|The "Old Red Lantern"|
The College of Wooster football team (5-3, 4-3 North Coast Athletic Conference), which secured at least a .500 finish for the second straight season with a 41-0 shutout over Kenyon College, heads to Denison University (6-2, 6-1 NCAC) on Saturday. Kickoff is now set for 5 p.m., due to the possibility of Denison hosting the championship game of the NCAC Field Hockey Tournament. Wooster is coming off of its first shutout since 2010, while Denison dispatched Hiram College 48-20 behind 377 yards rushing in its most recent outing.
All-Time Series: Wooster leads the all-time series 40-39-7, while the all-time series since the "Old Red Lantern" has been awarded is now tied up at 11-11-1. Wooster logged a 10-game winning streak in the series from 1995-2010, but prior to that, Denison went 10-0-1 from 1984-94. Denison has a five-game lead (16-11-1) in the series since the NCAC was formed. Notable, Wooster's first three varsity intercollegiate games came against Denison, and the Scots shutout the Big Red in all three contests by scores of 48-0 (1889), 50-0 (1889), and 58-0 (1890).
"Old Red Lantern" History: The "Old Red Lantern" trophy started being awarded to the winner of the game in 1989 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first meeting between Wooster and Denison. The two teams originally traveled to the games by rail, so the lantern was chosen to represent the series' pastime.
Last Meeting: Senior Antonio Bailey's (Duluth, Ga./Meadowcreek) 14-yard touchdown run pushed Wooster ahead of Denison 14-13 early in the third quarter before the Big Red scored the next 23 points en route to a 36-26 victory over the Scots. With the win, Denison maintained possession of the "Old Red Lantern" for the fourth consecutive year. Alumnus Gary Muntean completed 26-of-52 passes for 347 yards and a pair of scores. During the game, the signal-caller broke his own single-season record for yards of total offense, and went into the season finale at 2,939 yards passing - one shy of his then-single-season school record set in 2016. Wooster's defense held Denison standout running back Alex Minton to 94 yards on 20 carries.
Offense Notes: Junior Nick Strausbaugh (Fredericksburg, Ohio/Waynedale) surpassed 2,000 yards receiving on Saturday in just his 18th collegiate game. The standout wideout surpassed the milestone during a spectacular 40-yard reception while being double covered just before halftime against Kenyon. Strausbaugh finished the game with six receptions for 169 yards, 63 of which came on a third-quarter touchdown. Strausbaugh's now at 2,114 yards receiving, and that's third all-time behind Brandon Good (2,838; 1995-98) and Chris Cabot (2,302; 1998-01). In fact, Strausbaugh's at 799 yards this season, and with one more yard, he'll join Cabot as the only Scots with multiple 800-yard seasons. Bailey, who logged three rushing touchdowns during last Saturday's win, is at 23 for his career, and he'll move into the program's all-time top-10 with his next rushing touchdown. The last Scot with more rushing touchdowns than Bailey was alumnus Austin Holter, who ran it in 24 times from 2006-09.
Defense Notes: Wooster's one of 44 teams in NCAA Div. III to allow under 100 yards rushing this season. However, the Scots will have to contend with the NCAC's top rushing offense this week, as Denison leads the league and is 22nd nationally with 252 yards per game on the ground. Last week, Wooster book-ended its shutout with interceptions. Sophomore Beau Greenwood (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon) logged his third pick of the season on Kenyon's opening drive, and freshman Dexter Lewis (Caledonia, Ohio/Upper Arlington) snared his first pick in the corner of the end zone with 3:08 remaining. Wooster upped its sack total to 31 on the season, and the Scots' 3.88 per game is 10th nationally. Freshman Kellen Calhoun (Tipp City, Ohio/Bethel) and senior Cornelius Gyamfi (Atlanta, Ga./Chamblee) logged the Scots' sacks against Kenyon. Ten different players have logged a sack for the Scots this year, and that marks the most since 12 Wooster defenders had at least one sack in 2013, while two others logged a half sack.
Special Teams Notes: Wooster recorded its second takeaway of the season on kickoff coverage during last Saturday's win, and overall it marked the third takeaway of the season on special teams. Freshman Sky Crain (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford Mendon) knocked the ball loose from Kenyon's Sean Garrett on a fourth-quarter kickoff return, and classmate Eric Kraus (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon) recovered the pigskin. Kraus recovered the fumble on the Scots' other kickoff coverage takeaway, and that one came at Oberlin College on Oct. 13.
This and That: With the shutout over Kenyon, Wooster's held two opponents below 10 points on the season, a first since 2011. In 2011, Wooster beat Oberlin 14-3, Ohio Wesleyan University 10-6, and Kenyon 31-3. Last year marked the first time Wooster played Denison in November since 2003. Holter, a standout quarterback for the Scots from 2006-09, is in his sixth year as the Big Red's offensive coordinator and his ninth season on the staff at Denison.