Sophomore quarterback Mason Espinosa fired 5 touchdown passes to match the second-highest single-game performance in Ohio Wesleyan history as the Bishops defeated Hiram in North Coast Athletic Conference play on Saturday in Hiram.
Hiram took an early lead, converting 3 straight third-down situations during a game-opening drive that covered 54 yards in 12 plays before stalling at the Bishop 21-yard line. Greg Klisuric came on and booted a 39-yard field goal to give the Terriers a 3-0 lead.
That lead would be short-lived, however, as Espinosa connected with sophomore split end Dave Mogilnicki for a 68-yard scoring strike on the first play from scrimmage for a 7-3 Ohio Wesleyan advantage.
The Terriers answered with another long drive. Hiram quarterback Brandon Hanna, who had hit Shaun Zalewski for a 35-yard completion to help set up the earlier field goal, found Zalewski again for 22 yards to move the ball into Ohio Wesleyan territory, but the drive ended when sophomore cornerback Chris Wilson picked off a Hanna pass in the end zone to preserve the Bishop lead.
Ohio Wesleyan erupted for 4 touchdowns in the second quarter to put the game out of reach, starting with an 8-yard toss from Espinosa to sophomore tight end Erik Wall on the first play of the period.
After junior linebacker Tyler Sheetz gave the Bishops the ball back with an interception at the Ohio Wesleyan 38-yard line, Espinosa completed 5 straight passes to put the Bishops back in the end zone, hitting Mogilnicki for 16 yards, freshman halfback Kevin Herman on plays of 19 and 5 yards, and freshman split end Scott Jenkins for 17 more before finishing the drive with a 6-yard strike to senior tight end Pat Embleton with 11:31 left in the first half.
Senior safety Kyle Karczynski recovered a Caleb Jones fumble at the Hiram 31, and 3 plays later, the Bishops were back in the end zone, courtesy of an Espinosa-to-Wall connection for 12 yards that increased the Ohio Wesleyan lead to 28-3 with 9:18 to play in the half.
The torrent of turnovers continued on Hiram's next play from scrimmage, when sophomore defensive back Leonard Gleaves picked off a Hanna pass at the Terrier 33-yard line. A penalty moved the ball back to the Hiram 48, but it would not matter Espinosa and Mogilnicki combined a 48-yard TD pass for their second one-play scoring drive of the day and a 35-3 Bishop lead with 9:02 remaining in the half.
Ohio Wesleyan extended its lead to 42-3 by driving for a score on the opening possession of the second half, with freshman fullback Garrison Davis and freshman fullback Kevin Mulumba rumbling for first downs, Espinosa hitting Herman for a first down at the Terrier 8-yard line, and Mulumba covering the final 8 yards on 2 carries for a 42-3 Ohio Wesleyan lead. Davis added a 4-yard scoring run later in the quarter to stretch the Bishop lead to 49-3.
Hiram tacked on a safety in the fourth quarter to account for the 49-5 final.
Espinosa completed 19 of 26 passes for 325 yards and 5 TDs, and lost 15 yards on a sack and a rush. The 325 yards passing moved his season total to a school-record 2388 yards, while the 310 yards of total offense moved his season total to a school-record 2384 yards. The 5 TD passes raised his season total to 16, tying the school record set by Dave Hornbeck in 1961 and tied by Dick Cromwell in 1967, and his career total to 28, tying Steve Chase for third place on the Bishop list.
Herman led the Bishops with 5 catches for 60 yards, while Mogilnicki made 4 catches for 138 yards and 2 scores. Davis gained a team-high 64 yards on 11 rushes.
Sheetz had a team-high 10 tackles, including 1 for loss, and an interception. Junior tackle Tyler Swary recorded 5 stops.
Hanna completed 4 of 15 passes for 75 yards and 3 interceptions, and Bryan Greenwell completed 7 of 19 throws for 47 yards.
Jon Hull led the Terriers with 14 tackles.