/seasons/2017/contrib/20170924fr8fwe

Penalties, Turnovers Costly as Allegheny Falls to OWU

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DELAWARE, Ohio - Thirteen unanswered points in the third quarter proved to be the difference as host Ohio Wesleyan defeated Allegheny 37-21 on a sweltering afternoon at Selby Stadium.

Allegheny (1-3, 0-3 NCAC) totaled 20 more yards of total offense, and nearly doubled up Ohio Wesleyan (1-2, 1-1 NCAC) in both first downs and time of possession, but the Gators couldn't overcome a pair of turnovers and eight penalties enroute to their third straight defeat.

Tyler Balla rushed for 117 yards to top the century mark for the third time in four games, while Tristan Rhoades eclipsed 100 receiving yards for the second consecutive game, hauling in seven passes for 104 yards.  

The two teams traded punts to begin the game, before Ohio Wesleyan took a 3-0 lead on a 37-yard field goal with just inside five minutes remaining in the opening quarter. On the ensuing drive, the Gators were again forced to punt, but Cody Wendt's kick was fumbled, and Clarence Long pounced on the loose ball on the OWU 45.  The Gators looked to take advantage of the miscue, with four Balla rushes advancing the ball inside the red zone as the quarter drew to a close. The drive appeared to stall after a costly 10-yard holding penalty brought up third-and-18, but on the first play of the second quarter, quarterback Logan Lee found Ben Bachik for an 19-yard gain to set up first down on the 11.  The drive would abruptly stall two plays later, as Lee was intercepted by Nick Sala, who returned it 76 yards to the Allegheny 12.  Three plays later, OWU's Travon Wilkes rumbled in from three yards out to give the hosts a 10-0 lead.

The Gators bounced back, embarking on another lengthy drive to cut into the deficit.  A 12-yard run by Alex Victor and completions of 15 and 20 yards from Lee to Rhoades set up first-and-goal on the OWU eight, before Balla closed out the drive with a three-yard touchdown run, with Zach Bednarowicz's extra point cutting the gap to 10-7 with 7:40 left in the half.

Both teams' subsequent drives would end without points, before OWU would add on to its lead with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Brian Berry to Hunter Bayker pushing the Battling Bishops in front 17-7.  

Allegheny would immediately respond to regain the momentum entering halftime.  Taking over at their own 16 after the kickoff, a pair of Balla runs netted 24 yards to advance to the 40, before a 15-yard scramble from Lee moved the ball into OWU territory. After back-to-back passes from Lee to Bachik netted 21 yards, Lee completed a 24-yard pass to Rhoades, who was brought down just shy of the goal line.  :Two plays later, Lee found Bachik in the end zone for the touchdown with less than five seconds left, pulling the Gators to within three, 17-14, at the break.

The Gators opened the second half by picking up first downs on three of their first four plays, and advanced inside the OWU 20.  However, a 15-yard facemask penalty would prove costly, and Allegheny was unable to gain its first lead of the game after a turnover on downs.  Ohio Wesleyan quickly countered, needing just six plays to march 69 yards, taking a 23-14 lead on a 43-yard run by AJ Jones.

Allegheny was forced to punt on its next two possessions, and OWU added to its lead on a 57-yard touchdown pass from Berry to Mher Tcholakian to go in front 30-14 with 1:40 left in the third quarter.

On the third play of the fourth quarter, the Gators' Colten Buzard forced a Berry fumble, which was recovered by Jonah Tanner at the OWU 33.  On the next snap,however, the Battling Bishops would get the ball right back on an interception by Ben Rubel on their own nine yard line.  The hosts would then essentially put the game away by marching 91 yards in 10 plays, capped off with a four-yard touchdown run by Jones, to go up 37-14 with just over eight minutes left in regulation.

Seeing his first extended action of the season, Nazareth Greer would lead the Gators on their final scoring drive of the afternoon.  On his third snap of the afternoon facing third-and-9, Greer hooked up with Ben Bachik, who made a diving grab for a 46-yard gain.  A 24-yard pass to Austin French set up first-and-goal on the nine, before Greer and French would connect again for a three-yard touchdown pass to close out the day's scoring with 4:57 left to play.

Lee completed 23 of 41 attempts for 200 yards, before Greer came on to complete four passes for 82 yards.  In addition to Rhoades' 104 receiving yards, Bachik finished with six catches for 94 yards, while Balla hauled in five catches for 20 yards.  Defensively, Chase Balla made a team-leading seven tackles, including five solos, while also breaking up a pair of passes. Long was credited with six solo stops, and Freddy Ruiz five, while Buzard also had five stops, including a first quarter sack, to go with his forced fumble. 

Jones led the Battling Bishops with 121 yards on 10 carries, while Berry completed 15 of 24 passes for 230 yards and two scores.  

For the game, Allegheny out-gained Ohio Wesleyan 426-406 in total offense, while the Gators had 26 first downs to the Battling Bishop's 16.  Allegheny also owned a commanding edge in time of possession, holding the ball for 37 of the game's 60 minutes.  The Gators were stung by 10 penalties for 89 yards, while Allegheny also surrendered five quarterback sacks for a total of 38 yards.

The Gators will return to action on Saturday, Sept. 30, when they welcome NCAC foe Hiram to Frank B. Fuhrer Field for a 5 p.m. kickoff

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