WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Otterbein Cardinal defense made a game-winning stop on a two-point conversion try in overtime to secure a 28-27 win at Gallaudet.
With the score tied, 21-21, Otterbein had an opportunity to win the game in the closing seconds of regulation, but junior place-kicker Aaric Milligan's 32-yard attempt was blocked, sending the game into overtime.
In overtime, the Cardinals struck quickly. Senior quarterback Austin Schlosser threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Fortinal Faustin on the first play. Schlosser's pass was deflected in the end zone by senior tight end Gabe Shively, but the opportunistic Faustin snagged the ball for the Cardinal touchdown. With the converted extra point, Otterbein took a 28-21 lead.
Gallaudet answered with a 9-yard touchdown pass by junior quarterback Gabriel Paulone to junior wide receiver Ryne Worsham on fourth down. The Bison elected to go for the win and, on the 2-point conversion try, Paulone was stuffed by the Cardinal defense.
The Cardinal offense finished the game with 322 passing and 90 rushing yards (412 total), while holding the Bison to 281 yards of offense.
Gallaudet's running attack averaged 263.4 yards per game last year, but the Otterbein defense held the Bison to just 126 yards on the ground. The Cardinal defense held the Bison to 4 of 14 third-down conversion attempts.
Schlosser finished the game with career highs in passing yards (271), touchdowns (3), while also throwing a career long 93-yard touchdown pass to classmate Trey Fairchild.
Fairchild had a career day as well for the Cardinals, finishing with two touchdowns and a career-best 196 yards receiving on eight catches.
On defense, senior Shane Centers finished with a career-best and game-high 15 tackles, 13 unassisted.
Otterbein took the opening kickoff and started the season with a seven-play, 63-yard drive, which was capped off with an 11-yard Schlosser touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Steve Kuzyk to take an early 7-0 lead with 12:08 remaining in the first quarter.
Gallaudet would respond two drives later with a score of its own to even the score at 7 with 4:18 to go in the first quarter.
The Bison appeared to have Otterbein backed into a corner early in the second period following a punt that was downed at the Cardinal 7-yard line. But Schlosser connected with Fairchild, who slipped behind the Gallaudet secondary, for a 93-yard touchdown pass on the first play to put Otterbein up 14-7.
After the halftime break, Gallaudet had its best drive of the game, a 9-play, 88-yard drive which ended on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Paulone to Worsham, to even the score at 14-14 early in the fourth quarter.
Otterbein responded immediately. Junior quarterback Rocco Pentello, who had entered the game earlier, guided the Cardinal offense on an 8-play, 59-yard drive that concluded with a Pentello 27-yard touchdown pass to Fairchild to put Otterbein up 21-14 with 9:56 to play in regulation.
Gallaudet would not exit quietly. Paulone and Worsham connected on a 44-yard pass, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run by freshman running back Quintin Williams to tie the score at 21 with 4:21 left in the fourth period.
Both teams had late opportunities to end the game in regulation, however, crucial defensive stops by both teams prevented that from happening. Schlosser completed passes of 24 yards and 9 yards to Fairchild and Faustin to set up the Milligan field-goal attempt with 3-seconds left in regulation.
Otterbein is idle next Saturday. The Cardinals return to action Sept. 17 when they open Ohio Athletic Conference play at 14th-ranked Ohio Northern. Kick-off is scheduled for 1:30 pm.
Kuzyk added six catches for 55 yards and a touchdown, while Faustin finished the day with two catches for 34 yards, including his game-winning score in overtime.
Senor Drew Piatt finished with eight tackles, while junior safeties Shea Brintlinger and Jordan Benson combined for 13.
Junior running back Brock Burzanko finished with a career-best 69 yards rushing on 16-attempts.
Pentello finished the afternoon throwing 3-10 for 51 yards and one touchdown, while also adding 16 yards rushing on 5 carries.
Junior punter Aaron Kingcade finished the day with a career-best 46.8 average, while also booting a career-long 54-yard punt.
Otterbein committed 9 penalties, resulting in 84 yards; meanwhile Gallaudet finished with 5 for 39 yards.