Ohio Wesleyan 30, Oberlin 23
Nov. 5, 2011
Oberlin took an early lead after forcing a 3-and-out on the opening possession of the game, and the snap on the ensuing punt sailed over the head of freshman kicker Miles MacKenzie (Denver, Colo./East), with the Yeomen taking over on downs on the Bishop 11-yard line. Three plays later, with the Yeomen still on the 11, Erikson Andrews came on to boot a 28-yard field goal for a 3-0 Yeomen lead.
After Robin Witjes ran the Oberlin offense during the first 2 series, Josh Mandel stepped in at quarterback and marched the Yeomen down the field, hitting Dan Weintraub for 19 yards, Witjes for 15 more, and Cory Kidd twice for 23 yards before connecting with Weintraub for a 10-yard scoring pass that increased the Oberlin lead to 10-0 in the final minute of the first period.
The Bishop offense started to click on the ensuing drive, with Espinosa hitting sophomore halfback Rayce Risser (Columbus Grove) for 14 yards, then picking up 14 yards on a quarterback draw. The drive stalled at the Oberlin 9, however, and MacKenzie came on for a 33-yard field that put the Bishops on the scoreboard.
Oberlin threatened to widen its lead late in the half, taking over at its own 30-yard line with 1:25 to play. Mandel hit Enright for 12 yards, then connected with Witjes for 24 yards and a first down before finding Weintraub for 29 yards and a first down at the Ohio Wesleyan 1-yard line. With 30 seconds to play, the Yeomen tried a running play, but freshman linebacker Morgan McBride (Tucker, Ga./St. Pius X) forced a Drew Mixter fumble, and sophomore linebacker Justin Segal (West Harrison, N.Y./Harrison) recovered at the 3-yard line to keep the score at 10-3 at the break.
Mandel drove the Yeomen downfield to open the third quarter, completing 6 of 7 passes for 60 yards, finishing off the march with a 23-yard lob to Weintraub. Andrews' PAT kick was off the mark, and Oberlin held a 16-3 lead with 12:48 left in the third period.
Oberlin appeared in a position to increase the lead when sophomore defensive back Leonard Gleaves (Charlotte, N.C./Independence) fumbled the ensuing kickoff, but on the first play from scrimmage,
The Bishops picked up one first down with a 14-yard burst by Risser, and Espinosa covered the final 37 yards with a sideline pass to sophomore split end Dave Mogilnicki (Middleburg Heights/Midpark). Senior kicker Nick Chilkov (Venice, Calif./New Roads) hit the left upright on the conversion kick, however, and the score remained 16-9 with 10:56 left in the third quarter.
Ohio Wesleyan forced another turnover on Oberlin's next possession, with junior tackle Tyler Swary (Pandora/Pandora-Gilboa) sacking Mandel and forcing a fumble that junior defensive end James Huddleston (Pontiac, Mich./Saint Marys Preparatory) recovered on the Oberlin 26.
Espinosa connected with senior tight end Pat Embleton (Chesterland/Gilmour Academy) twice on that short field, once for 10 yards and a first down, and a second time for 2 yards, with Embleton downed just outside the Oberlin end zone. Freshman halfback Kevin Herman (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) went over on the next play, and Chilkov's kick tied the game at 16-16 with 4:46 remaining in the third quarter.
Gleaves atoned for his earlier fumble by wrestling the ball away from Witjes at the Ohio Wesleyan 8-yard line, turning what would have been a 40-yard completion into a turnover, and then returning the play 35 yards to the Bishop 43-yard line.
Oberlin got the ball back when Risser fumbled at the Yeomen 39, and Mandel found Mixter on a slant pass that broke loose for 47 yards and a score that gave the visitors a 23-16 lead less than a minute into the fourth quarter.
Midway through the quarter, the Bishops answered with a 61-yard march that included a 25-yard connection from Espinosa to Mogilnicki, and a 14-yard toss from Espinosa to Risser that gave the Bishops a first down at the Oberlin 4. After an Espinosa-to-Embleton pass moved the ball to the 1, freshman tight end Jamal Nash (Garfield Heights/Collinwood) carried the final yard to bring the Bishops within 23-22, but Chilkov misfired on the extra point kick, and Oberlin maintained its one-point lead with 5:20 remaining.
Ohio Wesleyan forced a punt and got the ball back with 2:54 to go, and the Bishops moved the chains with completions from Espinosa to Herman for 19 yards and Espinosa to Mogilnicki for 13 yards. After hitting freshman split end Scott Jenkins (Cuyahoga Falls) for 9 yards, Espinosa covered the final 4 yards on his own to give the Bishops a 28-23 lead with :48 left, then found sophomore tight end Erik Wall (Delaware/Buckeye Valley) for a 2-point conversion to stretch the lead to 7 points.
Mixter returned the ensuing kickoff to the Oberlin 43-yard line, giving the Yeomen good field position and 41 seconds to work with. After a Huddleston sack, Mandel hit Witjes for 12 yards to midfield, then found Kidd for 20 yards and a first down at the Bishop 30. After spiking the ball with :22 left, Mandel's next throw was picked off by junior linebacker Tyler Sheetz (Eighty Four, Pa./Peters Township) at the OWU 18 to seal the win.
Espinosa completed 22 of 31 passes for 237 yards and a score, and ran for 11 yards on 13 carries. The 237 yards passing moved his season total to 2063 yards, breaking the school record of 2055 he set last season. The 248 yards of total offense moved his season total to 2074, breaking the school record of 2057 he set last season.
Herman led the Bishops with 6 catches for 33 yards, while Jenkins had a team-high 24 yards on 6 rushes. Embleton had 5 catches for 42 yards and Mogilnicki made 4 catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.
Sheetz had a team-high 14 tackles, including 1 for loss, while Huddleston finished with 11 tackles, including 3 sacks and 6 tackles for loss, along with a fumble recovery. The 6 tackles for loss ties the school record set by Jeff Markley vs. Allegheny on Oct. 10, 1987, and tied by Bo Smith at Denison on Oct. 15, 1988, and Owen Case at Wittenberg on Oct. 29, 2005.
Mandel completed 26 of 33 passes for 338 yards and 3 scores. Mixter led Oberlin rushers with 33 yards on 15 carries. Witjes made 9 catches for 109 yards.
Matt Misorski led the Yeomen with 9 tackles, including a sack and 2 for loss.
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