Quick Strikes Dampen Gators’ Senior Day
MEADVILLE, Pa. – An explosive Ohio Wesleyan attack marred the Senior Day festivities for Allegheny on Saturday, as the visitors raced to a 34-7 victory. Ohio Wesleyan's scoring drives averaged less than four plays, while the Battling Bishops had scoring plays over 44 yards on their final four touchdowns as the Gators lost three straight for the first time in five years.
The Gators yielded just 78 yards combined on OWU's six non-scoring drives of the day, but allowed several big passing plays in allowing the Battling Bishops to quickly build a 27-0 lead. Three of those scores came on third down following negligible gains on the first two plays of the series.
A long return on a squib kick to start the game immediately put Ohio Wesleyan in Allegheny territory. Mason Espinosa, who finished 21-of-29 for 289 yards, drove the Bishops 45 yards on five plays while a one-yard run by Scott Jenkins gave OWU the lead less than two minutes into the game.
Allegheny matched OWU's offensive output on its first drive, highlighted by a 33-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Joe Dawida to tight end Tom Bober. However, Dawida got hurt on an 11-yard rush later in the series, and the aerial attack had little luck getting vertical for the remainder of the half.
Following a 10-play drive by the Gators that was hampered by a holding penalty, OWU scored on its ensuing four-play drive as Espinosa turned a third-and-eight into a 44-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Cagney.
Ahead 13-0 after the opening frame, both of the Bishops' second quarter touchdowns took less than one minute to manufacture. Espinosa hooked up with Steven Uhler on a 54-yard pitch-and-catch on third-and-seven, while Cagney covered 56 yards for his second score of the day on third-and-ten just before halftime.
The Gators pieced together an outstanding start to the second half and finally got on the board behind an eight-yard run by Tim Werley. Allegheny's senior running back, who authored several tough runs during the team's lone scoring drive of the day, rushed for a career-high 104 yards on 26 carries. His effort resulted in the first 100-yard rushing day by a Gator since Brian Tamburlin totaled 122 yards on November 10, 2010.
After forcing a quick three-and-out on OWU's next drive, including a pair of sacks, Allegheny assembled the longest drive of the day for either team while giving the Gator faithful hope in an improbable comeback. Moving 66 yards in 14 plays while chewing up over seven minutes of game time, Allegheny was stopped on downs inside the Bishops' 10-yard line.
Allegheny's defense did well in limited Ohio Wesleyan well into the fourth quarter, but the offense was unable to carve out any big plays to threaten OWU's lead. With just over three minutes left in regulation, Kevin Herman capped the scoring with a 64-yard run.