SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – The College of Wooster football team had a chance to tie its contest with Wittenberg University at 14 with 4:32 remaining, but the Fighting Scots couldn't connect on a two-point try, and the host Tigers held on for a 14-12 win on Saturday afternoon at Edwards-Maurer Field.
Sophomore Troy Baughman scored from two yards out to cap the afternoon's scoring, as Wooster (2-1, 1-1 North Coast Athletic Conference) senior Jacob Lewis wasn't able to reach out enough to secure sophomore Mateo Renteria's two-point pass.
Leading up to the touchdown, Wooster did convert on a couple of key plays, including on fourth-and-8 from Wittenberg's (2-1, 2-0 NCAC) 25-yard line. On that play, Renteria fired a 12-yard completion to senior Nick Strausbaugh.
Prior to Strausbaugh's drive-extending grab, Wooster turned to its bag of tricks, and nearly pulled off a spectacular play. It took a breakup from Wittenberg's Kenny Bowling to keep sophomore Cole Hissong from reeling in Baughman's pass inside the Tigers' 10-yard line. Earlier in the drive, Lewis walked the tight rope on the sideline to stay inbounds on a 19-yard pickup on a third-and-7 play, and Renteria motored forward 13 yards for his longest rush of the afternoon.
Wooster twice had a chance to stop Wittenberg on third down in the final minutes. Jaheem Washington and Blake King kept the chains moving with a 14-yard run each, the latter of which enabled the Tigers to kneel down and run out the clock.
In the third quarter, Wittenberg's DeShawn Sarley caught a short shovel pass from Bobby Froehlich, and scampered into the end zone from eight yards out. Wooster found itself down 14-3 at that point, as Christian Seger knocked the extra-point try through the uprights.
After the touchdown, freshman Matt Ulishney quickly sparked Wooster with a 49-yard kick return, and two plays later, it was Charlie Henegar's turn to make his first contribution with the Scots. That came in the form of a 15-yard catch over the middle, during which Wooster crossed into the red zone. The Scots eventually had to settle for a field goal try, and freshman Lake Barrett knocked a 37-yarder through the uprights to make it a 14-6 game with 5:43 left in the third quarter.
Wittenberg's offense was moving efficiently down the field at the game's onset, with the Tigers needing six plays to reach Wooster's 30-yard line. Junior Kea'Shaun Phillips' interception shut down that threat on the Tigers' 23-yard line. In fact, the latest NCAC Defensive Player of the Week's name frequently appeared on the stat sheet during the Tigers' first two drives, during which the linebacker logged eight tackles, including a fourth-down stop on a play that started on the Scots' 3-yard line.
Wittenberg opened the scoring with 6:57 left in the second quarter. On that touchdown, Thad Snodgrass gained just enough separation from his defender to snag a 53-yard touchdown pass from Froehlich.
While Wooster didn't respond with a touchdown on its ensuing drive, the Scots did come away with well-earned points. Baughman's 50-yard run was the big reason why, as the sophomore found a crease on a third-and-1 play. Four plays later, Barrett's steady leg put the points on the board via a 25-yard field goal.
Renteria completed 15-of-31 passes for 148 yards on the day, while Baughman toted the ball 16 times for 86 stripes. Renteria's completions were spread out among eight receivers.
Phillips paced Wooster's defense with a game-high 13 tackles. Other defensive stats to note include 10 tackles by freshman Dorion Talley, nine tackles each by junior Mark Herron and senior Jake Stewart, and sacks by senior Robert Alvarez and freshman Brandon Holt.
Froehlich completed 19-of-22 passes on the day. Tristian Davis emerged as the go-to target with six receptions for 50 yards. Washington shouldered the load in the backfield with 19 carries and 76 yards rushing.
Jonathan Seay's nine tackles marked the team-high.
Noteworthy, Wittenberg's 14 points is the fewest by the Tigers in the series since Wooster's 27-6 win in 2008.
Wooster's idle next week, and then heads to Greencastle, Indiana to square off with DePauw University (1-1, 1-0 NCAC) at 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 5.