MEADVILLE, Pa. – The College of Wooster football team was unable to sustain its strong start, with Allegheny College scoring 24 unanswered points in its 24-14 win over the Fighting Scots on Saturday afternoon at Frank B. Fuhrer Field.
Wooster (5-4, 4-4 North Coast Athletic Conference) drove 77 yards in eight plays on its opening drive, which ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Mateo Renteria to senior Nick Strausbaugh. That marked Strausbaugh's 30th career touchdown reception, and he's now tied with Brandon Good (1995-98) for the most in program history.
Allegheny (3-6, 3-5 NCAC) drove down to Wooster's 4-yard line on its second possession before that drive stalled. Freshman Matt Ulishney dropped Austin French for a loss of two on a third-and-1 snap that took place in the wildcat formation. Allegheny, which ran the ball effectively for most of the afternoon, turned to two-way standout Chase Balla on fourth down, and seniors Nick Barto-Brown and Robert Alvarez were able to drag him down shy of the marker.
Wooster upped its lead to 14-0 with 11:19 in the second quarter. Sophomore Troy Baughman broke through the right side for a 10-yard run, and freshman Lake Barrett knocked the extra point through. That capped a quick two-play, 12-yard drive, as the Scots took over inside the red zone after a wild snap on the Gators' punt attempt netted a loss of 23 yards. Wooster freshman Sky Crain closed in on Marcus Wolf in time to keep him from getting a kick off after he tracked down the errant snap.
The Gators halved the lead with 7:38 to go in the opening half. On that score, Nazareth Greer flipped a quick shovel pass to Alex Victor, and the Gators shifty receiver was off to races for a 10-yard score.
Sophomore Angelo Petracci's big play kept Allegheny off the scoreboard momentarily as the second quarter was nearing halftime. The linebacker was all who stood between Greer and the end zone on a quarterback keeper. Allegheny called timeout after its signal-caller was knocked down at the 2-yard line, and Balla came through on the other end with a 2-yard touchdown run. Nick Leinenweber's extra point tied the game at 14 with 1:18 left in the opening half.
Trey Adams' 3-yard rush with 10:24 left in the third quarter gave Allegheny the lead, and Leinenweber made it a two-score game thanks to a 30-yard field goal with 6:41 left in the contest.
Wooster opened its ensuing drive up with a 45-yard Renteria-to-Strausbaugh completion, which moved the pigskin to Allegheny's 31, and then Quinten Hunt picked off the Scots' signal-caller on a contested play inside the Gators' 10-yard line. Josh Miller intercepted Renteria's next pass attempt at the Gators' 1-yard line with 3:37 remaining. After the Gators' second pick of the day, Victor went for 37 yards on a reverse that sealed the win for the Gators.
Baughman and Strausbaugh were the bright spots offensively for Wooster. Baughman rushed for 93 yards on 15 carries, with 34 on the stripes coming on a carry on Wooster's opening drive. Strausbaugh finished with 105 yards on seven receptions.
Defensively, Petracci (14), sophomore Eric Kraus (11), Ulishney (11), and Alvarez (10) all finished with double-digit tackles for the Scots.
Greer completed 13-of-18 throws for 155 yards for Allegheny, but it was the Gators ground-and-pound game that did the damage. Allegheny toted the ball 62 times for 273 net yards. Tonye Hamilton (97 yards), Balla (82 yards), and Adams (71 yards) were the three primary backs on the afternoon.
Balla was equally as effective on defense with 10 tackles and a forced fumbled, while Hunt finished with seven tackles, the interception, and three breakups.
Next, Wooster closes out its season at Hiram College (0-9, 0-8 NCAC). Kickoff from Hiram is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 16.