In a game which included a little bit of everything, Ohio Wesleyan took a 26-22 Old Gold Day win over DePauw at Blackstock Stadium. The Battling Bishops remained unbeaten at 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the North Coast Athletic Conference, while the Tigers slipped to 1-4 overall and 0-2 in conference play.
Ohio Wesleyan reached the scoreboard first as it took advantage of good field position early in the first quarter. Starting from the DePauw 49, the Battling Bishops quickly drove into the red zone as Mason Espinosa completed a 7-yard pass to Scott Jenkins on first down and Kevin Herman's 32-yard run gave the Battling Bishops the ball at the DePauw 10. Three plays later Jenkins carried for a 2-yard score.
DePauw responded on its next series as Eric Malm booted a 32-yard field goal with 7:34 left in the first. The Battling Bishops quickly tacked on a second touchdown as Espinosa tossed a 66-yard scoring pass over the middle to Nick Ziegenbusch which extended the margin to 14-3.
Early in the second, DePauw's defense pushed the Bishops deep into their own territory as a Michael McManis sack was sandwiched by two false start penalties. Faced with fourth down, Ohio Wesleyan's Miles MacKenzie couldn't handle the punt snap and the ball sailed out of the end zone for a safety.
Taylor Wagner returned the ensuing kickoff 86 yards for a score and Malm's point-after closed the Battling Bishops' lead to 14-12 with 11 minutes left in the half. That marked Wagner's fourth punt or kickoff return for a touchdown in his career.
Ohio Wesleyan pushed its lead to 17-12 with 35 seconds left in the half as MacKenzie nailed a 33-yard field goal. On the first play after the kickoff, DePauw quarterback Justin Murray was picked off by Rayce Risser at thee Ohio Wesleyan 49 and he returned it to the DePauw 46.
Espinosa teamed with Dave Mogilnicki on the first play for a 46-yard score to make it 23-12.
It appeared the Tigers regained the momentum as DePauw linebacker Jack Quinn forced the ball loose from Ohio Wesleyan receiver Calvin Cagney on the second play of the second half and Myron Burr picked it up at the Battling Bishops' 20 and ran it in for the score to close the margin to 23-19.
MacKenzie was short on a 42-yard field goal try later in the third which would have expanded the lead to seven. Near the end of the third, DePauw's defense again came up big as Patrick Keller's sack on third down drove the guests back to their own 11. MacKenzie got off a 31-yard punt, but Ohio Wesleyan was whistled for interfering with Wagner's return and the Tigers started on the Battling Bishops' 27.
Seth Swary, however, picked off Murray in the end zone on the first play and returned it to the OWU 5.
Malm's 34-yard field goal with 7:25 left in the game closed the Ohio Wesleyan lead to 23-22 and came after the Battling Bishops were called for offsides prior to blocking the first field goal attempt.
The Tigers' defense again forced a punt, but Murray was intercepted by Quinten Wright at the Tigers' 34 with 4:33 remaining.
The Battling Bishops successfully took time off the clock before MacKenzie connected on a 26-yard field goal with 1:08 left to push the lead to 26-22.
The Tigers couldn't picked up a first down on the subsequent series and Ohio Wesleyan was able to run out the clock.
Ohio Wesleyan outgained the Tigers, 391-198, but the Battling Bishops gained just 35 yards in the second half.
Murray completed 21 of 46 passes for 164 yards but threw four interceptions and was sacked four times. His top receiver was Jackson Kirtley with six catches for 39 yards.
Espinosa connected on 31 of 55 passes for 346 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Cagney caught 10 passes for 81 yards with Jenkins catching nine for 59 yards. Ziegenbusch totaled 125 receiving yards on six catches. Herman rushed 13 times for 70 yards.
Quinn and Cody Crook paced the Tigers with nine tackles apiece, while J.D. Robinson and Robby Schuler each had eight. Keller finished with three sacks with McManis adding two and Schuler one to go with his one interception.
DaVaughn DuBose had 10 stops for Ohio Wesleyan including 1.5 sacks. Tyler Sheetz and Justin Segal each had eight tackles with Segal totaling two sacks.
DePauw returns to NCAC action on Saturday, October 13, when it travels to Allegheny for a 1 p.m. contest. Ohio Wesleyan hosts Kenyon next Saturday.