WOOSTER, Ohio – The College of Wooster's defense didn't allow a first down in the opening quarter and strung together a trio of three-and-outs to start the game, while the offense provided plenty of firepower during a 38-20 Black and Gold Weekend win over Ohio Wesleyan University at John P. Papp Stadium on Saturday.
|Junior Trent Leggett drags down Jesse Beach for no gain on Ohio Wesleyan's opening drive. Wooster's stout defense held Ohio Wesleyan to a total of 11 yards on the first three series during Saturday's 38-20 win.|
Wooster, 3-0 for the first time since 2008, and 2-0 in North Coast Athletic Conference play, held Ohio Wesleyan (0-2, 0-1 NCAC) to 11 yards of offense on the Bishops' first three possessions, and Ohio Wesleyan didn't move the chains offensively until its drive that started with 11:38 remaining in the opening half. The Scots' secondary played a large part in the strong start thanks to a pass breakup by senior Patrick Johnson on third down on the opening defensive possession, and one two drives later by first-year Beau Greenwood.
Last year, Wooster found itself down 21-0 after Ohio Wesleyan scored on its first three possessions of the game, and in a 180-degree turn, the Scots found the end zone on their first four drives on Saturday to take a commanding 28-0 lead with 11:46 to go in the opening half.
On the game's opening drive, senior Gary Muntean connected with junior Connor Allan on a 36-yard touchdown strike on a fourth-and-8 play for the opening score. The duo continued to be in sync all afternoon with Muntean finding Allan for a pair of 8-yard touchdowns that made it 14-0 with 4:51 to go in the first quarter, and then 28-0 just over three minutes into the second quarter.
Wooster's ground game accounted for the fourth score during flurry of scoring drives to start the game as junior Antonio Bailey capped a 12-play, 84-yard drive with a 2-yard plunge into the end zone. Earlier in the drive, Bailey burst through a hole for a seven yard gain on a third-and-2 play to keep the drive alive, and then Muntean took to the air with a 25-yard connection to sophomore Nick Strausbaugh, positioning the Scots in Bishop territory in the process.
Strausbaugh factored heavily into the passing game with six receptions going for 171 stripes – the ninth-most in a single game in the program annals. The Fredericksburg, Ohio native turned two receptions into 60 yards on the second 8-yard Muntean-to-Allan touchdown drive, before heading off to the races with a 68-yard touchdown grab two drives later that made it 35-0 with 6:10 to go in the opening half.
Wooster's other score came on a 32-yard field goal off the foot of senior Trevor Bowden with 3:16 to go in the third quarter that made it 38-20. Of note, the field goal marked the 17th of Bowden's career, moving him into a tied for fifth in program history.
Wooster's defense, which held an opponent scoreless in the first half for the first time since doing so at Allegheny College on Sept. 12, 2015, nearly had an impressive goal line stand in the fourth quarter. Ohio Wesleyan's Jesse Beachy took the third down carry from Wooster's 5-yard line, but was greeted by sophomore Robert Alvarez just past the line of scrimmage on an eventual 1-yard gain. While the Bishops did score on the next play – a 4-yard Brian Berry-to-Hunter Baker pass - the ensuing two-point try failed, prior to the Scots making a big special teams play with an onside kick recovery to seal the game.
Muntean turned in another banner day with a 25-for-34 afternoon for 362 yards, a yardage number 10th in the program annals. On the ground, the veteran racked up 54 stripes on 11 carries for his sixth career game with at least 400 yards of total offense. Of note, Muntean's four touchdown passes moved him into a tie for fourth all-time at Wooster with 43, eight of which have come in the last two weeks.
Muntean spread his 25 completions around to eight different receivers with Allan matching Strausbaugh in the receptions department with six, which went for 87 yards and the three scores.
On the ground, Bailey toted the ball 25 times for 90 yards and the 2-yard score.
Notable, Wooster converted all five of its fourth down attempts successfully, and is now 10-for-10 in that department this year.
Greenwood paced Wooster's defense with eight tackles, and the Scots had a tremendous display of balance with seven student-athletes recording at least four stops on the afternoon, including Alvarez and sophomore D'Andre Brown, who each had a sack. Other defenders of note include Johnson, who made six solo stops and broke up three passes.
Berry completed 29-of-44 throws for 234 yards and two scores, while Brad Brodek recorded a game-high 19 tackles.
Wooster travels to DePauw University (2-0, 1-0 NCAC) for a 1 p.m. kickoff next Saturday.