Panthers Prowl Back West For Regional Final Matchup At Pueblo

Panthers Prowl Back West For Regional Final Matchup At Pueblo

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- For a fourth straight week, Ohio Dominican's football team will hit the road as ODU ventures back to Colorado for a regional final matchup with No. 8 Pueblo.

The Panthers, ranked No. 9 in the country and No. 5 in Super Region Four, enter the game with an 11-1 record, as does the host and No. 2 seed ThunderWolves. ODU has won 16 consecutive road games, while CSU-Pueblo has a 27-4 record at home since 2010.

ODU has won both of its playoff games on the road, defeating No. 17 Colorado Mines 34-23 on Nov. 22, followed by a 46-33 win at No. 4 Ferris State on Saturday. CSU-Pueblo had a first round bye, then defeated No. 23 Angelo State 52-14 on Saturday.

Two of the nation's top scoring defenses face off this week, as ODU allows just 18.1 points per game (15th nationally), while CSU-Pueblo allows 13.1 points per game, which is third. The Panthers have faced two of the nation's three best offenses in the first two postseason games and held their own, forcing six total turnovers and keeping both Mines and Ferris two touchdowns below their season averages. They will be tested again by a balanced ThunderWolves offense that throws for 237 yards and runs for 193 yards per game.

Ohio Dominican enters the game after tallying a season-best 548 yards in the win at Ferris. Mark Miller threw for a career high 462 yards, targeting eight different receivers. Dez Stewart became the second wideout at ODU to surpass 1,000 yards in a season as he caught six passes for 137 yards and a score, and running backs Darryl Johnson, Robert Williams and Brandon Schoen combined for 16 catches for 160 yards. Nick McKnight had his second career multi-TD performance as well.

The defense held Ferris to a season-low 187 yards rushing on 4.3 yards per carry after the Bulldogs entered the game averaging 334.5 rushing yards per game on 6.6 yards per carry.  Cameron Kohl tallied a season-high 14 tackles, recovered a fumble and had an interception to lead the unit. Sydney Omameh and Marquise Tyus had career highs in tackles with 13 each and Paul Wesselhoeft had a career-high 3.5 tackles for loss. Brad McCurdy intercepted his fifth pass of the year and Colten Skinner sealed the win with his first career interception.

QUICK HITS

• Since 2006, ODU has an overall record of 71-27 (.724 win percentage.) The Panthers are 25-2 in their last 27 games (.926 win percentage.)
• ODU is 31-5 against opponents from Ohio since 2007 (.861 win percentage.)
• Over the past 27 games, ODU has outscored opponents 1,091-474, an average of 22.9 points per game. The Panthers have scored 30 or more points 22 times in that stretch and held opponents to 14 points or fewer 14 times.
• Over the past 34 games, ODU's offensive line has allowed just 15 sacks. They have allowed just four sacks this fall, which is the fifth-fewest in the country. 
• The Panthers have won 16 consecutive road games, dating back to a 2012 loss at #4 Grand Valley State.
• Roundtrip, the Panthers will have traveled 6,040 miles in the last month. This is the first time in school history ODU has played four straight road games.
• ODU has a 3-2 record all-time in the playoffs, with this being the team's third trip since 2007.

Contact: Scott Miles
miless@ohiodominican.edu