Bishops Spoil the Home Opener for the Yeomen

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Oberlin, Ohio - Clay Eaton became the school's all-time sack leader and Robin Witjes had the game of his career, but in the end it wasn't enough as the Ohio Wesleyan University Battling Bishops outlasted the Oberlin College Yeomen, 29-17, on Saturday afternoon at Savage Stadium.

Witjes snagged 11 balls for a career-high 187 yards and a touchdown. He finished with a career-best 253 all-purpose yards, adding 64 return yards and two rushing yards. Adam Niec also added a career-high 149 yards receiving on seven catches.

In relief of Josh Mandel, who threw for 151 yards and TD in the first half, rookie Lucas Poggiali played the entire second half and threw for 197 yards and rushed for 47 more on six carries. However, both QBs were picked off twice in the setback.

The Yeomen's very first play of the game was a 54-yard pitch-and-catch from Mandel to Witjes (Watch), but the drive stalled out and the Yeomen had to settle for a 29-yard field goal from Erickson Andrews. (Watch) Miles MacKenzie added two of his five field goals for the Bishops to give them a 6-3 lead after one period.

Following a blocked field goal by Shawn Chrapczynski (Watch), the Yeomen ripped off a 6-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off with a 25-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown by Witjes (Watch) to give the Yeomen a 10-6 lead with 7:39 left in the first half.

However, OWU would respond with its first touchdown of the game with 1:08 left in the half and then take advantage of a Mandel INT, tacking on a field goal as time expired to lead 16-10 at the break.

On the first play of the third quarter, Eaton sacked OWU QB Mason Espinosa to officially put his name atop the OC record book as the all-time sack leader. (Watch) He would later add a second sack – his fourth of the season – and 23.5 of his career.

After each team punted three times in the third, the Yeomen would eventually retake the lead at 17-16 as Moses Richardson finished off a 7-play, 88-yard drive with 1:53 left in the frame with a two-yard TD run. Richardson rushed the ball 17 times for 49 yards on the day. The drive featured 48 yards from Niec and 33 rushing yards from Poggiali. However, OWU would again strike quickly to add another field goal to grab a 19-17 edge heading into the final quarter.

The Bishops would add yet another field goal on their first drive of the fourth and on the ensuing possession the Yeomen tried to match, but after a high snap, Andrews had his 27-yard attempt fly wide right to keep it a 22-17 OWU advantage with just under six minutes left to play.

Following a Bishops' punt with just 2:40 remaining, Poggiali was picked off by Morgan McBride on the first play of the drive and he returned it 29 yards to the Yeomen 15 yard line. The miscue setup Kevin Herman's 10-yard TD run and all but ended any chance of a Yeomen comeback.

However, Oberlin did continue to fight till the end as Poggiali marched the team 67 yards on eight plays, before having his fade pass intercepted in the end zone.

Dane Stritt led the Yeomen defense with12 tackles, while Matt Misorski added an INT in the second quarter. (Watch).

The Yeomen return to action next weekend when they play host to the University of Chicago as part of Homecoming Weekend. The game will also air on tape delay on SportsTimeOhio (STO). The air times are at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 22 and then again on Monday, September 24 at 12:30 p.m.

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