/seasons/2012/contrib/201210276w1lgd

Wabash Defense Shines in 28-0 win at OWU

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For the second week in a row, the Wabash Little Giant defense blanked its opponent. The Little Giants held Ohio Wesleyan scoreless in a 28-0 victory.

The score was tied 0-0 at halftime, but the Wabash offense scored 4 second-half touchdowns in a game that will go a long way in deciding the 2012 NCAC Champion.

"The defense did a great job every possession," Coach Erik Raeburn said. "It started right off the bat where Ohio Wesleyan had the nice little drive to the goal line but our defense came up with the big stop on fourth and goal."

The Bishops were knocking on the door on the opening drive of the game but running back Scott Jenkins was stuffed by the Little Giant defense on a fourth-down plunge from the one-inch line.

Wabash's offense took the ball in the shadow of its own goal post but was unable to make much happen. Poor field position and not sustaining drives were common themes for the Little Giant offense in the first half. However, it broke the game open after halftime, led by Chase Belton and Tyler Holmes.

"We didn't make too many adjustments at half time," Holmes said. "We just stopped beating ourselves. Once again, our offensive line was dominating and we were able to put some explosive plays together."

Holmes one-upped himself to set a new personal best with 210 yards rushing a week after posting 189 last week. He added a touchdown on a career-long 67-yard scamper with 23 carries for the day.

After last week's 30-0 victory over Wooster, the Little Giant defense forced a shutout in back-to-back games for the first time since 1983. Today's achievement was not as easy as the score may suggest.

Ohio Wesleyan quarterback Mason Espinosa completed 52 passes of an astronomical 75 attempts. He gained 428 yards through the air without a single completion going for more than 25 yards. The dink-and-dunk offense moved the ball until it approached the red zone, where the passing windows were tighter and Wabash defenders made plays.

"Their offense was frustrating because the ball would be gone as soon as we came off the line," linebacker Cody Buresh said. "We went from cover 2 to cover 4 in the second half which put our outside linebacker on the slot receivers so that helped with the quick bubble routes."

Buresh was one of four Little Giants to record 10 or more tackles. Justin Woods led the unit with 16 stops, including 12 solos. Denzel Wilkins added 13, while Nate Scola finished with 10. Scola added a team-high 3 tackles for losses and made 1-1/2 sacks. Wabash sacked Espinosa 6 times throughout the game, adding to the negative rushing totals for the Bishops. OWU finished the contest with minus-22 yards rushing. Zach Breuckman made two sacks, with Tyler McCullen finishing with 1-1/2. Pat Clegg recorded the final sack.

After stalling out in Wabash territory twice in the first half, the Bishops tried to put points on the board with two field-goal attempts. The first try sailed wide right from 41 yards out while Buresh swatted the second.

The 0-0 deadlock ended in the third quarter when Belton lofted a deep pass down the right sideline to  Houston Hodges for an 82-yard strike. The starting corner and wide receiver would later add another touchdown catch --- this time for 26 yards --- and an interception.

"We called a couple of 'all goes' and I was able to get behind the defense," Hodges said. "Chase threw a great ball and I can't ask for much more."

Two series later, Belton found Sean Hildebrand on the same play, except this time down the left sideline for a 71-yard score and 14-0 lead.

"I trusted my line more in the second half," Belton said. "(James) Huddleston was a great player but I hung in the pocket longer and receivers did a great job getting open."

Huddleston, a two-time All-Conference defensive end for OWU, made his presence known with 2 sacks. Despite Huddleston's disruptiveness, Raeburn knew the offense had to loosen up the defense with big pass plays.

"We were leery of their pass rush but we felt like we were playing too conservative in that first half," he said. "Their defensive backs were creeping up so we took some shots down the field. Obviously Houston and Sean did a great job getting behind the defense."

Once the defense softened up, Holmes and the Little Giant offensive line went to work wearing down the Bishop's front seven. The group muscled open big holes on a 67-yard touchdown run by Holmes. On the next drive, Belton found Hodges again, this time on a 26-yard touchdown pass for the game's final score.

Wabash will still need some help to win a second-consecutive NCAC Championship. All the team can do is win its final two games, starting on Senior Day Saturday November 3rd against Oberlin College. The Little Giants will remain home the next week when they host Depauw in the 119th Monon Bell Classic.

