TIFFIN, OHIO—Otterbein retained possession of the Rhine River Cup for another year, edging Heidelberg, 35-34, Saturday afternoon in Tiffin.
The Cardinals scored the game's last two touchdowns to pull out the victory.
With the win, Otterbein improved to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC). Heidelberg dropped to 1-2 overall and 0-2 in the OAC.
Junior cornerback Matt Ross intercepted an Andrew Miller pass on the Heidelberg 44-yard line with 8:21 to play to set up Otterbein's game-winning drive that ended in a 2-yard touchdown run by senior running back Colton Coy, giving the Cardinals the lead for good, 35-34, with 4:53 to play in the game. There were five lead changes in the contest.
Heidelberg led 21-16 at the half and extended its lead to 27-16 with a 16-yard pass from senior quarterback Miller to sophomore wide receiver Mario Escalante with 9:52 to play in the third quarter.
The Cardinals pulled to within five, 27-22, with a 19-yard touchdown throw from junior quarterback Austin Schlosser to junior wide receiver Trey Fairchild, but the Berg came right back, scoring on its next possession—a 3-yard touchdown pass from Miller to senior wide receiver Mike Preston to boost its lead to 34-22 with 4:19 to play in the game.
Otterbein junior safety Dominic Jones took the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown to make it 34-29 with 4:06 remaining in the third quarter.
Schlosser completed 16 of 27 pass attempts for 228 yards and two touchdowns, but threw three interceptions in the game. Schlosser also rushed for 36 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown.
Senior wide receiver Steve Kuzyk caught nine balls for 105 yards. Fairchild finished with three catches, two of them touchdowns, for 73 yards.
Coy led all rushers with 119 yards on 29 carries.
Miller threw for 423 yards and four touchdowns to lead Heidelberg. He completed 29 of 46 pass attempts. Preston caught 15 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cardinals defense forced four fumbles, recovering three in the win. Senior cornerback Anthony Korpieski recovered a Heidelberg fumble on the Otterbein 15-yard line and returned it 63 yards with 3:26 remaining to help preserve the victory. Jones led the Otterbein defense with 10 tackles and a fumble recovery. Senior outside linebacker Wil Longsdorf made eight stops.
The Cardinals now hold a 12-5-1 lead in the Rhine River series, having won 11 of the last 12 meetings, including the last seven. Otterbein and Heidelberg have been battling for the Rhine River Cup ever since the two teams played the first-ever collegiate football game in Frankfurt, Germany in 1992, which ended in a 7-7 tie.
Otterbein returns home next Saturday, hosting John Carroll.
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. It will be Hall of Fame Day.