The Muskingum University football team, under the direction of head coach Erik Ieuter, will look to build upon its momentum from last season to challenge for an upper-tier finish in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
Last year, Iueter and his coaching staff injected a new energy and commitment into the Muskingum program that propelled the Muskies to four-win campaign for just the third time since 2003. The season was highlighted with wins against Waynesburg, Wilmington, Otterbein, and Heidelberg. The victory against Otterbein on Homecoming was the first in 14 years, while the triumph against Heidelberg was the first in eight years.
This year, a strong core of 25 returning lettermen which features nine returning starters on defense and several on offense will lead Muskingum.
Leading the defensive charge will be senior First-Team All-OAC defensive lineman Tim Ousley, Second Team All-OAC defensive back Cortez McGinnis, junior defensive back Brian Brown, senior linebacker Trocon Keneah, senior linebacker Caleb Gaiters, senior defensive lineman Yannis Dailey, junior defensive lineman Drew Lowery, junior defensive back Nehemiah Bowie, and junior defensive lineman Chris Shakespeare.
Last season, Ousley led the league in tackles for loss with 17 for 74 yards and paced the OAC with three forced fumbles. He ended the campaign with a career-best 67 tackles and 7.5 sacks for 47 yards. Through his first three years, Ousley has racked up 184 stops, 47 tackles for loss for 184 yards and 18 sacks for 117 yards. He will enter his senior year ranked fourth all-time at Muskingum in sacks and is just three sacks shy of breaking the Muskingum career record.
McGinnis ended the year with 52 tackles, five pass breakups, and one interception. He had a career-high nine stops in Muskingum's season-opening win at Waynesburg.
Brown logged 58 stops and had two interceptions, while Keneah made 19 hits. Gaiters had 29 tackles and one interception, and Dailey had 12 stops and recovered one fumble. Lowery recorded 37 stops and had three sacks, while Bowie made 57 tackles and registered one interception. Shakespeare recorded 15 hits and had 1.5 sacks.
Junior quarterback Brody Hahn will lead the Muskie offense. Through his first two years, Hahn has thrown for 3,479 yards and 22 touchdowns and added 921 rushing yards and 10 scores.
Junior TJ Boyd, an Honorable Mention All-OAC honoree, and junior Iggy Horvath will help anchor the offensive line for the Muskies which averaged 340.9 yards and 21 points per game last year.
Muskingum's special teams will benefit from the return of junior punter Jarrett Patton and sophomore kicker Gavin Costello.
With the return of a talented veteran-laden squad, combined with a strong recruiting class, Coach Ieuter will have plenty of options to field a strong team.
Muskingum opens the season in McConagha Stadium on Saturday, September 7, vs. Waynesburg. The Muskies begin Ohio Athletic Conference play at home vs. Ohio Northern on Saturday, September 15. Muskingum's first road game is slated for Saturday, September 15, at Marietta for the annual Shriner Game.