Time of Poss.
Oberlin, Ohio – A dominating defensive performance propelled the Oberlin College football team to a historic, 19-2, season-opening win over the Case Western Reserve University Spartans on Sunday afternoon at Savage Stadium.
The victory for the Yeomen snapped a 28-game skid against the Spartans with the team's last win against the cross-town foe coming back in 1982. It was a 17-6 Yeomen triumph in the season opener.
The Oberlin defense, led by first-year Defensive Coordinator Jay Anderson, did not allow the Spartans' offense to score in the game. Their lone points of the game came on a blocked point-after-attempt that was returned the other way for a safety.
Oberlin limited the Spartans to just 11 first downs and 195 yards of total offense, with just 22 yards coming on the ground.
The Yeomen executed their game plan to perfection, controlling time of possession by nearly doubling up Spartans at 39:16 to 20:44. They were able to do so thanks to an effective run game that totaled 219 yards on 52 attempts.
It was a three-headed ground attack with senior Moses Richardson leading the way with 84 yards on 23 carries. Quarterback Lucas Poggiali added 78 yards and a score on 12 attempts, while sophomore classmate Blake Buckhannon added 50 yards on 13 carries to go along with his second-career rushing TD.
After a long Yeomen drive to start the game that unfortunately ended in no points, their defense was able to set the tone for the game on the Spartans very first possession, forcing a 3-and-out.
The offense would respond by orchestrating the first scoring drive of the game when Poggiali would find fifth-year senior Adam Niec on a rollout from nine yards out. The scored capped a 10-play, 62-yard drive that took 5:42 off the clock.
Early in the second quarter it appeared that the Spartans were going to get on the board as they drove to the Yeomen 8-yardline and later had a second-and-goal from the 3-yardline. However, the defense stuffed two consecutive runs to setup a short field goal attempt, but the Spartans' Nick Bavaro pulled the kick wide right.
It would remain a 7-0 Oberlin lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Yeomen would not waste much time making it a two-score game. On a 4th-and-1 from the Spartans' 8-yardline Poggiali called his own number and ran a naked bootleg to near left side all the way into the endzone. The PAT was blocked by Ethan Albers and returned all the way for a 2-point score.
Following the touchdown, the Yeomen defense came up big again as senior Kirby Livingston had a strip-sack fumble on Billy Beecher that was recovered by senior classmate Jake Danko. Ironically enough, Danko's father, Vince, was a junior on the Yeomen football team in 1982 when Oberlin last beat Case Western.
With 2:45 left to play Oberlin would put the game away for good on Buckhannon's seven-yard TD run.
The Yeomen defense finished with 49 tackles, including nine tackles-for-loss and five sacks. Kyle Kessler led the way with six total tackles, while CJ Ihle added two sacks. Gabe Edwards also recorded his first-career interception in the win.
The Yeomen now head to the road on a short week as they travel to The College of Wooster this Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.