WOOSTER, Ohio – Senior Gary Muntean accounted for 439 yards of total offense and four scores, and The College of Wooster football team's defense came away with three takeaways – one of which was a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown by freshman Cam Pollard – as the Fighting Scots picked up their fourth win of the season with a 38-28 triumph over visiting Oberlin College in North Coast Athletic Conference action on Saturday afternoon at John P. Papp Stadium.
|Freshman Cam Pollard (8) is congratulated by junior Hunter Coia (28) after Pollard's second quarter interception return that went for a touchdown to put Wooster up 14-7.|
Wooster (4-2, 3-2 NCAC) gave up a 79-yard touchdown pass from Zach Taylor to Ryan Gleeson with 3:32 remaining in the first quarter, but the Scots' defensive unit more than made up for it on the next two possessions, starting with Pollard's pick-six that put Wooster up 14-7 with 13:21 to go before halftime after senior Trevor Bowden knocked in the extra point.
Prior to the interception, junior Russell Boston wiggled free from a Yeomen (2-4, 1-4 NCAC) defender and scampered 22 yards to the end zone on a pass from Muntean that tied the game at seven just over a minute into the second quarter.
On the drive after the interception, Wooster's defense held for a key three-and-out, thanks in large part to junior Trent Leggett and sophomore K.C. Okoronkwo teaming up to stuff Khalil Rivers at the line of scrimmage on a third-and-1 play. Wooster's offense backed that up with an 8-play, 86-yard drive that ended with Muntean knifing in from a yard out to make it 21-7 with 9:12 to go in the opening half. On the drive, two key pass plays kept the chains moving – a 37-yard completion to sophomore Nick Strausbaugh on third-and-3 from Wooster's 33-yard line, and later, a 31-yard reception by sophomore Jason Cerniglia that set up Wooster inside the Oberlin 10-yard line.
Oberlin pulled within a touchdown when Rivers scored from a yard out with 4:34 to go in the half, and the Yeomen were threatening to tie the halftime score at 21, but ran out of time at the Scots' 6-yard line.
Wooster came out of the gate strong in the second half, and began to pull away after a Bowden 25-yard field goal pushed Wooster's lead to 31-14 with 9:09 left in the third quarter. Prior to that, Muntean capped a 9-play, 70-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.
Later in the quarter, Wooster upped its advantage to 38-14 when a 4-yard Muntean-to-Cerniglia touchdown put an exclamation point on an impressive 13-play, 74-yard drive that featured a 40-yard Strausbaugh reception on a third-and-7 play, and a 14-yard catch from junior Cyrus Boardman on a third-and-10 play.
Taylor and the Yeomen tried to play catch-up in the fourth quarter, and Oberlin's signal-caller pulled the team within 10 with 1:03 remaining on a 2-yard touchdown run. Earlier in the fourth, Taylor fired a nice 22-yard touchdown strike to Robby Reinheimer.
For the game, Muntean completed 32-of-41 passes for 363 yards and two scores. Ironically, with the 363 yards passing, Muntean now has games this season of 362 (Ohio Wesleyan University), 363 (today), 364 (Allegheny College), and 365 (DePauw University) yards. During the game, Muntean surpassed 7,000 yards passing for his career, joining former Wooster greats Richard Barnes (2010-14) and Rich Judd (1995-98) in that department, and his 22-yard touchdown pass to Boston marked the 50th touchdown strike of Muntean's career.
Switching to the skill positions, Strausbaugh turned in his fifth-straight 100-yard receiving game as the sophomore sensation bullied his way through the Yeomen's defense with several impressive stiff arms en route to 125 stripes on seven receptions. In fact, Strausbaugh's at 754 yards receiving on the year now, and that's the ninth-most on the program's single-season list.
Wooster's ground game turned in a big day with a season-best 207 yards rushing, 103 of which came courtesy of junior Antonio Bailey, who toted it 19 times for an average of 5.4 yards per touch.
Defensively, senior Patrick Johnson led the charge with a team-high 11 tackles, and he forced a fumble in the third quarter that set up the drive that ended with Bowden's 25-yard field goal. Junior Hunter Coia recovered the fumble, and ironically that was the first fumble recovered by the Scots this season at home as the other two happened on the road.
Pollard back the Scots' lone senior starter on that side of the ball up with eight tackles and the interception, while fellow freshman Beau Greenwood picked off Taylor in the end zone in the fourth quarter and returned it to the 32-yard line.
Taylor was over 300 yards passing as well by game's end, as the sophomore completed 20-of-35 passes for 350 yards and the pair of interceptions and touchdowns. Reinheimer and Gleeson did the bulk of the damage with six receptions for 119 yards and two receptions for 107 yards respectively, while Corey Fussinger nearly had a 100-yard day with seven receptions for 91 stripes.
Defensively, Oberlin's Jubreel Hason logged a game-high 17 tackles, and he had a forced fumble on the afternoon.
Next, Wooster travels to Hiram College (2-4, 1-4 NCAC) for a 1 p.m. kick on Saturday, Oct. 21.