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 50, Massachusetts Maritime 7
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Muhlenberg 56, at Juniata 40
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at Dean 25, Becker 10
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Salisbury 27, at TCNJ 7
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MIT 38, at Catholic 21
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Merchant Marine 56, at Maine Maritime 31
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at Hobart 34, Endicott 17
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at Morrisville State 44, Nichols 22
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at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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at Albright 9, Widener 7
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Christopher Newport 16, at Montclair State 8
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at Westminster (Pa.) 41, Bethany 14
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Middlebury 41, at Bowdoin 14
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Williams 24, at Colby 7
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Amherst 36, at Hamilton 6
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Ursinus 35, at Moravian 17
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Trinity (Conn.) 51, at Bates 0
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at LaGrange 38, Brevard 28
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Geneva 33, at Thiel 24
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at Plymouth State 37, Mass-Dartmouth 7
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Kean 28, at Southern Virginia 14
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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Union 17, at Curry 14
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at Carnegie Mellon 37, Thomas More 17
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41.7 4th
44 Lycoming
41 King's
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Final
at Western New England 21, Husson 14
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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at DePauw 51, Wooster 24
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at Ohio Wesleyan 37, Allegheny 21
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at Misericordia 43, Wilkes 14
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at N.C. Wesleyan 35, Maryville (Tenn.) 25
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Huntingdon 31, at Ferrum 28
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Final - OT
at McDaniel 27, Gettysburg 20
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Final
at Buffalo State 33, RPI 21
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Final
Franklin and Marshall 27, at Susquehanna 24
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at Denison 45, Oberlin 17
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 10, Westminster (Mo.) 7
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at Eureka 44, Crown 20
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at Lebanon Valley 24, FDU-Florham 14
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4th - 03:08
21 John Carroll
46 Heidelberg
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Final
at Ohio Northern 35, Otterbein 7
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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Final
at Rose-Hulman 37, Defiance 14
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3:00, 4th quarter
25 Muskingum
49 Marietta
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3rd - 9:59
42 Franklin
16 Bluffton
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3rd - 10:07
21 Anderson
57 Hanover
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4th - 03:24
31 Mount St. Joseph
14 Manchester
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2:00 PM
Worcester State at Westfield State
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4th - 13:13
6 Coast Guard
6 Norwich
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4th - 07:57
22 Bridgewater State
31 Fitchburg State
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3rd - 11:10
28 Wittenberg
11 Kenyon
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1:37 3rd Qtr
21 Hiram
16 Wabash
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Halftime
41 North Central (Ill.)
7 Millikin
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2:00 PM
Sewanee at Millsaps
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Start of 4th
9 Birmingham-Southern
28 Rhodes
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2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
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2:00 PM
Greenville at Martin Luther
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12:33 4th Q
35 Chapman
21 Trinity (Texas)
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2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Loras
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9:00 4th
13 Washington U.
24 Wartburg
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3rd - 2:06
7 Hamline
44 Gustavus Adolphus
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3rd - 04:38
35 Augsburg
21 Carleton
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15:00 4TH
7 St. Olaf
57 Bethel
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2:00 PM
Dubuque at Luther
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2:00 3rd Q
20 Nebraska Wesleyan
38 Central
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2:00 PM
Simpson at Coe
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3rd - 7:55
19 Wheaton (Ill.)
8 Elmhurst
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2:00 PM
St. Norbert at Grinnell
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2:00 PM
Ripon at Knox
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2:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at MacMurray
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3rd - 13:08
37 Hardin-Simmons
3 Howard Payne
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2:00 PM
Southwestern at Louisiana College
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2:00 PM
Monmouth at Macalester
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3rd - 04:30
10 St. John's
20 St. Thomas
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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3rd - 06:45
10 WPI
35 Springfield
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3:00 PM
Beloit at Cornell
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4:00 PM
Utica at Brockport
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4:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Hartwick
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4:00 PM
Carroll at UW-La Crosse
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1st - 05:34
0 Minnesota-Morris
7 St. Scholastica
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4:30 PM
UW-Eau Claire at George Fox
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5:00 PM
Salve Regina at Western Connecticut
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5:00 PM
Adrian at UW-Stevens Point
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6:00 PM
Tufts at Wesleyan
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6:00 PM
Methodist at Averett
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6:00 PM
Centre at Berry
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7:00 PM
Waynesburg at Case Western Reserve
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7:00 PM
St. Vincent at Grove City
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7:00 PM
North Park at Illinois Wesleyan
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7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Mary Hardin-Baylor
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7:00 PM
Lakeland at UW-Platteville
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7:00 PM
Carthage at Augustana
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7:00 PM
Chicago at Illinois College
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7:00 PM
McMurry at Sul Ross State
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7:30 PM
Capital at Wilmington
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8:00 PM
Lake Forest at Lawrence
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8:00 PM
Belhaven at East Texas Baptist
8:00 PM
Arizona Christian at Whittier
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Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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Final
Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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Final
at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Final
Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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Final
Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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4th - 03:08
21 John Carroll
46 Heidelberg
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Final
at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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3rd - 11:10
28 Wittenberg
11 Kenyon
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1:37 3rd Qtr
21 Hiram
16 Wabash
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3rd - 13:08
37 Hardin-Simmons
3 Howard Payne
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Halftime
41 North Central (Ill.)
7 Millikin
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3rd - 7:55
19 Wheaton (Ill.)
8 Elmhurst
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3rd - 04:30
10 St. John's
20 St. Thomas
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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4:00 PM
Utica at Brockport
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Waynesburg at Case Western Reserve
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
North Park at Illinois Wesleyan
Video Live stats Audio
7:00 PM
Lakeland at UW-Platteville
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Mary Hardin-Baylor
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