games played, Northern has shut out two opponents. They have only allowed 39 points all season.
Northern comes into the game with a 3-1 overall record, all against GLIAC opponents. The lone loss came against Northwood in the first game of the season, 23-21. The Cardinals enter the game 4-1 overall, 3-1 in the GLIAC.
After the road-heavy early portion of the schedule, the Cardinals now get to enjoy four of their final six games at home at Harvey Randall Wickes Memorial Stadium, including their final two games.
With another win in the books, senior offensive lineman Jerry Wichman believes the team is coming together at the right time.
“There is definitely a greater comfort level this season since everyone is more familiar with the systems that we are running,” Wichman said. “I think the results speak for themselves.”