Storm Bounce Back to Knock off Walsh in Overtime, 27-20

Anthony Elias (Photo by Ryan Baker/Baker Media Productions, Inc.)

CANTON, OHIO --  Redshirt sophomore running back Anthony Elias (Cortland, Ohio/Lakeview) scored on a two-yard run in the opening possession of overtime and Anthony Schrock couldn't corral a fourth-down pass from Jack Dawson on the next possession as the Lake Erie College football team won for the third time in four games, defeating host Walsh University 27-20 in overtime at Fawcett Stadium in Canton.

The touchdown run by Elias was his second of the night and part of his 106-yard effort starting in place of injured freshman backs Anthony Bilal (Painesville, Ohio/Riverside) and Brandon Phenix (Toledo, Ohio/Maumee).  He became the third Lake Erie (3-6, 3-5) running back this season to go over the century mark.

As great as the ending was, the night couldn't have gotten off to a worse start for the Storm. Toba Olarewaju took a pitch from Jack Dawson on the game's first snap and rumbled past the Lake Erie defense for a 66-yard touchdown giving the Cavaliers (3-6, 2-6 GLIAC) a 7-0 lead less than 20 seconds into the game.

But Lake Erie responded with scores on its next two possessions to take the lead.  Senior Sam Marcotte (Chardon, Ohio/Chardon) connected on a school-record 50-yard field goal to put the Storm on the scoreboard and after forcing a Walsh punt, the Storm got into the end zone for the first time on a 14-yard run by Elias. 

The Walsh defense made the next big play as Chad Phillips sacked Brendan Gallagher (Aurora, Ohio/Aurora) and forced the ball loose at the Lake Erie 13-yard line.  Andrew Roy picked up the ball and ran it in for the score and a 14-10 Cavalier lead.

Again answering the bell the Storm marched methodically down the field, covering 76 yards in 11 plays.  Elias had a big 19-yard run and a personal foul penalty on Walsh set up a three-yard touchdown pass from Gallagher to redshirt sophomore Tommy Jackson (Hubbard, Ohio/Hubbard) and put LEC up 17-14 heading into halftime.

A sluggish third quarter featured four punts and a missed Walsh field goal before a 77-yard run by Steve Smith set up Dawson's five-yard run late in the third and allowed the Cavaliers to retake the lead.  Senior Taylor Leppla (Cambridge, Ohio/Cambridge) blocked the extra point attempt, keeping the Storm within a field goal at 20-17.

That play proved valuable early midway through the fourth.  The Storm marched 93 yards in 10 plays- getting 60-yards on a big pass from Gallagher to redshirt sophomore Billy Croom (Columbus, Ohio/Beechcroft)-  before settling for another Marcotte field goal.  His kick from 20 yards was true and the game was tied 20-20 with 7:47 left.

The Cavaliers took the next six minutes and drove inside the Lake Erie 10, but Tim Carter's 24-yard field goal with 1:44 left was ride right. The Storm went three-and-out on their next possession, but a record 54-yard punt by Marcotte pinned the Cavaliers deep in their own end to set up overtime.

On second down of the first possession of the extra period, Gallagher hit Jackson for 20-yards down to the three-yard-line.  Two plays later, Elias plowed into the end zone off the right side to put the Storm in front.

Smith was stuffed on the Cavalier's first play of their possession and the second play lost a yard before Dawson threw two straight incompletions to end the ballgame.  

Lake Erie improved to 3-0 all-time in overtime games.  It was the Storm's first OT contest since the 2009 season.

Gallagher had a career-night passing, completing 22-of-33 passes for  235 yards and the one touchdown without an interception. Jackson caught a career-high nine passes for  73 yards and his first touchdown of the season.  Redshirt freshman Anthony Kukwa (Perry, Ohio/Perry/Ball State) caught five passes for 39 yards.

Thanks to three big plays, Walsh actually outgained the Storm 378-331 overall, including a 257-96 edge on the ground.  However, taking out the big runs by Olarewaju and Smith, the Storm defense limited the Walsh running game to just 2.5 yards per carry.  Smith finished with a game-high 141 yards on 17 carries while Olarewaju ran 16 times for 127 yards, despite playing with a cast covering his broken right hand.

Dawson was 10-of-19 passing for 121 yards.  He was sacked four times.

Redshirt sophomore Marcus Rogers (Kent, Ohio/Roosevelt) had one of those sacks among his team-leading 11 total tackles.  Sophomore Tanner Wells (Carrollton, Texas/Parish Episcopal) and freshman Nick Kirschner (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) had 10 stops each.  Leppla finished with eight tackles, including a sack.

Marcotte's 50-yard boot was three yards better than his previous record of 47, which he has done twice, and his 54-yard punt was a yard beyond the previous mark.

Sir Taylor led the Walsh defense with a game-high 15 tackles. Phillis had three sacks for the Cavaliers who entered the game ranked fourth in total defense in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC).

The Storm play their final home game of the season next Saturday, Nov. 3, hosting Ohio Dominican University for Senior Recognition Day.  Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Jack Britt Memorial Stadium, with the senior day program prior to the start of the contest.

-LEC-