BEREA, Ohio – The Baldwin Wallace University football team lost to Ohio Athletic Conference and Cleveland cross-town rival John Carroll University, 17-10, at Wasmer Field at the Don Shula Stadium in the 28th Annual Cuyahoga Gold Bowl Game. This was the OAC opener for each team. With its win, JCU increased its Gold Bowl series lead to 15-13.
Neither team scored in the first quarter, BW led 3-0 at halftime and 10-3 after three periods. But the fourth quarter was all JCU. The Blue Streaks outgained the Yellow Jackets, 326-132.
Offensively, BW senior quarterback Robbie Plagens (Rocky River) completed 3 of 15 passes for 28 yards. The running game was led by junior Austin Smith (Broadview Heights/North Royalton) with 64 yards in 22 attempts with a TD. Senior wide receiver Tommy Fuller (Lakewood) had the long pass reception of 24 yards. The defense was led by junior linebacker Sam Groff (Waynesburg/Sandy Valley) with 12 tackles, junior OLB Sean Nischwitz (Canal Fulton/Northwest) with 11 and senior safety Brock Hull (Youngstown/Boardman), junior safety Trypp Washington (Orlando, Fla./First Academy) and senior Brian Stepp (North Royalton) with 10 each.
For JCU, sophomore QB Anthony Moeglin completed 11 of 28 passes for 82 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. On the ground, JCU was led by sophomore Sam Kukura and junior Ro Golpin. Kukura had a game-high 119 yards in 22 attempts and Golpin ran for 114 in 16 attempts. The receiving corps was led by senior WR Nico James with three catches for 14 yards. On defense, junior middle linebacker Mason McKenrick had a game-high 12 tackles and sophomore tackle Ray Brown had nine tackles, including three for loss and the sack that caused Plagens to fumble the football into the end zone.
After a scoreless first period, BW gained a 3-0 lead at the 14:05 mark of the second quarter when senior two-time Academic All-OAC placekicker Joe Simonis (Hinckley/ Medina Highland) booted a 24-yard field goal. The points were set up after junior strong safety Trypp Washington (Orlando, Fla./ First Academy) picked off a Moeglin pass and returned it to the JCU 14-yard line. On the ensuing drive, JCU drove from its own 25 yard line to the BW eight but missed a field goal attempt when the kick hit the left upright.
In the first half, JCU outgained BW 172-64, but BW capitalized by intercepting three Blue Streak passes, including one in the red zone, and the missed field goal. On defense, Nischwitz and Washington led the way with seven and six tackles, respectively.
In the third quarter, BW gained a 10-0 lead at 9:00 when Smith rambled one yard to the end zone to complete a 9-play and 55-yard drive in 4:24. Simonis also tacked on the point-after-touchdown (PAT) kick. After the ensuing kickoff, JCU traveled 60 yards in 13 plays and made the score 10-3 when sophomore PK Matt Danko booted a 22-yard field goal. JCU had a first-and-goal and the BW three yard line, but the Jacket defense stiffened and JCU was forced to kick a field goal.
In the fourth quarter, JCU tied the game at 10-10 with 4:33 left when Moeglin threw four yards to senior wide receiver Marshall Howell for the score and Danko added the PAT. The score came two plays after BW fumbled and JCU recovered on the Yellow Jacket 17 yard line. The Blue Streaks scored the winning points with 2:54 left when Plagens was hit by a JCU defender and fumbled the ball and defensive tackle Jimmy Thomas recovered it in the end zone. Danko's PAT kick made it a 17-10 JCU lead.
The Yellow Jackets are back in action next Saturday, September 27 when they host the defending NCAA National Champion University of Mount Union in The George Finnie Stadium on Family and Community Night and Professor Appreciation Night at 6:30 p.m.