“Old Red Lantern” On Line in Home Finale

Jack Marousek

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The College of Wooster (6-2, 5-2 North Coast Athletic Conference), which secured its first above .500 finish since 2013 with last Saturday's 51-41 win at Kenyon College now turns its attention towards recapturing the "Old Red Lantern," which has been in Denison University's (5-3, 4-3 NCAC) possession since 2014. Kickoff for this week's home finale is set for 1 p.m.

Denison is looking to up its current win streak to three, and most recently dispatched Hiram College 45-14 at home on Saturday night.

On the Air: MCTV will carry this week's contest online at https://portal.stretchinternet.com/wooster. MCTV customers living in Wayne and Stark Counties can also catch the replay in standard definition on Ch. 22 at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, 12 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, and 3 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, or watch in high definition over on Ch. 621 at 8 p.m. on Saturday, 9 a.m. on Sunday, and 9 p.m. on Monday. WKVX 960 AM will carry this week's contest live and online at http://wqkt.com.

All-Time Series: Wooster leads the all-time series 40-38-7, but Denison holds a 13-8-1 lead since the "Old Red Lantern" started being awarded to the winner. Wooster had a 10-game winning streak in the series from 1995-2010, but prior to that, Denison went 10-0-1 from 1984-94. Denison holds a slight 15-11-1 edge during the existence of the NCAC. Notable, Wooster's first three varsity intercollegiate games in program history came against Denison, and the Scots shutout the Big Red in all three contests by scores of 48-0, 50-0, and 58-0.

Last Meeting: On Sept. 24, 2016 Denison held Wooster's offense in check and utilized a 28-point third quarter to retain possession of the "Old Red Lantern" for the third straight year with a 45-7 win. The two defenses combined for 13 sacks for a loss of 90 yards in the game, with the Big Red recording nine of the 13 sacks.

"Old Red Lantern" History: The "Old Red Lantern" tradition began in 1989 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first meeting between Wooster and Denison. The two teams used to travel to the games by rail, so the lantern was chosen to represent the series' pastime.

Offense Notes: Nick Strausbaugh (Fredericksburg, Ohio/Waynedale) became the second receiver in program history to surpass 1,000 yards in a season, and the sophomore's 1,031 yards trail only Richie McNally's 1,060 from 2004. During Saturday's win, Strausbaugh recorded four receiving touchdowns with the final one matching the single-game (4) and single-season (13) program records. In fact, Strausbaugh is already tied for fifth on Wooster's career receiving touchdown list with 13 touchdowns. Strausbaugh enters the week third in Div. III in receiving yards and touchdowns, and he's 19 yards behind the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse's Nick Holcomb and a touchdown behind Franklin College's Deontez Alexander and Holcomb for the national lead. Senior Gary Muntean (Poland, Ohio/Struthers) threw his 60th career touchdown pass in Saturday's win, and that moved Muntean past W Association Hall of Famer Rich Judd for the most in program history. Muntean now has five games this season with at least four passing touchdowns and has thrown nine over the last two games. Thanks to a career-high 457 yards rushing, Muntean is within sight of his single-season record for total offense set last year at 3,140 yards, as the senior enters play this week with 3,049 yards of total offense on the year. Muntean is also two yards shy of 300 from matching Richard Barnes' school record of 8,832 yards of total offense.

Defense Notes: Freshman Cam Pollard (Cleveland, Ohio/John Hay) recorded a spectacular interception last week and that marked the Scots' 10th of the year, a total currently second in the NCAC, and the exact same number Wooster had last year. The Black and Gold's next pick will mark the most Wooster's had since 2013, when the Scots' recorded 17. Senior Patrick Johnson (Homewood, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor) is tied for the conference lead with three interceptions, and he also leads Wooster in tackles with 53. Wooster currently has a three-way tie for second on the team in tackles at 51. Wooster's defense recorded two sacks in the win at Kenyon and now has eight over the last two games. Junior Marcus Bowers (Roseville, Mich./Fraser) turned in a loss of 12 on his sack against the Lords. Freshman Twyan Reynolds (Columbus, Ohio/Harvest Prep School) saved a potential scoring drive late in the third quarter against Kenyon by forcing a fumbled that rolled out of the end zone for a Wooster touchback.

Special Teams Notes: Senior Trevor Bowden (Eatonton, Ga./Gatewood Schools) knocked 41-yard field goal through the uprights in Saturday's win marking a season-long. Bowden's now at 184 points for his career, and that's the eighth-most in program history and most since Dustin Sheppard scored 204 career points between the 2005-08 seasons. In fact, Bowden's 184 points are the second-most by a kicker in program history and trails McNally's 327 between 2001-04. However, only 253 of McNally's 327 points came via field goals and point-after tries as McNally also played wide receiver. Freshman Drake Pence (Lexington, Ohio/East Knox) now leads the special teams with nine tackles, eight of which have come in kick coverage. Classmate Mark Herron (Youngstown, Ohio/Chaney) has emerged as a key contributor there as well with seven tackles in kick coverage.