July 21, 2024

OTTAWA, Kan. – The Ottawa University football team lost its season opener on Saturday night at AdventHealth Field 29-6 to no. 8 Southwestern College. OU freshman kicker Lewis McMullen put his name in the OU record book. His 48 yard field goal is the fifth longest field goal in OU history.

Neither team was able to put the ball into the end zone in the first quarter. Both offenses turned the ball over on downs in the quarter. At the start of the second, Ottawa drove the ball to the Moundbuilder 14 yard line. On fourth and one, Lewis McMullen came out to attempt a 31 yard field goal. The freshman’s first collegiate kick was good, giving OU a 3-0 lead with 14:15 left in the half.

The OU defense came up big on Southwestern’s first possession of the second quarter. The Moundbuilders had the ball first and goal from the Ottawa three yard line. An incomplete pass and three straight rushes later, OU’s offense got the ball back on downs. James Gladden and Tony Aiono, Jr. came up with the defensive stop on fourth and two.

Unfortunately, the offense was not able to move the ball out of the shadow of the end zone. On the punt attempt, the snap sailed over OU punter Adam Gilbert’s head, giving Southwestern two points to cut the OU lead to 3-2.

The teams exchanged punts and Southwestern took over on its won 19 with 1:26 left in the half. After a false start by Southwestern, the OU defense forced a Moundbuilder turnover. Kevin Wade was able to rip the ball out of SWC’s Layke Hoffman’s arms after a big hit by Santino Gee. Devin Johnston recovered the fumble at the SWC 30 yard line and OU took over with 1:13 left in the first half.

The Braves were not able to move the ball and McMullen came out for a 48 yard field goal attempt. His kick was good and Ottawa extended its lead to 6-2.

Southwestern kneeled down to run out the half and OU took a 6-2 lead into the locker room.

The Moundbuilders received the ball to start the second half and did not waste any time to take its first lead of the game. Luke Barnes completed a 21 yard touchdown pass to Hoffman. The extra point attempt was good by Gabriel Medrano and Southwestern led 9-6.

Ottawa was forced the punt on its first offensive possession of the second half but the OU defense would quickly give the Braves back the ball. Saamad Ali intercepted Barnes at the SWC 40 yard line and Ottawa took over on the Moundbuilder 33 yard line with 9:48 left in the third quarter.

OU’s offense was not able to take advantage of the good field position. An Austin Zavala pass was intercepted by Riley Havird. He returned it 82 yards for the touchdown. The extra point attempt by Medrano was good and SWC had a 16-6 lead over the Braves with 8:49 on the clock in the third quarter.

On the Braves’ next offensive possession, OU drove the ball to the Southwestern 31 yard line. That is where the drive stalled. McMullen came out to attempt a second 48 yard field goal. This time the ball hit the cross bar and did not go through the uprights, giving SWC the ball on its own 31 yard line.

Southwestern did not hold on to the ball long as the OU defense came up with another take away. Kyle Reynolds intercepted the Barnes pass and OU took over on its own four yard line. The Brave offense was not able to put together a drive and was forced to punt.

Southwestern was able to score on its next offensive possession. A four yard touchdown pass from Barnes to Ziyon Kenner. The extra point kick by Medrano was good and with 10:26 left in the game, Ottawa was down 23-6.

The Moundbuilders scored one more touchdown in the game. Ottawa was not able to respond and Southwestern took the 29-6 victory.

Inside the Box Score
Ottawa finished the game with 248 yards of offense, 102 rushing and 146 passing.
Southwestern had 214 yards through the air and 91 yards on the ground for 305 yards of offense.
Jared Daniels led OU with 57 yards rushing on 14 attempts.
Austin Zavala went 17-for-27 through the air for 119 yards.
Jermaine Ziegler led OU with seven receptions for 64 yards.
Corey Jones had five receptions for 36 yards.
Kyle Reynolds led OU with seven tackles, one interception, and one pass break up
Kevin Wade and Santino Gee had five tackles apiece.
Who is Next
Ottawa (0-1, 0-1) is on the road next Saturday, in Kansas City, Mo. against Avila University. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.