2018 Season Comes to a Close Saturday at Home Versus No. 21 Wittenberg

Steve Maryo
Steve Maryo

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It's nearly time to reach for the tissues as another season will be in the books come late Saturday afternoon, as The College of Wooster football team (5-4, 4-4 North Coast Athletic Conference) closes out its 2018 season against No. 21 Wittenberg University (8-1, 7-1 NCAC) on Saturday, Nov. 10. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m., and prior to the game, the Scots will recognize their 12 senior student-athletes. Wooster will be looking to bounce back from a 66-18 loss at Denison University (7-2, 7-1 NCAC), and a win by the Scots has the potential to deny the Tigers a share of the NCAC title, as Wittenberg enters the week in a three-way tie for first-place in the conference with Denison and Wabash College (8-1, 7-1 NCAC). Wittenberg dispatched Ohio Wesleyan Unviersity (3-6, 3-5 NCAC) 42-13 on Saturday.

Live Coverage: 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 with first airings scheduled for Ch. 22 (SD) at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Ch. 621 (HD) at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Fans are encouraged to check local listings for additional replay times. WKVX 960 AM will carry this week's contest live and online at https://wqkt.com.

All-Time Series: Wittenberg leads the all-time series, which dates back to 1912, 39-12-1. The Tigers have won the last nine meetings, and hold an 18-9-0 all-time record in Wooster. Wooster last won 27-6 in 2008.

Last Meeting: Alumnus quarterback Gary Muntean surpassed 3,000 yards passing on the season, and broke Wooster's career record for yards of total offense on a 79-yard touchdown pass to junior Nick Strausbaugh (Fredericksburg, Ohio/Waynedale), but the Scots were unable to overcome a trio of early interceptions during a 47-21 loss at No. 12 Wittenberg. Muntean turned in a 16-for-26 line for 226 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions in his final game in a Scots' uniform. The senior capped his career as the program's career leader in yards of total offense (9,041), passing yards (8,295), passing touchdowns (65), completion percentage (62.1), and passing efficiency points (145.6).

Offense Notes: Strausbaugh enters the week with 914 yards receiving, and should he reach 1,000 on the year, it'll mark just the third time in program history the Scots would have a 1,000-yard receiver. Of course, Strausbaugh has one of the two 1,000-yard receiving seasons in program history, thanks to his single-season school record of 1,315 from last season. Richie McNally's 1,060 yards in 2004 is the only other 1,000-yard season in program history. In fact, Strausbaugh's 914 yards are the third-most in a single season in program history. The standout logged his 12th career 100-yard game at Denison on Saturday. Senior Antonio Bailey (Duluth, Ga./Meadowcreek) scored his seventh rushing touchdown of the season at Denison, and he's now had at least seven touchdowns on the ground in each of the last three seasons. The touchdown marked the 24th rushing one of Bailey's career, and he's now in the program's all-time top 10 list. The four-year starter heads into his final game with 2,330 career yards rushing.

Defense Notes: Heading into the season, sixth-year head coach Frank Colaprete was looking for the Scots' defense to take big strides in key statistical areas, most importantly scoring defense and total defense. Entering the week, Wooster's held the opposition to 27.4 points per game, with that effort being headlined by a 41-0 shutout over Kenyon College two weeks ago, in what marked the Scots' first shutout since 2010. Should Wooster finish the year allowing fewer than 30 points per game, it'll mark a first for the program since 2012. Wooster's allowed 376.3 yards of total offense per game this season thanks in large part to a vastly improved rushing defense that's held the opposition to 113.3 yards per game on the ground. The Scots could very well finish the season allowing the fewest yards per game on the ground since the early 2010s. While Wooster didn't have a sack during last week's game at Denison, the Scots still rank in the top-25 in Div. III in sacks per game at 3.44. Wooster's 20 takeaways on the season are the most since the Scots logged 28 in 2013 - Colaprete's first season as the Scots' head coach.

Special Teams Notes: Freshman - and local product - Cole Hissong (Shreve, Ohio/Triway) is tied for the team lead in special teams tackles with eight, seven of which have come on kickoff coverage. Classmate Eric Kraus (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon) has been the Scots' coverage MVP this season on special teams evidenced by a co-team-best eight tackles and both of Wooster's fumble recoveries on kickoff coverage. 

This and That: Wooster's in search of its first win in the season finale since its historic 28-27 come-from-behind victory over Ohio Wesleyan University on Nov. 16, 2013. In that game, Darrian Owens caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Richard Barnes with :40 remaining, then Shawn Bowman blocked OWU's 47-yard field goal attempt with no time left. Wooster trailed 27-7 early in the fourth quarter before storming back for touchdowns on its final three drives. Wooster's 12 member senior class is comprised of: wide receiver Connor Allan (East Aurora, N.Y./East Aurora), Bailey, wide receiver Cyrus Boardman (Bel Air, Md./Archbishop Curley), wide receiver Russell Boston (Pittsburgh, Pa./Liberty (Wash.)), defensive tackle Marcus Bowers (Roseville, Mich./Fraser), linebacker Hunter Coia (Oldsmar, Fla./Canterbury), defensive back Derrick Florence (Jacksonville, Fla./Paxon School), defensive end Cornelius Gyamfi (Atlanta, Ga./Chamblee), left tackle Matt Hartzell (Washington, Pa./Bishop Canevin), center Trent Leggett (Waynesburg, Ohio/Carrollton), defensive end Steve Maryo (Middleburg Hts., Ohio/Berea-Midpark), and tight end Conor Shimabukuro (Columbia, Md./Wilde Lake).