MARIETTA, Ohio – Senior All-Ohio Athletic Conference defensive end Luke Riemenschneider (Rocky River) picked off a pass and returned it 26 yards for the winning score as the Baldwin Wallace University football team defeated OAC rival Marietta College, 40-33, today at Don Drumm Stadium. It was BW's eighth straight win versus Marietta and increased its all-time series lead to 32-5.
It was the second week in a row that Riemenschneider came up big. The reigning OAC Defensive Player of the Week and team captain returned a fumble a The George Finnie Stadium-record 86 yards for a touchdown in last week's 35-7 win versus Muskingum University. He finished the game with a season-high 11 tackles.
Marietta (2-3, 1-3 OAC) led 13-3 after one quarter, 21-17 at halftime and 27-17 after three quarters. The Pioneers had a 412-348 advantage in total offense including a 250-93 advantage through the air. Conversely, BW had a 255-162 advantage on the ground, including a pair of 100-yard rushers.
The Yellow Jackets were led on offense by junior quarterback Tyler Moeglin (Canton/St. Thomas Aquinas) and junior running back Isaac Reed III (Lehigh Acres, Fla./ Lehigh). Moeglin completed 10 of 17 passes for 93 yards with one TD and one interception. He also ran for a team-high 116 yards in 12 attempts with a TD. Reed had his second straight 100-yard day versus the Pioneers and had 112 yards with a TD.
The defense was led by senior All-OAC and Academic All-OAC outside linebacker Danny O'Brien (Warren/ Howland) with a game-high 15 tackles and junior middle linebacker and NCAA Division III national track qualifier Tyler Burdorff (Painesville/ Riverside) had a career-high 14 stops.
The Pioneer offense was led by freshman running back Nick O'Neal and freshman QB Akil Young. Young completed 17 of 30 passes for 250 yards with one TD and two interceptions. O'Neal led the running game with a game-high 167 yards in 45 attempts with four TDs. In the last two games, he has rushed for 453 yards. The receiving corps was led by senior WR Josh Llaneza with six grabs for 93 yards.
In the first quarter, BW gained a 3-0 lead at the 9:04 mark when sophomore placekicker Joe Simonis (Hinckley/ Medina Highland) made a 24-yard field goal. The boot kept Simonis perfect this season and capped an 11-play and 64-yard drive in 5:56. The Pioneers countered by driving 75 yards in 11 plays to score and take a 7-3 lead at 4:26 when freshman running back Nick O'Neal ran one yard to the end zone. Freshman WR/PK Zach Pritchard made the PAT kick to cap the drive in 4:38.
Following an interception of a Moeglin pass, Marietta's lead grew to 13-3 when O'Neal bulled into the end zone from three yards away at 1:18. Pritchard missed the PAT. The drive was 4-plays and 43-yards and aided by a BW personal foul penalty.
In the second quarter, BW got a big break to make the game 13-10 at 11:41. A low snap on a Marietta punt attempt caused punter Thomas Hinkle to hurry and squib a 13-yard punt that Yellow Jacket senior cornerback Kevin Krakora (Avon) caught and returned 30 yards for a TD. Simonis then connected on his 15th straight PAT this season. Marietta gained a 21-10 lead at 7:30 when O'Neal ran two yards for his third rushing TD of the contest. O'Neal also caught a 2-point conversion pass from Young to cap a 9-play and 71-yard drive in 4:11.
BW closed the gap to 21-17 at 2:43 when Moeglin threw a 21-yard strike to freshman WR Joe Kijaukas (Chagrin Falls/ Chesterland West Geauga) and Simonis added his 16h straight PAT kick. The scoring play capped a 10-play and 62-yard drive in 4:47. The game remained 21-17 at the intermission.
In the third quarter, the Pioneers drove 50 yards in six plays and scored when Young threw a 24-yard TD pass to freshman WR Tim Durkin but the PAT was missed. The scoring drive was in 3:10.
In the fourth quarter, BW cut the deficit to 27-24 at 14:29 when Moeglin drove two yards into the end zone and Simonis made his 17th straight PAT. The score capped an 8-play and 80-yard drive in 2:33. Moeglin accounted for 71 of the 80 yards in the drive in four rush attempts. Marietta increased its lead to 33-24 at 8:40 when O'Neal scored his fourth rushing TD of the game on a 1-yard run. It capped a 12-play and 68-yard drive in 5:49. Unfortunately the Pioneer 2-point conversion pass was incomplete.
BW came right back and went 61 yards in four plays in 1:54 with Reed going the last 49 for the score to make it 33-31 with 6:46 left. Simonis added his 18th straight PAT. Reed carried the ball three times for 58 yards. The Yellow Jackets tied the game at 33-33 at 3:45 when a Marietta punt snapped sailed over the punter's head. He picked up the ball and tried to punt it, but senior safety Austin Cordova (Perry) blocked it and the ball sailed through the back of the end zone for a safety.
On the free kick, senior WR Kyle Dunne (Rocky River) returned the ball 24 yards and BW started on the MC 35-yard line. On a fourth-and-2 from the Pioneer 27, Moeglin lofted a pass in the flat that was dropped and Marietta took over on downs. On the third Pioneer play, Young lofted a screen pass that Riemenschneider picked off and returned 26 yards to the end zone. Simonis added his 19th straight PAT boot for a 40-33 lead with 1:22 remaining.
Simonis then made maybe his biggest play of the year when Marietta freshman RB Masail McDaniel broke loose on a 59-yard kickoff return with only Simonis left to beat to the end zone. Simonis waited for McDaniel and took out his legs and saved the TD. Marietta reached BW 19-yard line, but freshman DB Theodore Washington (Orlando, Fla./ First Academy) picked off a Young pass in the end zone to seal the win.
BW returns to action next Saturday, October 18 when it travels to Wilmington, Ohio to play the Wilmington College Quakers at Williams Stadium at 1:30 p.m.