WOOSTER, Ohio – The College of Wooster accounted for five unanswered touchdowns from the second quarter until Oberlin College ended the run with a score in the final seconds, but the latter was much too late as the Fighting Scots rolled to a 39-21 victory in the North Coast Athletic Conference opener for both teams Saturday afternoon at John P. Papp Stadium.
After falling behind 14-7 late in the first quarter, Wooster (1-1, 1-0 NCAC) responded with a 12-play, 69-yard touchdown march, capped by a Richard Barnes' quarterback keeper from one yard out, and the Scots kept the momentum going from there. Among the key plays of thatdrive were a 30-yard catch-and-run by Keir Pace and Sean Hackel's conversion of a 4th-and-1 with a two-yard rush from the four-yard line.
Although Wooster missed the extra point, it would take the lead on its next offensive possession, which included 17- and 13-yard runs by Barnes plus a 29-yard pass play to Adam Coppock. Hackel completed the seven-play, 75-yard drive, toting the ball in from two yards away to make it 19-14.
The Scots kept the pressure on, as their defense forced a three-and-out followed by the offense's third touchdown of the second quarter. This time, Wooster took advantage of a short field, moving 44 yards, 25 on a Barnes rush, in just five plays. The last eight yards came when Barnes threaded the ball through Oberlin (1-1, 0-1 NCAC) to wide receiver Justin Rice in the end zone. A third consecutive failed point after attempt, this time a two-pointer, resulted in a 25-14 score.
It remained 25-14 at halftime, despite a couple of scoring opportunities by each team late in the second. The Scots turned it over on downs inside the red zone, then with the Yeomen threatening, Shawn Bowman picked off a pass at the two-yard line, the first of his two interceptions.
After the two teams exchanged punts to open the third quarter, Wooster faced a 4th-and-1 at the Oberlin 45. The decision to go for it paid off, as Hackel took a short pass from Barnes and reached the nine-yard line before being pushed out. On the very next snap, the Scots ran a trick play as Barnes threw a lateral to receiver Adam Coppock, who then passed it to a wide open Darrian Owens in the end zone, and with Zack Moore's extra point, it was 32-14.
Wooster's defense followed with a nice stand. After the Yeomen moved inside the 10-yard line, the Scots pushed them back a couple of yards, and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty forced them into a 36-yard field goal attempt that went wide left.
Early in the fourth quarter, Bowman halted another Oberlin drive with his second pick. Then, Wooster put together a game-clinching 10-play, 82-yard drive. Three Barnes-to-Pace passes totaled 37 of those yards, and it ended on another Hackel score, this time taking a well set-up screen pass 10 yards untouched for a 39-14 cushion.
The Yeomen scored a late touchdown when fullback Nick Theofios rumbled 60 yards to the end zone.
It marked the first career win for first-year head coach Frank Colaprete, who was doused with a "Gatorade bath."
Earlier, the Scots scored just 47 seconds into action. First, Labaron Sylvester forced a fumble, recovered by Mitchell Czerniak, on the Yeomen's second offensive play, and Barnes threw to Rice in the right corner of the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown on Wooster's first offensive snap.
Oberlin controlled the remainder of the opening quarter, with a Moses Richardson nine-yard rush capping a 70-yard possession and a Lucas Poggiali-to-Stephen Hause 27-yard pass wrapping up an 80-yard series.
The Scots finished just shy of 500 offensive yards (498), with Barnes totaling 336 himself. The senior quarterback rushed for a career-high 112 yards on 17 attempts, and added 224 through the air on 14-of-25 passing, and he was part of four touchdowns (1 rushing, 3 passing).
Hackel netted 96 yards on 26 rushes, and Pace was Wooster's leading receiver with five catches and 68 yards.
For the Yeomen, Poggiali completed 13-of-32 attempts for 196 yards, with six going to Adam Niec for 84 yards. Blake Buchannon was their top rusher with 82 stripes on 17 carries.
The Scots continue conference action at Hiram College (2-1, 1-1 NCAC) next Saturday at 1 p.m.