Otterbein Edged by Baldwin-Wallace, 27-21
Andrew Woodley -- Otterbein Sports Information
WESTERVILLE, OHIO – The Otterbein Cardinals failed to convert on a fourth down with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Baldwin-Wallace converted a fourth down on the ensuing possession to seal a 27-21 victory Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.
With the loss the Cardinals fall to 1-4 overall, 0-4 in the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC). Baldwin-Wallace improved to 4-1, 3-1 in the OAC.
Otterbein entered the second half trailing 20-14. Senior quarterback Austin Schlosser connected with senior wide receiver Trey Fairchild over the middle for a 68-yard touchdown to give the Cardinals a 21-20 lead with 6:37 left in the third quarter.
Baldwin-Wallace immediately responded with a seven play, 58-yard drive in under a minute and a half. Junior quarterback Ryan O'Rourke capped off the drive with a five-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Mike McGervey to give the Yellow Jackets a 27-21 lead with 5:02 remaining in the third quarter.
After the two quick scores, the contest became a defensive battle. Both the Cardinals and Yellow Jackets made key stops to keep their teams in contention. Otterbein held Baldwin-Wallace twice on fourth down deep in their own territory. The Jackets answered the call as well, intercepting two Schlosser passes.
Otterbein's last opportunity on offense came with 9:28 left in the fourth quarter. Schlosser moved the offense from the Otterbein 27-yard line to the Baldwin-Wallace 27 on just six plays.
The Cardinal drive would stall in Yellow Jacket territory. Junior running back Cody Green lost six yards on an option play, and Schlosser threw two incompletions to set the Cardinals up with a fourth down and 15.
Schlosser could not escape the Baldwin-Wallace pressure on fourth down. Senior defensive end Derron Hamilton, the conference sack leader, ended the Cardinal threat by sacking Schlosser.
The Yellow Jackets never gave the ball back. After Otterbein had exhausted all of their timeouts, O'Rourke completed a 25-yard pass to senior wide receiver Dan Turner on a fourth down play with less than three minutes remaining in the game to seal the Baldwin-Wallace victory.
Schlosser finished the evening 26 of 38 for 350 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw a season-high two interceptions.
Fairchild, who entered the game as the NCAA Division III leader in all-purpose yards, added 154 yards receiving on nine catches. He also added 16 yards on punt returns and 84 yards on kickoff returns (254 all-purpose yards).
Senior Steve Kuzyk added seven receptions for 89 yards and one touchdown. Senior tight end Gabe Shively turned in five receptions for 68 yards (both career highs) and one touchdown.
For the first time this season, senior linebacker Shane Centers failed to reach double-digit tackles. However, he led the defensive effort for the Cardinals with a team-high nine tackles. Defensive backs Shea Brintlinger and Anthony Korpieski added eight tackles apiece.
Otterbein returns to action next Saturday, Oct. 15, when they host cross-town rival Capital. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.