Picked off, blocked out: First losses for Alfred, Wabash

More news about: Cortland | Ohio Wesleyan
Dezmund Hunter interception
Dezmund Hunter intercepts Alfred quarterback Casey Boston in the end zone, touching off a celebration at Cortland.
Photo by Rich Barnes, Cortland Standard, for Cortland athletics

Two games on Saturday afternoon came down to the final result just minutes apart, and each of them resulted in a team picking up its first loss, as No. 17 fell at Cortland in overtime and No. 20 Wabash lost at home to Ohio Wesleyan.

Ohio Wesleyan's Kyle Hogan blocked Wabash kicker Schuyler Nehrig's 32-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the game, preserving a 16-13 win for Ohio Wesleyan, while Dezmund Hunter intercepted a pass in the end zone to give Cortland a 20-17 overtime win vs. Alfred.

Cortland had struck first in overtime as William Holscher converted a 20-yard field goal. The Red Dragons (4-2, 1-1 Empire 8) had a drive stall after Steven Ferreira ran for 22 yards on the first five plays of the extra session. Alfred had the ball at the Cortland 10, but Dylan Ferrari beat a double-team and blindsided quarterback Casey Boston for a sack, setting up third-and-15. Boston's next pass was the interception which ended the game.

Cortland had tied the game with 2:45 left in regulation, as Johnnie Akins plowed ahead for a touchdown to make it 17-17. Akins ran for 43 of the 62 yards on the drive. Ferreira was 18-of-32 passing for 196 yards and a score and ran for 53 yards on 17 carries.

The Saxons went up 17-10 on a 1-yard pass from Boston to tight end Jake Toomey with 7:09 remaining in the third quarter to cap a 13-play, 77-yard drive to open the period. Cortland missed a chance to cut into the Alfred lead as Holscher missed on a pair of 44-yard field goal attempts in the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter. Alfred's defense came up with third-down sacks on both of those possessions to push Cortland back to those long attempts.

Cortland's defense, however, allowed only one combined first down on Alfred's two possessions following the missed field goals. Cortland finished the game with a 359-279 advantage in total offense despite Alfred holding a 32:50-27:10 edge in time of possession.

For Wabash, the blocked field goal came at the end of an adventuresome day for Nehrig. He'd opened the scoring with a 43-yard field goal late in the first quarter and added a field goal early in the third to cut OWU's lead to 10-6. But when Wabash lined up for a third field goal attempt, Hogan blocked it, and Nehrig recovered it and ran it in for a touchdown. After Hogan's second block, Michael Smosny covered the ball to end the game.

Weston Murphy was limited to 13-for-32 passing and was picked off once, while the Battling Bishops defense held Ike James to 87 yards on 24 carries. Brian Berry threw the game's only touchdown on a regular scrimmage play, as he hit Hunter Baker for a 21-yard pass in the second quarter, while the third of Anthony Sanfillipo's three field goals game with 3:46 left and was the game-winner for Ohio Wesleyan (3-3, 3-2 NCAC).

The win was Ohio Wesleyan's first over Wabash since 1989, breaking a 13-game losing streak to the Little Giants.

Here's a look at the blocked kick turned touchdown for kicker Schuyler Nehrig: 

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