Andrew Woodley -- Otterbein Sports Information
WESTERVILLE, Ohio – The No. 25 Cardinals received a three-touchdown performance from junior quarterback Ben Sizemore and remained unbeaten with a 23-13 win over Muskingum University Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.
Otterbein University improves to 5-0 overall, and remains in a three-way tie for first place in the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) at 4-0. Both Heidelberg University (5-0, 4-0 OAC) and the University of Mount Union (5-0, 4-0 OAC) picked up convincing wins Saturday to stay undefeated. The loss drops the Fighting Muskies to 1-3 in the OAC, 1-4 overall.
Sizemore was called into action after senior quarterback, and reigning OAC Offensive Player of the Week, Aaron Kingcade left the game with an injury in the first quarter. Sizemore went on the complete 12 of 21 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Cards to the victory.
The Otterbein defense had another strong showing. They limited the Muskies to only three third down conversions on 12 attempts and forced four turnovers, including three interceptions. Senior defensive back Anthony Korpieski recorded his third interception of the season and also forced and recovered a fumble for the Cardinals.
Muskingum outgained Otterbein 320 to 275 in total offense, but the Muskies committed eight penalties that resulted in 87 yards. Four of Muskingum's eight penalties gave Otterbein first downs.
The Cardinals opened up the scoring when Sizemore connected with senior wide receiver Trey Fairchild for a 28-yard touchdown on Sizemore's first pass of the game. A failed point after try (PAT) put Otterbein up 6-0 with 5:57 left in the first quarter.
The Cards next score was a result of the offense getting a second chance. Facing 4th down and 14, Otterbein freshman punter Jordan Keaton drew a roughing the kicker penalty to extend the Cardinal drive.
On the very next play, Sizemore tossed a 62-yard catch-and-run touchdown to junior wide receiver Steven Carpenter to put Otterbein up 13-0 with 2:38 left in the opening frame.
The Fighting Muskies answered back with a 6-play 70-yard drive of their own that culminated with a 10-yard touchdown run by Muskie sophomore quarterback Alex Meridith. The score narrowed the Cardinal lead to six with 28 seconds left in the first quarter.
However Muskingum would not get any closer as the Cardinals rattled off the next 10 points to pull comfortably ahead and take the victory.
Otterbein was limited to just 64 yards rushing for the game but managed to hold a sizeable advantage in time of possession. The Cardinals held the ball for nearly 34 minutes of the game.
Carpenter led the Otterbein receivers with 88 yards and a touchdown on four catches. Fairchild finished with three catches for 77 yards and a score.
Junior defensive end Zack Grieves led the defense with eight tackles (all solo). Senior linebackers Tyler Mautz and Wes McKeever each intercepted a pass for the Cardinals.
Sophomore place-kicker Alana Gaither converted her first career field goal attempt from 18 yards out. Gaither is 10 of 11 on PATs this season.
Otterbein will head to Tiffin to face off with Heidelberg next Saturday, Oct. 13, for the 21st renewal of the Rhine River Classic. Kick off for the Rhine River Cup is scheduled for 2 p.m.