Senior Antonio Bailey scored from five yards out with :06 remaining to break a 21-21 tie and lift The College of Wooster football team to an exciting 27-21 win over North Coast Athletic Conference rival Oberlin College on Saturday afternoon at the Knowlton Complex in Oberlin, Ohio.
With the win, Wooster moves back to .500 on the season at 3-3 and is now 2-3 in the NCAC, while Oberlin is now 1-5 and 1-4 in the league.
Wooster appeared poised to start in good field position for its game-winning drive, as Oberlin was forced to punt the ball away with under three minutes remaining from its own 12-yard line, and the Yeomen averaged 31 yards per boot up to that point. Christian Arnold benefitted from a friendly roll on a 60-yard punt, and Wooster had its work cut out after taking over on its own 28-yard line with 2:40 left and one timeout.
Wooster's stable of running backs did the heavy lifting on the game-winning drive with freshman Troy Baughman logging a 15-yard reception that moved the chains to the 45-yard line. Later, Bailey and sophomore Seth Burke inched the ball closer to the end zone with key 3-yard runs.
Prior to the pair of 3-yard pickups, Wooster caught a break with an automatic first down on an 11-yard Oberlin pass interference penalty on what otherwise would've stood as an incomplete third-down pass.
Later in the drive, Bailey weaved through the first line of defense for a 15-yard gain on a third-and-2 play that moved the ball to the 5-yard line, and two plays later, the senior was in the end zone.
Noteworthy, Bailey's touchdown marked the Scots' first game-winning score in the final 10 seconds since Shaun Swearingen caught a 43-yard touchdown from Bobby Reiff on a Hail Mary pass as time expired during a 27-21 win over Allegheny College on Oct. 21, 2006.
At halftime, Wooster found itself on the wrong side of a 14-0 game despite a relatively-strong first half by the defense. Oberlin's Zach Taylor connected with Brian Colarusso on a 7-yard touchdown strike with 8:40 to go in the second quarter for the game's first score, and Taylor went over the top to Ryan Gleeson for a 64-yard score with :18 left in the half.
Wooster's first-half highlights included a 7-yard strip sack by junior D'Andre Brown that brought a 13-play, 63-yard Oberlin drive to a screeching halt after senior Hunter Coia fell on the pigskin, an interception by sophomore Kea'Shaun Phillips at Wooster's 20-yard line with about 3:00 to go in the opening half, and two other sacks.
Wooster ramped up the intensity in the second half, and it took two offensive plays for the Scots to get on the scoreboard. Freshman Mateo Renteria hooked up with junior Jacob Lewis on a 58-yard touchdown pass and sophomore Henry Whyte chipped in the extra point to make it a 14-7 game 47 ticks into the quarter.
After a three-and-out by the Scots' defense, Wooster pounded the ball down the field with Burke capping a 4-play, 27-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown scamper in what marked the sophomore's first collegiate score.
Wooster capitalized on special teams on the ensuing kickoff as freshman Dylan Lewis pried the ball loose from Jabari Clemons, and Wooster took over on Oberlin's 24-yard line.
Four plays later, junior Nick Strausbaugh put Wooster on top with a 6-yard touchdown grab at the 9:53 mark of the third quarter.
Gleeson sprung free from Wooster's defense for a 37-yard touchdown reception on the final play of the third quarter, and Michael Leshchyshyn tied the game at 21 with the extra point try.
Wooster's defense took over in the fourth quarter, starting with Brown logging his second strip sack of the game, and in déjà vu fashion to the first one, the recovery was credited to Coia.
After Wooster punted the ball away, Oberlin's next drive started strong with Taylor eluding the rush and scrambling for 13 yards on the first play. However, the Yeomen snapped the ball over Taylor's head on the next play. The Yeomen recovered for a first down, but Taylor was quickly swallowed up by juniors Robert Alvarez and Christian Santos on second- and third-down plays that went for a combined loss of 17 yards.
Bailey grinded out his 129 stripes on a career-high 31 totes. His game-winning touchdown marked the 20th rushing one for his career. Renteria completed 23-of-36 passes for 257 yards and the two scores, while 10 different Scots logged a reception
Brown led the charge defensively with a career-high 10 tackles, and he logged his second career two-sack game.
Noteworthy Wooster upped its season total in sacks to 25 with six on the afternoon, and that's the most since the 2013 team had 29 for the full 10-game slate.
Taylor completed 16-of-34 throws for 268 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. Gleeson accounted for half of the Yeomen's receptions and 176 of the yards.
Linebacker Devin White's 15 tackles marked the game-high.
Next, Wooster hosts Hiram College (2-4, 1-4 NCAC) at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20.