There is a reason turnovers are regarded as one of the biggest determining factors in which team wins a football game. That reason reared its ugly head for the Hillsdale College football team Saturday afternoon.
Ohio Dominican University turned two Charger turnovers into two touchdowns, which was the difference in the Panthers' 41-27 win over Hillsdale in Columbus, Ohio in a Great Midwest Athletic Conference matchup.
The loss drops Hillsdale to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the G-MAC, while ODU won its third straight, improving to 3-3 on the season.
ODU recovered a fumble in the first half and intercepted a pass in the second half, turning both turnovers into touchdowns just as the Chargers were putting together good drives that were close to changing momentum in the game. Hillsdale didn't force a turnover by an Ohio Dominican team that played extremely well offensively throughout the contest. ODU quarterback Grant Russell threw for 381 yards and 2 touchdowns and ran for another, completing 25 of his 33 passes in the game.
The Panthers jumped out to leads of 10-0 and 13-3 early in the game, when the Chargers found their offensive footing, going to their most consistent playmaker.
Junior wide receiver Trey Brock tied his career-high with 13 receptions in the ballgame, to go along with 175 receiving yards. Brock made a number of difficult catches, often with the defense in good position to break the play up. But his strength and rout running were once again superior.
Although Brock didn't score a touchdown, sophomore teammate David Graham did, while having a career game of his own.
Graham, who had rushing yard games of 97 and 98 yards earlier this season, broke through the 100-yard barrier, turning in an impressive performance in the game. He carried the ball 20 times for 109 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry and had a long run of 26 yards, as he consistently squirted through holes in the Panther defense. His touchdowns came from 5, 10 and 10 yards out, as he showed an ability to finish off long scoring drives for the Chargers.
Graham also caught 3 passes for 58 yards, giving him 167 total yards in the game.
One area the Panthers excelled in was third and fourth down conversions. Combining those stats, ODU was 9-for-15 in the game, including 2-for-2 on fourth downs. ODU converted a 3rd-and-10 and a 4th-and-2 on its final offensive drive of the game, which resulted in a touchdown with just 49 seconds left. On the drive that resulted in the go-ahead score, the Panthers converted a 27-yard pass on a 3rd-and-9 play. Two plays later, the Panthers scored to break a 27-all tie, with 10"41 left in the fourth quarter.
Hillsdale College quarterback Chance Stewart completed 22 of 36 passes for 296 yards, was sacked twice and threw an interception. Ohio Dominican's defense had two sacks, four tackles-for-loss, a fumble recovery and two pass break-ups.