A rare non-conference, non-Bell Game loss last week at
Washington University was all the motivation Wabash needed to be
ready Saturday for improving Oberlin. The Little Giants played the
'statement' card dominating the Yeoman for most of the
game and a 42-21 win.
The first quarter was one of the
best quarters of football, offensively and defensively, Wabash has
turned in through a 5-1 start. The first quarter statistics reflect
the players' mindset with a 16-0 lead and 216 to 41 total
offensive yard advantage.
"I think the start was of
most importance to us," senior running back Derrick Yoder
said. "We had to come out here and show them what Wabash
football is all about and make a statement. We had to get back on
track and I think we were able to do that."
The key component seemed to be
inspired play by the defensive line. "Other than last
few minutes of the first half, we played with more intensity on
defense," Coach Erik Raeburn said. "We got after the
quarterback and that's been our Achilles heel. We
haven't had any pressure on the quarterback through the first
five games and we haven't gotten very many turnovers. But the
pressure was there today so the turnovers came too."
Wabash picked off two Oberlin
passes, sacked the Yeoman quarterback three times, caused numerous
hurry ups that resulted in incomplete throws, and scored its first
safety of the season. It was only a week ago Raeburn had called out
his defense for poor play.
"We definitely felt called
out," said senior Dan Ryan Wood, who led Wabash with 8
tackles. "We were mad and wanted to come out here and make a
statement. We hit them in the mouth early and we tried to put
a 60-minute game together."
Wabash scored on its first
possession when Chase Belton hit Devin Kelley with a little lob
pass from three yards out. Belton found wide out Jonathan Horn for
a big 75-yard score midway through the period. Spencer Whitehead
pushed the first quarter lead to 16-0 with a 33-yard field goal,
after sitting out last week with an ankle sprain.
Belton scored on a 10-yard run
in the second quarter before Dan Ryan Wood electrified the Fall
Break crowd with an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown,
"They blocked it up for
me," Wood said of his first kickoff return for a score.
"I just had one guy to beat and it was the kicker and I just
ran. The first one I screwed up, I should have taken that one to
the house. The guys doing the blocking are making great
Belton left the game just before
halftime with an injury and didn't return. Tyler Burke
stepped in for the second straight week. Belton hit on 12 of 18
passes for 201 yards and a touchdown. Burke was 9 of 21 for 104
yards and two interceptions.
"We can't keep a
quarterback in there the whole game." Raeburn said. "I
thought we really played well that first half then Chase went down
and we lost that momentum a little bit. Tyler wasn't quite as
sharp as he had been the previous couple of games. But we got it
going there late in third and early fourth quarter.
Yoder had his second straight
strong outing with 95 yards rushing on 15 carries. He also caught a
pass for 15 yards. He compiled those numbers in about two quarters
"I think its opportunity
and blocking, I'm going to put it on those guys'
shoulders," Yoder said. "They've been opening up
huge holes and I've just been running thru them, it's
Wabash's scoring was
capped by Whitehead's second field goal of the day, a 34
Offensively, Wabash rolled up
494 total yards to Oberlin's 250. The Little Giants had 192
yards rushing to the Yeoman's 129.
Wabash had 8 first half
penalties and finished with 10 for 71 yards.
Pat Clegg had 7 tackles, two
sacks, two tackles for loss, and recovered a blocked punt for a
safety. C.J. Gum had 7 tackles while freshman Nate Scola had six
stops along with senior Jake Martin.
Wabash goes back on the road
Saturday to play Denison.