BEREA, OHIO -- The Baldwin-Wallace College football team scored 20 unanswered points in the second half as it defeated Ohio Athletic Conference rival Muskingum University, 27-16, today (Saturday, October 30) at McConagha Stadium in New Concord. The victory by the Yellow Jackets sets up a showdown next Saturday (Nov. 6) in Berea between B-W and No.2-ranked University of Mount Union for first place in the OAC.
With the win, the Yellow Jackets improved to 7-1 overall and 6-1 in the OAC and reached the seven-win plateau for the first time since 2006. B-W is now tied for second place with No.12-ranked Ohio Northern University at 6-1 in the OAC and one game behind first place Mount Union (8-0, 7-0 OAC). With its loss, Muskingum falls to 3-5 overall and 2-5 in the OAC.
After one quarter of play the score was tied at 7-7 and Muskingum led 16-7 at halftime. Baldwin-Wallace led 20-16 after three stanzas. B-W piled up 211 total yards on the ground, including 100-plus yard games from senior running back John McGraw (North Ridgeville) and junior RB Tim Miker (Parma/Senior). The Jacket "Swarm D" sacked Muskingum quarterback Jake Burns seven times including four by senior defensive end Keith Darbut (Miami, Fla./Palmetto Senior).
In the first quarter, B-W opened up the scoring at the 10:36 mark when sophomore quarterback Ryan O'Rourke (Avon) connected with junior wide receiver Troy Van Meter (Gahanna/Westerville North) on a 27-yard pass to cap a six play, 84-yard drive that took 2:04 off the clock. Senior placekicker Brad Pollock (Broadview Heights/Brecksville-Broadview Heights) added the extra point. The key play on the drive was 41-yard completion on third down from O'Rourke to sophomore WR Aaron Manders (Toledo/Cardinal Stritch).
Muskingum answered with an 11 play, 70-yard drive when QB Jake Burns tossed a seven yard swing pass to Antowan Logan for a Muskie TD with 3:39 left in the first. Caleb Carpenter added the PAT. The drive was kept alive when B-W was penalized with a roughing the holder penalty on a Muskingum field goal attempt, giving the Muskies a fresh set of downs.
Following a Muskingum interception, the Fighting Muskies drove 51 yards in eight plays taking 2:52 off the clock as Burns scored on a one yard QB sneak on the first play of the second quarter. However, Carpenter's PAT was no good making the score 13-7 in favor of Muskingum.
After a B-W punt, Muskingum drove into Yellow Jacket territory, but the drive was halted by a sack and forced fumble by junior defensive end Derron Hamilton (Euclid), which was recovered by senior All-OAC middle linebacker Ryan Kish (Amherst/ Steele). However, B-W was forced to punt on the ensuing drive.
To close the half, Muskingum drove 49 yards in five plays taking 1:36 off the clock as Carpenter booted a 24-yard field goal through the uprights as time expired in the first half.
The Yellow Jackets opened the third quarter with a 10 play drive for 65 yards that consumed 3:43 off the clock and ended with a 15-yard pass from O'Rourke to junior tight end Aaron Hurd (Tiffin/Columbian). The drive was powered by the running of Miker and McGraw who accounted for 50 yards rushing combined on the drive. Pollock's PAT was blocked making the score 16-13 Muskingum.
Following a Muskingum punt, B-W took back the lead for good as Miker ran 30 yards into the end zone to cap a nine play, 68-yard drive that took 2:56 off the clock. Pollock's kick was good, putting the Yellow Jackets in front, 20-16.
The Muskies next drive was brought to an end when junior LB John Harasyn (Mentor) intercepted a Burns pass at midfield after the ball was tipped by Darbut. On the ensuing drive, B-W marched 50 yards in eight plays scoring on an eight yard pass from O'Rourke to junior WR Anthony Fairhurst (Ashland/Senior) on the first play of the fourth quarter. Pollock's PAT was good giving the Yellow Jackets a 27-16 lead, which would stand up as the final margin.
Late in the fourth quarter, Muskingum drove to the B-W 35 yard line, but Burns' fourth down pass into the end zone was intercepted by senior safety Ryan Dugan (Mentor) ending the last Muskie threat.
B-W was led offensively by McGraw who carried the ball 19 times for 125 yards. Miker also contributed 110 yards and a TD on 22 carries. Through the air, O'Rourke was nine of 19 passing for 147 yards including three TD passes. Junior WR Dan Turner (Youngstown/Ursuline) had a team high with catches (4) and yards (48). Hurd compiled two catches for 23 yards and a TD.
The Jacket defense was led Darbut who had five tackles including four sacks for 39 lost yards including a tipped pass that led to an interception. Junior safety Corey Hildreth (Massillon/Washington) led the Jackets with eight tackles including one for loss. Dugan had six solo tackles on the day including the late fourth quarter interception to seal the win. Senior defensive end Mitch Tulk (Elyria/Senior) had three tackles for loss totaling 14 yards.
Muskingum was led on offense by Burns who passed for 311 yards through the air, completing 28-of-45 passes and a score against three interceptions. Josh Sams had game-highs with nine receptions and 105 yards. Logan added six catches for 70 yards and a TD. Alex Thomas had 10 tackles for the Fighting Muskie defense and Chad Bajc had eight tackles and two tackles for loss.
Next Saturday's kickoff versus Mount Union on Seniors' Day at The George Finnie Stadium in Berea is at 1:30 p.m. Fans can listen to that game live on campus radio station WBWC, 88.3 FM, and via the WBWC Internet Web site at www.wbwc.com. For tickets for that game, please call the B-W Athletic Department at 440-826-2140 or 2184. For ticket prices, please visit the B-W Athletics Web site at www.bw.edu/athletics/ticketprices/.
Following the Mount Union game, B-W ends its regular season on Saturday, Nov. 13 at Cleveland cross-town and OAC rival John Carroll University at 1:30 p.m. on Wasmer Field in Don Shula Stadium in University Heights.