WOOSTER, Ohio – For the first time since 2000, The College of Wooster football team blanked its opponent in the program's North Coast Athletic Conference opener, as the Fighting Scots shut out visiting Oberlin College 17-0 on Saturday afternoon at John P. Papp Stadium.
Wooster (2-0, 1-0 NCAC) senior defensive tackle D'Andre Brown set the tone on the game's first play, stopping Oberlin (0-2, 0-1 NCAC) ball carrier Kobe Brooks for no gain, and the Yeomen couldn't muster any sustained success offensively at any juncture in the game. The Yeomen snapped off 17 plays in the opening quarter, but Oberlin chalked up just 19 yards. Two other totes by Brooks were halted at the line of scrimmage, while freshman Matt Ulishney blew up yet another swing pass. This time, the Scots sensational rookie shoved his blocker right into the Yeomen's Brian Colarusso, who hit the turf for no gain on a first-and-10 play.
Senior Jacob Lewis was the early offensive hero for the Scots, as his 28-yard reception came on a third-and-10 play from Oberlin's 41-yard line. Wooster worked the ball down to Oberlin's 4-yard line before freshman Lake Barrett's 22-yard field goal opened the scoring with 6:18 left in the opening half.
Just before halftime, Wooster senior defensive end Robert Alvarez chased down a scrambling Chris Allen Jr., and the Scots' veteran stripped the ball from the Yeomen's rookie signal-caller. Junior Kea'Shaun Phillips was first to the pigskin, and he scooped it up and scampered down to Oberlin's 13-yard line before Colarusso closed in for the tackle with 32 ticks left on the first-half clock.
Four plays later, sophomore Troy Baughman was in the end zone after a 3-yard run, and Barrett's extra point upped the ante to 10-0 at the half.
In the third quarter, Wooster junior Bryce Gresham caught a pass from sophomore Mateo Renteria, side stepped Oberlin's corner, and then was off to the races en route to a 55-yard touchdown. Barrett's ensuing extra point capped the game's scoring with 3:08 left in the period.
Oberlin was on the move at the end of the third quarter, and was inside Wooster's 30-yard line, only to have junior Kobe Matesic ring in the start of the fourth quarter with an eight-yard sack. That sack yardage proved huge two plays later, as Ceiveon Muñoz was unable to keep his footing on his fourth-and-20 reception, resulting in the Yeomen coming up a yard shy of the first-down marker.
Wooster was faced with a third-and-10 on its ensuing drive, and Renteria came to the rescue to move the chains. The Scots' signal-caller's Madden-like footwork was on full display, as the sophomore ducked, weaved, spun, and regained his balance to turn what was shaping up to be a massive sack into a 24-yard gain. Alas the Scots' eventually were forced to punt the ball away.
While the Scots didn't sack Allen Jr. on the Yeomen's final drive, it was ultimately Wooster's pass rush that preserved the shutout. Senior Christian Santos forced Allen Jr. to hurry his pass on the Yeomen's third-and-10 play, and freshman Brandon Holt did likewise on Oberlin's fourth-down try.
Renteria completed 22-of-38 passes on the day for 258 yards, a score, and an interception. Baughman was the go-to target on the afternoon with a co-game-high seven receptions, while Gresham's 71 yards led all players. Baughman toted the ball 21 times for 60 yards.
Defensively, Phillips led the Scots with eight tackles, a sack, and the fumble recovery, while Ulishney added five solo stops and two pass breakups.
Allen Jr. went 17-of-35 for 165 yards for the Yeomen, with Brandon Davies catching seven passes for 58 yards. Brooks did the heavy lifting on the ground with 21 carries for 66 yards.
Oberlin's Devin White's 10 tackles marked the game-high, while Malachi Clemons was in on nine stops.
Noteworthy, Wooster held Oberlin to 212 total yards, 47 yards on the ground, and 10 first downs.
Wooster's last shutout in the NCAC-opener was against Kenyon College in 2000. The Scots won that game 23-0.
Next, Wooster hits the road for the first time on Saturday, September 21. The Scots are at Wittenberg University (1-1, 1-0 NCAC) for a 4:30 p.m. tilt.