COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Seeking its first postseason bid since 2014, Ohio Dominican's football team enters Saturday's regular season finale against Lake Erie with plenty on the line.
ODU remained at No. 9 in this week's Super Region One rankings, with the top seven teams qualifying for the playoffs. Several games between ranked opponents are on the schedule, with No. 2 LIU Post playing No. 4 New Haven and No. 3 West Chester playing No. 7 Slippery Rock, while No. 5 Hillsdale takes on Indy, the No. 4 team in Super Region Three. Additionally, No. 6 Kutztown plays 6-4 Edinboro, while No. 8 Tiffin plays 7-3 Findlay.
The Panthers enter this matchup with Lake Erie on the heels of a 65-7 victory against Kentucky Wesleyan, the fourth largest margin of victory in program history. It was also the fifth time in program history that ODU has scored 65 or more points in a game and the second time this season. ODU had never scored more than 63 points twice in the same season.
ODU had six scoring drives that took less than two minutes and also had six scoring drives of four plays or less. On the season, ODU has 33 scoring drives of less than two minutes, and has 27 scoring drives that took four plays or less.
Evan Ernst, the national leader in completion percentage and passing efficiency, went 19-of-23 for 305 yards and five touchdowns in the first half. His touchdown tosses spanned 44, 42, 39, 38 and 26 yards.
Cory Contini caught three of those TDs and broke the school record for total touchdowns as he now has 38. In his career, Contini has eight games with multiple receiving touchdowns. He's also just 16 yards away from the school record in career receiving yardage as he has totaled 3,182 entering this Saturday.
Defensively, the Panthers held Kentucky Wesleyan to just 63 yards through the first three quarters and minus-26 yards rushing on 36 attempts. KWC averaged just 2.3 yards per play in the game, and it was the third time in the past four games the defense did not surrender a touchdown in the first half.
The defensive line helped control the action, as Aarin Smoot-Baker had two sacks and 3.0 tackles for loss and Jaylin Garner had eight tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a safety and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Nick Isaacs also had a sack and the forced fumble that led to Garner's recovery.
As a team, ODU's 13 tackles for loss are tied for the fourth-most in program history and were the most in a game since recording 13 against Lake Erie in 2015.