ADRIAN, Mich. – With a big game from sophomore runningback David Payne (Chebanse, Ill.) and a great defensive effort the Olivet Nazarene University football team claimed its first win of the season in exciting fashion. The Tigers defeated Siena Heights University (Mich.) 20-14 in three overtimes when Payne ran it in from four yards out to end the seven period game.
ONU (1-5) struck early in what was their first game not scheduled against a NAIA top-25 ranked opponent. Siena Heights n(3-3) took the opening kickoff, but the Tiger defense ended the opening drive thanks to a big third down sack by sophomore Myles Toney (Dolton, Ill.). Freshman Lucas Limberg (Rockford, Ill.) returned the ensuing punt 33 yards to the Saints’s 19 yardline.
Facing a 4th and goal on the Siena Heights one, head coach Brian Fish kept the offense on the field. The ball was handed to Payne for his first of three touchdowns on the day, and a 7-0 lead that would last until the fourth quarter.
The Tigers looked to add to the lead late in the first quarter after another big special teams play. Grant Perkins (Amboy, Ind.) blocked a Saints’s punt and freshman Chris Aschemann (Carterville, Ill.) recovered the ball at the Siena Heights’s one yardline. But on the third and goal attempt, Siena Heights' Chris Vann forced a fumble that the Saints recovered, keeping the game at 7-0.
Later in the half, junior kicker Andrew Muzljakovich (Vicksburg, Mich.) missed a 41 yard field goal attempt to add to the Tigers' lead.
The Tiger defense forced the Saints to punt on each full possession in the first half, but in the third quarter, they drove to the ONU eight yardline. There, facing a 2nd and 8, Raphael Dunson fumbled at the one yardline and Olivet piled on top of the ball for a crucial takeaway.
After halftime, the Tigers had the ball at the Siena Heights 14 yardline but failed to convert a 4th and 11.
The Saints finally scored the tying touchdown in the 4th quarter at the 13:03 mark of the fourth quarter when Matt King caught a 57-yard pass, resulting in the 2nd overtime game of the year for the Tigers.
Siena took the ball first and scored a touchdown, but Olivet responded when sophomore quarterback Rico Prestia (Elk Grove Village, Ill.) hit Payne for a 12-yard pass to send it to second overtime. Both teams failed to score in the second overtime, but in the third, Olivet secured victory.
On a Siena Heights 1st and goal from the seven, sophomore Michael Williams (La Grange Park, Ill.) stripped the ball and sophomore Mark Kosrow (Elk Grove Village, Ill.) recovered. On offense, Payne scored the game winner on a run from the four yardline for a Tiger win.
Payne finished the game with 136 all-purpose yards to go along with the three touchdowns, and Prestia threw for 124 yards and a touchdown.
The Tiger defense finished the game with five sacks for 26 yards and had 11 tackles for loss for 34 yards. They also recovered two fumbles and had two blocked kicks. Myles Toney led the way with nine tackles, three sacks (15 yards) and three TFL (15 yards).
For Siena Heights, Caleb Goings led the way running for 137 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
The Tigers look to make it a winning streak next Saturday, October 13 as they travel to Waldorf College (Iowa) for a road game at 1p.m.