Capital to Display Nationally-Ranked Ground Game at No. 7 John Carroll

Capital to Display Nationally-Ranked Ground Game at No. 7 John Carroll

Craig Candeto interview - video | audio
Will Weir interview - video | audio
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Capital University football team will travel to Northeast Ohio to turn its fortunes around against No. 7 John Carroll University, this Saturday. The Crusaders will use its nationally-ranked run game to batter down the Blue Streaks at Don Schula Stadium, a place that houses one of the best defenses in the country. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.
 

A REVIEW OF THE WEEK THAT WAS

Last week the Crusaders came close to snapping its current losing streak with a late offensive rally that fell just short against Ohio Northern University, 38-31.

Head coach Craig Candeto
 
Will Weir, So., OL

For the second straight week, freshman quarterback Nick Iske (Hilliard, Ohio/Davidson) found the end zone three times. He led the Crusaders down the field on its final offensive drive and then pounded the rock into the end zone to make it a one-score game. Unfortunately, the ensuing onside kick was unsuccessful and stopped the comeback short.

Iske and Brent Walton (Pickerington, Ohio/Central) both ran for more than 100 yards and the Crusaders totaled more than 350 yards on the ground, combined. Walton added to his numbers, which are catching eyes around the country, with a 144-yard, one-touchdown day on 22 carries. Iske burdened most of the load with a team-high 24 carries.

The Ohio Northern offense made splashes on multiple big yardage plays, scoring touchdowns on three different passes that went for 60 yards or more. Patrick Angle threw for just short of 400 yards, and four touchdowns and added 30 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

"I think we did a much better job taking care of the football. We weren't as consistent as I'd like…but we have some things to build on," said head coach Craig Candeto.

The loss was Capital's fourth straight, though showed as a sign of optimism that the offense is ready to go blow-for-blow with its competition to end that run.  

 

LOOKING AHEAD TO JOHN CARROLL

Simply put, the Blue Streaks are, "Fast. Physical. Execute well," said Candeto.  "They have athletes all over the field. It will definitely be a challenge for us…but we have to regroup and go after them."

But hope should not be dashed before they hit the field. John Carroll is also a team that was taken to the brink just a couple of weeks ago by a familiar foe, Ohio Northern.

"You never know what can happen," said Candeto. "A team (ONU) that we just lost to by a touchdown played this team (JCU) to a seven-point loss."

In that game played three weeks ago, the Polar Bears held a three-point lead over the Blue Streaks going into the fourth quarter. Only in the final five minutes did John Carroll find the end zone for the game-winning score, a four-yard touchdown pass to receiver Aramis Greenwood, to go ahead one final time for the win.

Ohio Northern was limited to just 88 yards on the ground and used a staunch defense to force punts in JCU's first two drives and fumbles in two of three third-quarter drives.

Capital's defense will be called upon to reverse trends that have developed over the course of the season which include allowing more than 400 total yards in each of its six games and twice allowing more than 500 total yards to its opponent. The defense has helped the Crusaders possess a plus-one turnover margin, which it will need to remain on the positive side of to take the ball out of the Blue Streak's hands and into their offense, which currently ranks No. 10 in the country in team rushing.

 

SHEDDING LIGHT ON THE BLUE STREAKS

Since head coach Tom Arth took over the Blue Streaks program four seasons ago he has slowly helped build it into a nationally-recognized team, one that is currently ranked No. 7 in the country by both the NCAA and D3Football.com in its recent polls.

The Blue Streaks best asset this season is its defense, which has allowed just three offensive touchdowns all season. Currently, JCU's defensive unit is ranked No. 1 in fewest total yards allowed (177.0 ypg), No. 2 in passing yards allowed (102.3 ypg) and scoring defense (5.5 ppg), and possesses the best third down defense efficiency in the country, allowing its opponents to convert just 10.5 percent of third down plays for first downs.

On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Mark Meyers had led the Blue Streaks to wins by more than 30 points in all but one game this season.  The senior is 10th in NCAA Division III in completion percentage, converting on 68.9 percent of his passing attempts. Going into Saturday, he has accumulated 1,510 yards and 18 touchdown passes to just one interception.

He is aided by running back Tommy Michals, who averages 106 yards per game on the ground and leads the team with nine rushing touchdowns. Hauling in the passes for Myers is an array of options, led by Aramis Greenwood. Greenwood has made 29 catches for 563 yards and seven touchdowns, all team-leading statistics. Myers has hit five different receivers for at least three touchdowns this season.

 

ADDITIONAL CRUSADER CAPSULES

  • As mentioned before, Capital is currently ranked 10th in NCAA Division III in team rushing yards, averaging 282.2 yards per game. The Crusaders have been inside the top-25 in that category week after week, and once was No. 1 in the country.
  • Sophomore B-back Brent Walton leads that charge by ranking 22nd in the country in rushing yards per game (118.2), which is also tops in the OAC, and 23rd in total rushing yards (709). He is also third in the conference with seven rushing touchdowns.
  • Nick Iske has now found the end zone with his legs three times in each of his last two games. He maintained a streak for Capital having scored four consecutive touchdowns for the offense. That streak started at Otterbein two weeks ago and filtered into its game versus Ohio Northern last week.
  • Cory Heeter is third in the conference in kickoff return yards per game with 21.5 yards per return.
  • Last year, John Carroll defeated Capital by a score 54-0 on Oct. 5, 2013. They currently lead the all-time series over Capital, 9-18-1, dating back to 1966.

*Programing note: Time Warner Cable customers in Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, and Northern Kentucky can watch the game on tape delay on channels 311/1311 (HD) at the following times: Saturday (10/25) 10 p.m., Monday (10/27) 12 a.m., Tuesday (10/28) 12 p.m.