Cardinals Hold Off Storm in Shootout on Fireworks Night, 35-20

Steve Bensinger (Photo by Ryan Baker/Baker Media Productions)
Steve Bensinger (Photo by Ryan Baker/Baker Media Productions)

PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Senior defensive back Steve Bensinger (Poland, Ohio/South Ridge) became the first player in Lake Erie College history to intercept two passes in a single game but it was the three TD passes from Saginaw Valley State University quarterback Jonathon Jennings that were the difference in a 35-20 Cardinals victory at Jack Britt Memorial Stadium Saturday night (Sept. 17).

Bensinger's two fourth-quarter interceptions kept the Storm in the game deep into the period, but Jennings' final TD pass, a 34-yarder to Jeff Janis, put Lake Erie behind by two scores and gave the Cardinals firm command.  Jennings also threw TD passes of 59 and 76-yards as he tossed for 334 yards with Janis accounting for 144 yards and two scores.

The Lake Erie (1-2, 0-2 GLIAC) offensive attack was led by the first 100-yard receiving game of the season (fifth career) by senior Brandon James (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) as he caught eight balls for 101 yards and a touchdown. 

Senior Sean Bedevelsky (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick) got those passes to James, going 18-of-30 on the night with one touchdown throwing and rushing.  Senior wingback Patrick Lunney (Mt. Shasta, Calif./Mt. Shasta) was the leading ball carrier for the Green and White with 49 yards on six carries, also hauling in four passes for 61 yards. 

Redshirt sophomore DaVon Coman (Akron, Ohio/North) led the Storm defense with 11 tackles (nine solo), blowing away his previous career high of three stops. Junior defensive lineman Taylor Leppla (Cambridge, Ohio/Cambridge) added nine stops and senior linebacker Cameron Bryant (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King) made eight.

Both teams went quietly in the first possession but Saginaw Valley State struck on their second possession, capping an eight-play drive with a eight yard touchdown run by Ronnie Lark.  Lake Erie was unable to respond going three-and-out but got a huge play late in the quarter as freshman Andrew Schickler (Doylestown, Ohio/Chippewas) blocked a SVSU punt and recovered the ball on the Saginaw Valley 22-yard line.  Lake Erie was unable to capitalize as a key third down sack knocked the Storm out of field goal range. 

Junior kicker/punter Sam Marcotte (Chardon, Ohio/Chardon) pinned Saginaw Valley back to their own four-yard line but SVSU quickly covered the 96 yards in the early second quarter with a big 76-yard TD strike to Janis and extended the lead to 21-0 next possession with a 13-yard Tim Hogue TD run.  Undeterred, Lake Erie drove 77 yards on seven plays completed by James 11-yard TD strike. 

On their first possession of the second half, Jennings hit Nick Gallina for a 59-yard score and a 28-7 advantage.  Lake Erie began its charge back with a nine play, 69-yard touchdown drive, completed by a two yard keeper by Bedevelsky.  On the ensuing kickoff, the Storm ran a surprise onside kick with Marcotte recovering the ball just over the 10-yard requirement.  It would set up a three-pointer seconds into the fourth quarter as Marcotte connected on a 30-yard field goal. 

Saginaw Valley returned the kickoff inside the LEC 10-yard line but a Bensinger interception in the endzone kept Lake Erie within striking distance.  The Storm went three and out but Bensinger struck again as an interception and 37-yard out gave the Green and White possession in SVSU territory with under 12 minutes to play. 

Lake Erie got into Cardinals redzone but was forced to settle for a Marcotte 35-yard field goal and a 28-20 deficit.  That was as close as the Storm would get as Saginaw Valley moved down the field and scored on the 34-yard strike to Janis for a 35-20 advantage which sealed the game with 5:16 to play.

The Storm had one more possession in the game, but turned the ball over on downs with 4:08 to play.

The Storm is back in action Saturday, September 24 for a 1:00 p.m. start.  Lake Erie College will be celebrating Homecoming/Alumni Weekend on that day.

-LEC-