Three games in three weeks against three nationally-ranked, college football teams.
Those were the cards dealt to Marietta College head football coach Andy Waddle and his Pioneers just three games into his rookie season.
Forgive Waddle and his Pios if they are glad to be through that brutal portion of their schedule and looking ahead to some winnable games in the second half of the season.
After dropping lopsided decisions to top-ranked Mount Union (84-14) and No. 10-ranked Heidelberg (68-17) the past two weeks, the navy blue and white were once again defeated soundly 62-7 by the John Carroll University Blue Streaks to spoil homecoming Saturday in an Ohio Athletic Conference matchup at Don Drumm Stadium.
"That is the third tremendous team we have played in a row," said Waddle. "John Carroll is the No. 1-rated defense in the country and they played like it today."
That top-ranked defense certainly lived up to its ranking as it limited the Pios to minus-15 total yards in the first half.
While the Blue Streaks may be best known for their defense, their offense is no slouch either as they came into the game averaging over 37 points per game.
Saturday, they surpassed that mark by the intermission as they rolled up 302 total yard of offense in the first 30 minutes to take a 38-0 lead.
Running back DaQuan Grobsmith rushed for 152 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the opening half, while quarterback Mark Myers torched the Pioneer secondary for three first-half scores.
The Marietta College offense could never seem to get untracked, especially in the opening half.
"Turnovers and penalties hurt us throughout the game," said Waddle, whose squad turned the ball over four times and were penalized six times for 65 yards. "That gave them great field position and you just can't help a great team like that."
The Blue Streak increased their lead to 45-0 on Grobsmith's third touchdown of the game early in the third quarter and Choe Samba intercepted a Tom Fulton pass and returned it 77-yards for a pick-six to blow things wide open. The Pioneers got on the board late in the fourth quarter when backup quarterback Axten Franzoy scored on a one-yard run.
Franzoy's score was set up by the excellent running of freshman tailback Roger Bush, who carried the rock 16 times in the game for a team high 93 yards.
"Roger is a big strong kid who can get down hill," said Waddle of the Palm Bay Florida native. "He showed some athleticism today, and we are excited about him and a number of our other freshmen as well."
The John Carroll win was their 25th against the Pioneers in 26 meetings with only a 1995 tie keeping the Blue Streak from owning a perfect record against Marietta College.
Next up for the Pioneers is a trip to Ada to take on the Ohio Northern Polar Bears in another OAC contest.
"While Ohio Northern is not a nationally ranked team, they are a very good physical football team,"said Waddle. "They have won more games in our conference over the past 15 years than anyone other than Mount Union. It will be another big task and we will have to show up ready to play."
The setback was the 16th in a row for Marietta College dating back to 2011, while John Carroll remains undefeated on the season at 5-0 and 4-0 in the conference to claim a share of the top spot with Mount Union and Heidelberg.