BEREA, Ohio – Sophomore quarterback Jake Hudson (East Lake, Fla.) passed for 296 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two more scores as the Baldwin Wallace University football team defeated Ohio Athletic Conference rival Ohio Northern University, 31-21, in its season finale on Tressel Field inside The George Finnie Stadium on Seniors' & Parents; Day before 2,776 fans.
The Polar Bears (5-5, 5-4 OAC) led 14-7 after one quarter, 21-10 at halftime and 21-17 after three periods. BW (3-7, 2-7 OAC) outgained ONU by a 423-277 margin, including a 296-143 advantage through the air.
Hudson, who started his seventh straight game at QB, completed 18 of 28 passes for a career-high 296 yards with two TD's and ran the ball 16 times for 47 with scoring runs of 11 and 6 yards. In addition, junior running back Austin Smith (Broadview Heights/North Royalton) ran the ball 21 times for 71 yards. The receiving corps were led by seniors Mike Waggoner (Stow) and Tyler Wolf (Fremont/Ross) and sophomore Ty Gallo (Brooklyn Heights/Cuyahoga Heights). Waggoner caught four passes for 110 yards with a TD. It was the second 100-yard receiving game of Waggoner's career. Wolf caught three for 59 yards. Gallo caught a career-high four passes for 49 yards. The BW defense was led by senior All-OAC safety Brock Hull (Youngstown/Boardman)who had six tackles
For ONU, sophomore QB Will Freed completed 15 of 31 passes for 143 yards and two TD's. Freshman RB Christian Williams ran the ball 21 times for a game-high 170 yards with a TD. The receivers were led by senior Reid Allen who caught five balls for 39 yards and a TD. On defense, junior middle linebacker Zach Smerge had a game-high 20 tackles tackles.
In the first period, ONU grabbed a 7-0 lead at 10:08 when Williams ran two yards to the end zone. Joe French added the PAT. BW came right back and drove 74 yards in seven plays and tied the game at 7-7 when Hudson scampered 11 yards to paydirt and senior three-time Academic All-OAC kicker Joe Simonis (Hinckley/Medina Highland) booted the PAT.
ONU regained the lead at 14-7 with 39 seconds left when it took advantage of a BW fumbled punt at the Yellow Jacket 9-yard line. Following a holding penalty, Freed threw a 19-yard TD pass to junior WR Riley Bransteter. French added his second PAT kick.
In the second quarter, BW made it a 14-10 game with 50 seconds prior to halftime when Simonis booted a 24-yard field goal to complete a 10-play and 74-yard drive. The key play in the drive was a 50-yard "bubble" pass and run from Hudson to Wolf . ONU struck back and covered 76 yards in five plays to make the score 21-10 when Freed threw a 9-yard TD pass to Allen and French booted his third PAT. The key play in that drive was a 44-yard screen pass from Freed to Williams.
In the third quarter, BW cut the ONU lead to 21-17 with 43 seconds left when Hudson threw 23 yards to Waggoner who outleaped his Polar Bear defender in the end zone and got one foot down. Simonis added the PAT.
In the fourth quarter, the Yellow Jackets gained their first lead of the game at 24-21 at 8:05 when Hudson threw a 4-yard scoring pass to sophomore tight end Brett Zupancic (Columbia Station/Grafton Midview) to complete a 8-play and 97-yard drive. Simonis made his third PAT kick. The drive began following an ONU fumble that Hull recovered on the Polar Bear 3-yard line. The BW advantage grew to 31-21 at 3:24 when Hudson scored on a 6-yard run and Simonis added the PAT.