The College of Wooster football team (5-3, 4-3 North Coast Athletic Conference) continues its quest for a top-four conference finish this Saturday with a game at Allegheny College (2-6, 2-5 NCAC). Kickoff from the 3,500-seat Frank B. Fuhrer Field is set for 1 p.m. Wooster is coming off its second win of the season versus a team tied at the top of the NCAC standings, as the Fighting Scots kicked a go-ahead field goal and recovered a fumble in the final minute of Saturday's 16-14 win over Ohio Wesleyan University. Allegheny downed Hiram College 45-22 on Saturday.
On The Air: Allegheny will provide a live stream of this week's contest at https://portal.stretchinternet.com/allegheny. WKVX 960 AM will carry this week's contest live and online at https://wqkt.com.
All-Time Series: Allegheny leads the all-time series 21-18, and the Gators won last year's meeting 27-20 to snap the Scots' five-game winning streak in the series. The teams first met in 1905, a game won by Wooster 38-16. The two teams didn't meet again until 1950, and Wooster won the six games contested between 1950-55 by a combined score of 199-52. Twenty-nine years elapsed after the 1955 game before the teams met again in 1984, the first year of the NCAC.
Last Meeting: A pair of big passing plays had Wooster chasing Allegheny for most of the afternoon, and the Gators struck for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:26 remaining prior to recovering a Scots' fumble in the final minute, which clinched a 27-20 win for the visitors on September 8, 2018. Wooster tied the game at 20 with 3:26 remaining.
Leading up to the tying score, then-sophomore Kea'Shaun Phillips (Toledo, Ohio/Toledo Central Catholic) intercepted a deflected ball, which gave the Scots' the pigskin on the Gators' 11-yard line. Wooster nearly coughed up the ball, but was able to recover a pair of fumbles before then-sophomore Caden Croft (Coshocton, Ohio/Riverview) stepped up under center, took the snap, and followed the Scots' experienced line in for a 1-yard score. Then-sophomore Henry Whyte (North Huntington, Pa./Norwin) knocked through the extra point to tie the game at 20.
Offense Notes: Wooster's turned the ball over 11 times this year, and that's tied with Denison University for the fewest in the NCAC. Sophomore Mateo Renteria (Houston, Texas/Cypress Creek) enters the week a stripe shy of 2,000 passing yards on the season, and his per-game average through the air is just south of 250 yards. Senior Nick Strausbaugh (Fredericksburg, Ohio/Waynedale) is still a receiving touchdown shy of matching Brandon Good's (1995-98) career school record of 30. Strausbaugh's 73 receiving yards away from becoming the first Scot with three seasons with at least 760 receiving yards, and he's now second all-time with 156 receptions. However, it's unlikely he'll catch Good's career mark of 224 receptions with two games left this season.
Defense Notes: Wooster's currently holding the opposition to 15.8 points per game, a total third within the NCAC. The Scots last held the opposition to under 20 points per game for the season in 2011 (18.5), while the last time the opposition finished under 15.8 points per game was 2008 (15.2). Wooster's red zone defense continues to rate near the top of the divisional rankings. The Scots' opponents are now a collective 12-for-23 on red zone scores after the Battling Bishops were 2-for-5 on Saturday. Junior Mark Herron (Youngstown, Ohio/Chaney) and freshman Dorion Talley (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Kenston) now have 40 (or more) tackles on the year, while sophomore Eric Kraus (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon) isn't far behind with 38.
Special Teams Notes: Freshman Lake Barrett's (Columbia, S.C./Hammond School) game-winning field goal with :42 left in Saturday's game marked his 10th made field goal of the season. He's now tied with Ben Arnold (1997), Richie McNally (2004), and Russ Palm (2009) for the most field goals in a season. Barrett's 1.25 field goals per game is the seventh-best average in Div. III, and it's the top mark in the NCAC. Freshman Matt Ulishney's (Greensburg, Pa./Serra District Catholic) 90-yard kickoff return was the first one the Scots' returned for a touchdown since then-freshman Cam Pollard (Cleveland, Ohio/John Hay) opened the 2017 Hiram game with a school-record 97-yard kickoff return. Ulishney is one of two players in the NCAC to have a kickoff return for a touchdown this season, and his 29.8 yard average per return is the eighth-best in Div. III. Wooster's special teams blocked opposition field goal tries in its last two home games of the year. Junior Kobe Matesic (Buffalo, N.Y./West Seneca West) had the block against Denison University, while Herron blocked an Ohio Wesleyan field goal try.
This and That: Wooster has 17 student-athletes on its roster from Pennsylvania, including five projected starters: senior defensive back Nick Barto-Brown (Pittsburgh/Vincentian Academy), senior left guard Adam Clark (Stoneboro/Greenville), junior defensive back Beau Greenwood (Pittsburgh/Mount Lebanon), Kraus, and Ulishney. Frank Colaprete's coaching career started at Allegheny, where he spent the 1999 and 2000 seasons as the Gators' defensive backs coach. Wooster finished with an average of 3,319 fans per home game this year.