Yeomen win in Conference Finale
Oberlin, Ohio – On a cold day at Savage Stadium the Oberlin College football team was able to outlast the visiting Ohio Wesleyan University Battling Bishops 16-12.
The Yeomen ground game continued to impress with their fifth straight 100-yard plus performance. Junior Drew Mixter spearheaded the attack with 94 yards on 18 carries, while rookie Moses Richardson added 53 yards on a career-high 18 carries.
After coming in on Oberlin's third series, senior Joey Zebelian threw for 153 yards on 11-of-20 passing to go along with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
For the second straight game it was the Yeomen defense that really came up big to preserve the win. Dane Stritt led the way with eight tackles – including one for a loss – and a forced fumble.
The win gives the Yeomen their first set of back-to-back victories since 2007 when they finished 5-5. Oberlin, which will end the year with a 3-3 mark in conference play, will have a chance to match that 5-5 record in the season finale against Allegheny next week.
The game's first score came on the very first-play of the second quarter when Zebelian hooked up with Robin Witjes on 3rd-and-goal from nine on a nicely executed wheel-route. The score capped off an 8-play, 80-yard drive that took 3:45 off the clock. Oberlin could have had points on their previous drive, but a deep ball from Josh Mandel to Adam Niec was dropped – whipping away a likely 82-yard touchdown.
The Bishops (1-7, 1-4 NCAC) would make it a one-point game with 9:55 left in the opening half by going into the bag of tricks. OWU dialed up an end-around pass from David Walender to Dave Mogilnicki that caught the Yeomen off guard for a 30-yard scoring strike. The Bishops would miss the PAT.
In the closing minutes of the half Oberlin drove into Bishops' territory down to the 26-yard-line, but on 4th-and-1 Zebelian was sacked.
With the clock winding down, OWU took the ball down the Oberlin 42 yard-line, but on the final play of the half Eric Enrico picked off Mason Espinosa's pass at the two-yard line and returned it 38 yards.
Following the intermission, the Bishops responded by taking the opening kickoff back 77 yards for the score. However, their two-point attempt failed making it 12-7 in their favor.
The Yeomen wouldn't trail for long as Mixter took the ensuing kickoff back 46 yards before finally being brought down at the Bishops' 45. He then would run the ball four straight times for a total of 36 yards. A Richardson run down to the two, would eventually setup a two-yard TD reception by Ryan Harvey for the go-ahead score.
After the touchdown OWU would run 14 plays that covered 55 yards, but have nothing to show for it as Nick Chilkov pushed a 27-yard field goal attempt wide right.
Just inside the start of the fourth quarter a beautiful punt by Cory Kidd went out of bounds at the four-yard line. Following a run play for no gain on first down, the Bishops tried to run it again, but Clay Eaton busted through the line to disrupt the play and take down Acorye' White in the end zone for an Oberlin safety.
Unfortunately the Yeomen couldn't do anything with the ball following the free kick as an errant throw by Zebelian picked off by Leonard Gleaves.
With 5:42 left to play, Oberlin came away with a big stop on 4th-and-2 from their own 34 to short-circuit any threat from the Bishops.
Following a 52-yard punt by Kidd that was downed at the Bishops' seven, OWU would get the ball back with 3:25 remaining, but with no timeouts. However, a dropped pass on 4th-and-3 effectively ended any chance of a comeback.
After taking the ball over on downs, Oberlin almost gave the Bishops life as the hand-off exchange between Zebelian and Richardson was muffed, but luckily Richardson was able to fall back on the ball for the recovery. OC would run three more plays from there to crunch the clock and escape with the win.
Oberlin ran 71 total plays and finished with 314 yards of offense, while the Bishops racked up 277 yards on 59 plays. However, OWU had just 28 yards on the ground.
C.J. Plyler added his fourth interception of the season early in the first quarter.
The Yeomen will look to end the season on a three-game winning streak when Allegheny College comes to town next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. from Savage Stadium. There will be a pre-game tailgate before the contest and it also is "Take a Kid to the Game" Day.