By: Ryan Sosic '19
BEREA, Ohio- The No. 24-nationally ranked Baldwin Wallace University football team defeated Ohio Northern University in an Ohio Athletic Conference and Seniors' and Parents' Day game by a final score of 48-41 on the Tressel Field inside Finnie Stadium.
Before the game, BW honored their 24 senior student-athletes and celebrated the 30th anniversary of the 1988 OAC championship team in between the first and second quarter.
The Yellow Jackets (8-1, 7-1 OAC) improved to 30-13-1 in the all-time series against Ohio Northern (5-4, 4-4 OAC) and beat the Polar Bears for the first time since 2016. Today's victory marks the Jackets' first win over Ohio Northern in Berea since the 2013 season.
Offensively, senior quarterback Jake Hudson (East Lake, Fla.) completed 20 of 29 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Matt Lowry (Rocky River) led the ground attack out of the wildcat formation as he rushed for 92 yards on 4 carries with one touchdown. Senior All-OAC wide out Rob Wolfington (Rapids City, Mich./Elk Rapids) led the receiving corps with five catches for 136 yards and added a touchdown. Sophomore linebacker Brenton Miller (Carrollton) led the defense with eight tackles and senior defensive lineman Wezlee Spence (North Canton/Hoover) registered seven tackles, including two tackles for loss.
Ohio Northern was led by junior quarterback Anthony McFadden who completed 26-44 passes for 392 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman Brock Martin led the rushing attack with 101 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns. Senior Chad Rex led the receivers with 173 yards on eight receptions and a touchdown. Defensively, junior Greg Dennis had a game-high 16 tackles and freshman Jared Tepe added 12 stops.
A 5:56 minute opening drive gave the Yellow Jackets a 7-0 lead after freshman running back Jon Murray Jr. (Cincinnati/Withrow) found the end zone on a 6-yard rush. The Polar Bears put together a five-minute drive of their own, kicking a 26-yard field goal to make the score 7-3 with 3:36 remaining in the first quarter. On the ensuing BW drive, Hudson found Wolfington on a slant and the senior wide out ran two Polar Bear defenders to extend the Yellow Jacket lead to 14-3. This play gave Hudson a career-best 19 touchdown throws on the year.
At 7:47 in the second quarter, Ohio Northern scored their first touchdown of the contest after freshman Brock Martin ran it in from seven yards out to make the score 14-10 halfway through the second quarter. BW answered with a touchdown of their own when Lowry scrambled out of the wildcat formation and broke free down the sideline for a 40-yard score, giving BW a 21-10 lead. With 27 seconds remaining, BW extended its lead to 28-10 on a Hudson run. Ohio Northern drove the ball down to BW's 35-yard line and attempted a last second heave before halftime. When Martin threw it deep into the end zone, senior wide receiver Chad Steinwachs (Buffalo, N.Y./ Williamsville North) iintercepted the pass and returned the ball for a NCAA-tying and school record 100-yard return to make the score 35-10 heading into the halftime break.
Both teams' offense started the second half with touchdowns. BW put together a 3:51 minute drive, capped off by a 5-yard touchdown toss to junior wide out Deion Greer (Toledo/Toledo Central Catholic) from Hudson. Ohio Northern answered with two straight touchdowns of their own off of big plays. The first was an 80-yard pass from McFadden to Rex followed by a 62-yard run by Martin to make the score 41-24 at the 3:35 mark in the third quarter. The last points of the quarters were put up by the Yellow Jackets after Murray Jr. plunged his way into the end zone from one yard out to give BW a 48-24 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The extra point by junior Jimmy Marshall (Lakewood) was blocked.
Ohio Northern cut the Yellow Jacket lead to 16 after a Martin 2-yard rush and a two-point conversion with 9:12 left in the game. Ohio Northern tried to make the game a one possession game after a McFadden touchdown throw to senior Caleb Saalfeld with 42 seconds remaining. On the two-point try, junior Kyle Kelly (Wadsworth/St. Vincent-St. Mary) was able to break up a McFadden pass and forced the failed attempt. The Polar Bears successfully recovered an offside kick with 39 seconds remaining and drove the ball down to their own 19-yard line and elected to kick a field goal. Watson kicked the 36-yarder through the uprights with 8.5 seconds remaining in the game to make the score 48-41. Steinwachs recovered the second Polar Bear onside try and ended the comeback attempt by Ohio Northern.
BW will wrap up the 2018 regular season when it travels to University Heights to face crosstown rival John Carroll in an OAC clash for a second-place conference finish and potential playoff berth at Wasmer Field at the Don Shula Stadium in the 30th Annual Cuyahoga Gold Bowl Game.