Wooster Hosts Hiram as Three of Final Four Games at John P. Papp Stadium

Hunter Coia
Hunter Coia

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The College of Wooster football team (3-3, 2-3 North Coast Athletic Conference) plays three of its final four games of the regular season at John P. Papp Stadium, starting with this Saturday's 2 p.m. clash against Hiram College (2-4, 1-4 NCAC). Wooster topped Oberlin College (1-5, 1-4 NCAC) on Saturday behind senior Antonio Bailey's (Duluth, Ga./Meadowcreek) 5-yard touchdown run with :06 remaining and five takeaways. Hiram also scored in the final minute during its 28-24 win over Kenyon College (0-6, 0-5 NCAC). Randy Tucker darted in from 2 yards out with :34 remaining for the go-ahead score.

Live Coverage: Fans can watch this week's game online at https://portal.stretchinternet.com/wooster. MCTV will carry this week's game on delay with first replay scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Ch. 22 and 8 p.m. on Ch. 621. Fans can check local listings for additional replay times on Sunday and Monday. Fans can also listen to the game on WKVX 960 AM or online at https://wqkt.com.

All-Time Series: Wooster leads the all-time series 39-5, and has won 13 of 14 meetings since 2000. The teams first met on Nov. 3, 1906, a game won by Wooster 95-0. The first seven games in the series were shutouts, and Wooster went 6-1 during that stretch. 

Last Meeting: Wooster sophomore Cam Pollard (Cleveland, Ohio/John Hay) opened a 58-25 win with a school-record 97-yard kickoff return, and the Scots broke or matched six other school records during the win. Wooster junior Robert Alvarez (Fort Washington, Md./Riverdale Baptist School) broke the single-game program record with 4.5 sacks, a half sack better than the single-game school record previously shared by Henry Adams (1989) and Andy Mizak (2004). Wooster passed for a school-record seven touchdowns in the game, while alumnus Gary Muntean became the College's all-time leading passer, broke the single-season passing touchdown record, and matched the single-game one. Wooster also broke its single-season team record for passing touchdowns during the game, and the Scots went on to finish the year with 35.

Offense Notes: Bailey's game-winning touchdown marked the 20th rushing touchdown of his career, and it also was the Scots' first game-winning score in the final 10 seconds since Shaun Swearingen caught a 43-yard touchdown from Bobby Reiff on a Hail Mary pass as time expired during a 27-21 win over Allegheny College on Oct. 21, 2006. Sticking with Bailey, the Scots leaned on their senior leader for a career-high 30 carries that went for 125 hard-earned stripes on Saturday. Junior Nick Strausbaugh (Fredericksburg, Ohio/Waynedale) caught a 6-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter for his 23rd career touchdown reception. Strausbaugh trails Brandon Good (30), Chris Cabot (24) and Reggie Ray (24) on the program's all-time touchdown receptions list, and even more impressive is the fact Strausbaugh's only played in 16 collegiate games. Freshman Mateo Renteria (Houston, Texas/Cypress Creek) has thrown seven touchdown passes over his last three games and has completed over 20 passes in each outing.

Defense Notes: Junior D'Andre Brown (Atlanta, Ga./Benjamin E. Mays) had a career day on Saturday with 10 tackles, five of which went for loss. The defensive tackle tallied a pair of sacks and forced a key fumble on each one. Senior Hunter Coia (Oldsmar, Fla./Canterbury) recovered both fumbles, and he's now tied for second nationally with three fumble recoveries. Wooster tallied six more sacks to up its season total to 25, the most since the 2013 team had 29 for the full 10-game slate. Wooster is now sixth nationally with 4.17 sacks per game. Individually, the Scots have three student-athletes among the top 200 in Div. III for sacks per game. Brown is 50th with 0.83 per afternoon, while senior Marcus Bowers (Roseville, Mich./Fraser) is 65th with 0.75. Junior Christian Santos (Yeadon, Pa./Penn Wood Senior) rounds out the ranked individuals with 0.58 sacks per game, a total 161st nationally. Other team defensive stats worth noting including fumbles recovered and tackles for loss, stats where Wooster ranks 14th and 30th in Div. III, respectively. Wooster's nine fumbles recovered are four behind national leader Bethany College (W.Va.).

Special Teams Notes: Wooster's special teams came through in a big way on Saturday with freshman Dylan Lewis (Caledonia, Ohio/Upper Arlington) forcing a fumble on a third-quarter kickoff return. Classmate Eric Kraus (Pittsburg, Pa./Mount Lebanon) recovered it and four plays later, the Scots took a 21-14 lead.

This and That: Simply put takeaways have been game-changers for the Scots this year, as 14 of Wooster's 16 takeaways have come in the three wins. Wooster logged four takeaways in the season-opening win at Bluffton and had five each during wins against DePauw and Oberlin. With his NCAC Defensive Player-of-the-Week selection on Monday, Brown's the third different defensive starter to be recognized by the NCAC this season.