Wooster Seeking to Regain Possession of "Old Red Lantern" This Week

The Old Red Lantern
The Old Red Lantern

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The College of Wooster football team (3-2, 2-2 North Coast Athletic Conference) remains at home this week, as the Fighting Scots host Denison University (4-1, 3-1 NCAC) on Saturday as part of Black & Gold Weekend.  Kickoff from the 4,500-seat John P. Papp Stadium is set for 2 p.m. Wooster, which downed Wabash College 24-10 for its first win over the Little Giants since 2004, is hoping to pick up a win against a 2018 NCAC tri-champion for the second straight week, and should the Black & Gold win, the "Old Red Lantern" will return to Wooster for the first time since 2013. Denison lost at Wabash 34-20 on September 28, but has since downed Allegheny College and Oberlin College by a combined score of 91-7.

On The Air: MCTV will carry this week's contest online at https://portal.stretchinternet.com/wooster. MCTV customers living in Wayne and Stark Counties can catch the replay with first airings scheduled for Ch. 22 (SD) at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Ch. 621 (HD) at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Fans are encouraged to check local listings for additional replay times. WKVX 960 AM will carry this week's contest live and online at https://wqkt.com.

All-Time Series: The all-time series is now tied up at 40-40-7, while Denison edged ahead last year in games in which the "Old Red Lantern" has been awarded. The Big Red own a 12-11-1 edge in the "Old Red Lantern" games. Wooster logged a 10-game winning streak in the series from 1995-2010, but prior to that, Denison went 10-0-1 from 1984-94. Denison has a six-game lead (17-11-1) in the series since the NCAC was formed, and the Big Red have won five straight. Notable, Wooster's first three varsity intercollegiate games came against Denison, and the Scots shut out the Big Red in all three contests by scores of 48-0 (1889), 50-0 (1889), and 58-0 (1890).

"Old Red Lantern" History: The "Old Red Lantern" trophy started being awarded to the winner of the game in 1989 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first meeting between Wooster and Denison. The two teams originally traveled to the games by rail, so the lantern was chosen to represent the series' pastime.

Last Meeting: Wooster scored in impressive fashion on its opening drive, and nearly extended its lead on its subsequent possession, but it was mostly Denison from there as the Big Red topped the Scots 66-18 to retain possession of the "Old Red Lantern" for the fifth straight year. Alumnus Antonio Bailey capped a seven-play, 75-yard drive with a 16-yard burst right up the middle, and the touchdown moved the four-year starter into the program's all-time top-10 list for rushing touchdowns.

Then-rookie Mateo Renteria (Houston, Texas/Cypress Creek) completed 15-of-32 throws for 261 yards and a touchdown, while then-junior Nick Strausbaugh (Fredericksburg, Ohio/Waynedale) hauled in four receptions that went for 115 stripes. Then-sophomore Beau Greenwood's (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon) 13 tackles marked the game-high.

Denison alumnus Canaan Gebele accounted for eight touchdowns and 404 yards of total offense.

Offense Notes: Strausbaugh continues to inch his way toward Brandon Good's career record of 2,838 yards receiving. The Scots' three-year standout now has 2,603 yards after going for 59 stripes on Saturday. He's still four touchdown receptions behind Good's program-record 30. Sophomore Troy Baughman (McKinney, Texas/Frisco Independence) has been a model of consistency for the Scots with a rushing touchdown in all five games, and he has three rushes of at least 20 yards this season. Renteria has 14 completions of 20-plus yards this year, and sophomore Cole Hissong (Shreve, Ohio/Triway) has caught five of them, three of which have gone for touchdowns.

Defense Notes: Wooster's 17th nationally this week in scoring defense at 12.2 points per game, a total that's second in the NCAC trailing only Ohio Wesleyan University's 10.8 points per game. The Scots were 2-for-3 on red zone defense against the Little Giants, and Wooster's opposition has come away with points on just 38.5 percent of drives that cross into the red zone. Wooster's fourth nationally in red zone defense. Wooster stopped Wabash four times on fourth down last Saturday, and the Scots have stopped 12-of-14 opponent fourth-down conversion tries this year. Wooster's recorded an interception on its opening defensive drive in each of its last three games. Junior Kea'Shaun Phillips (Toledo, Ohio/Toledo) had the pick at Wittenberg University, senior D'Andre Brown (Atlanta, Ga./Benjamin E. Mays) had the one at DePauw University, and senior Christian Santos (Yeadon, Pa./Penn Wood Senior) kept that streak intact versus Wabash. Wooster logged two other interceptions versus Wabash. Junior Mark Herron (Youngstown, Ohio/Chaney) had one in the end zone and Greenwood clinched the victory with one late in the fourth quarter. Senior K.C. Okoronkwo (Alexandria, Va./Western Alamance (N.C.)) now leads the team with 3.5 sacks after having 2.5 versus Wabash. He also has a team-leading 6.5 tackles for loss.

Special Teams Notes: Freshman Matt Ulishney (Greensburg, Pa./Serra District Catholic) is averaging 25.3 yards per kick return, a total that ranks 40th nationally and is second in the conference. Freshman Lake Barrett (Columbia, S.C./Hammond School) was one of 37 non-Football Bowl Subdivision placekickers named to September's Fred Mitchell Award Watch List. Sophomores Dylan Carr (Heath, Ohio/Licking Valley) and Kwami Wilborn (Lubbock, Texas/Lubbock) have combined for nine tackles on kickoff coverage this year.

This and That: Wooster's continues to be one of the least-penalized teams in Div. III, as the Scots have been whistled for 19 penalties on the year. That's the 14th-fewest in the country and six back of national leaders Hope College and Grinnell College, but the latter canceled the remainder of its season after three games due to a lack of healthy players. Wooster's two losses this year have come by a combined seven points. Wabash's 10 points marked the second-fewest the Little Giants scored against the Scots. Wabash lost the 2003 meeting 23-7.