Football Dealt First Loss of Season to Notre Dame

South Euclid, Ohio played host to one of the biggest upsets in Division II football, where Shepherd University fell to Notre Dame College 35-34.

Falcon quarterback Ray Russ picked the Rams’ defense apart, throwing for 459 yards and five touchdowns. Four of Russ’s touchdowns came on passes over 30 yards, as well as two touchdowns going for over 60 yards.

Shepherd struck first on an Allen Cross touchdown in the first quarter, but would fall behind 20-7 at halftime. In the third quarter, the Rams were running wild, rushing for 115 yards and three touchdowns in the quarter alone. Their third touchdown came on a fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line, as Cross was able to punch it in. The score gave the Rams the lead 27-23.

On the next play following the kickoff, Ray Russ connected with Mitchel Shegos for a 75-yard touchdown to give Notre Dame the lead back, however Kyle Kaplan missed the extra point. Shegos ended the game with 11 receptions, 155 yards and two touchdowns.

On the following drive, the Rams drove 75 yards and would score again. Quarterback Jeff Ziemba ran 12 yards for the touchdown, his second of the game. That gave the Rams the lead 34-29.

Ray Russ answered back once again, finding Emmanuel Smith for a 65-yard touchdown on the third play of the drive. That was Smith’s only catch of the game. The Falcons would go for a two-point conversion but would not convert.

Shepherd tried to pull out the victory, but would come up short. After the touchdown, the Rams would drive down the field and take it to the Notre Dame 14-yard line before Jeff Ziemba would fumble the ball away to the Falcons. After a defensive stop, the Rams would get the ball back and would advance it to the Notre Dame 17-yard line before kicker Ryan Earls missed a 34-yard field goal attempt. Notre Dame would run then run the clock out to win the game.

The Rams ended the day with 300 total rushing yards. Junior Allen Cross led the running game with 27 carries, 133 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore Jabre Lolley had 12 carries for 85 yards.

Sophomore quarterback Jeff Ziemba threw for 232 yards, completing 18 passes on 29 attempts. Ziemba also did a lot of work on the ground, rushing for 79 yards and two touchdowns on nine attempts.

Shepherd will not be in action next week, as they have their bye week. They will return to action and look to rebound against Glenville State on Saturday, Nov. 1.

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