Capital Looks to Defend the Castle Over Homecoming Weekend

Capital Looks to Defend the Castle Over Homecoming Weekend

 Capital University Crusaders


Ohio Northern University Polar Bears

(1-3, 1-2 OAC)   Saturday, Oct. 8  |  1:30 p.m.   (3-1, 3-0 OAC)
Roster   Bernlohr Stadium   Roster
Stats   Video  |  Live stats  | Watch Cap Football Weekly   Stats
Home   Homecoming Schedule  |  Tailgate policies   Home


Capital outlasted archrival Otterbein University in a 42-41 shootout. In a physical game that featured many penalties by both teams, the momentum swung in Capital's direction on a fourth-and-two when the Cardinals blocked a punt was blocked deep in Capital's territory. An Otterbein player illegally batted a ball before possession was established, giving the Crusaders a fresh set of downs. Two plays later, Thomas Wibbeler hit David Barnett, who worked his way through the Cardinal defense for a 69-yard touchdown to make the score 35-34 in favor of Otterbein. After its defense surrendered another score to Otterbein, Wibbeler hit Nick Waters for a 30-yard score. The Crusaders opted to attempt a two-point conversion which resulted in another Wibbeler to Barnett connection. The Cardinals had one more chance to take the lead but their hopes were squandered when a fumble caused by Nick Wright was recovered by Capital.

The Polar Bears are coming of a 38-21 defeat against No. 1 The University of Mount Union. The Purple Raiders opened the game by scoring 21 points in the first quarter before Ohio Northern got on the board in the second quarter, making the score 21-7 at the half. Mount Union's offense proved too powerful for Ohio Northern as it drove 75 yards in 11 plays to score another touchdown in the second half's first drive. Ohio Northern was able to find production on offense as Malechi Nolletti hauled in a career high six receptions for 127 yards and a touchdown. 

Ohio Northern sports a fairly balanced offensive attack with its 162 pass plays compared to its 140 run plays. Sophomore quarter Will Freed is closing in on 1,000 yards this season and sports a 5:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. With Devon Price gone, Freed moves the ball around but favors junior Chad Rex (24-191-2). Junior Malachi Nolletti (14-231-1) leads the team in receiving yards while senior Reed Allen (16-171-0) and freshman Christiaan Williams (18-219-0) are also targets to be aware of. Williams also serves as the lead back at ONU, compiling 533 rush yards (133.3 yards/g) and one touchdown on the ground.

Senior DL Scott Rapps is a force to be reckoned with on the line, and leads the Polar Bears with three sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss this season. Rapps also has forced a fumble and recovered two. Senior DB Dan Eller leads the team with 37 tackles (9/3 tkl/g), while Zach Schmerge leads the second level of the defense with 31 as a linebacker. Ohio Northern had allowed 30 or more points in three of its four games this season, but did limit Otterbein to just 10 in its lone win this season.

The series between the Polar Bears and Crusaders dates back to 1930 when ONU took the first of its 37 all-time winsfrom Capital. Ohio Northen has won eight straight, dating back to 2008. Capital's last victory came in 2007 when theydefeated ONU by a 24-6 score. Each of the last four meetings have been decided by two scores or less.

... the Crusaders' offense scored 31 points but could not keep up with the big-play Polar Bear 'O'. Ohio Northern outscored Capital 28-10 in the second half, en route to a 52-31 win. Capital dominated the time of possession battle (42:18-17:42), but ONU wasted no time in marching down the field. Three of ONU's seven scoring plays were of 30 or more yards, two of them coming from NFL prospect Devon Price. Capital was led by quarterback Nick Iske's 131 rushing yards, while two additional players had 90-plus yard days on the ground (Lyle-95, Breakey-90). 

As you may or may not know, Capital is now off to a 3-0 start in OAC play with a win against Otterbein, last week. The Purple and White started last season 2-0 with wins over Muskingum and Wilmington in successive weeks marking the first time having done so since 2008 and 2009. The 2009 season also marks the last time Capital started a season 3-0 (and 4-0). The Crusaders finished that season 7-3 overall.

Cory Heeter (Jr., RB)
Thomas Wibbeler (So., QB)

Junior running back Cory Heeter rebounded from a quiet week one with a trio of trips to the end zone in back-to-back weeks against Muskingum (9/17) and Wilmington (9/24). Heeter totted the rock 20 times for 87 yards, but found paydirt three times (career high) in the win against Muskingum. He scored Capital's first touchdown of the season on a six-yard plunge up the middle. He now has 76 rushes for 299 yards (74.8 ypg) and is averaging 3.9 yards per carry. He now has rushing touchdowns in each of his last three games.

Junior RB Cory Heeter now has seven touchdowns rushes on the season. We don't have a map, but most have all come from close range. Check out our "chart" of touchdown rushes below.
SEPT. 17 at Muskingum - 8, 5, 24
SEPT. 24 vs. Wilmington - 3, 2, 1
OCT. 1 at Otterbein - 1

We should probably do the same "chart" for a guy who is among the top in the OAC in passing touchdowns.
SEPT. 17 at Muskingum - 6, 13
SEPT. 24 vs. Wilmington - 15, 5
OCT. 1 at Otterbein - 4, 4, 20, 69, 30

Capital's record in October games in recent history has not been pleasant, but could last week's win over rival Otterbein begin to turn that tide? Over the last five seasons, Capital was 1-22 in the month of October,where the meat of the OAC schedule resides. HOWEVER, their recent win snapped a streak of 19 straight losses in October. Their last October win prior to last week, ironically, came at Otterbein (24-20) on 10/15/11.

After missing two games (9/17-24) due to injury, junior linebacker Shawn Facione came back with something to prove against rival Otterbein (10/1). In that game, he made 10 tackles (2 solo) and broke up two passes. His 10 tackles also tied a career high in that category first obtained in last year's John Carroll game.

Interior D-linemen typically don't get a ton of love, but now seems appropriate to mention that senior Nick Wright is currently ranked third in the country in forced fumbles (3). With two forced fumbles against Otterbein, including one that ended the game when Cap jumped on top of the loose ball on Cardy's final possession, Wright has become a key cog in the defensive line. Cap has forced six total fumbles and sacked the opposing quarterback six times, this season. Wright also has one of those sacks!

J.R. Garrigo (So., S)
David Barnett (Fr., WR)

Straight out of Florida, J.R. Garrigo brought his game up north and had a great first year. He led the Crusaders with 75 tackles (19th OAC), 33 of which were solo, and 7.5 per game (15th). Garrigo led the Crusaders with 13 tackles in the season opener, including 10 of the solo variety. He also posted 13 tackles against Witt in the season opener last year, which was also his collegiate debut. Over the last three weeks, Garrigo has been involved in at least one of Capital's forced turnovers per game (1FF, 1FR, 1INT). He is currently inside the top-15 in the OAC in tackles (31) and tackles/game (7.8).

A high school standout at Shawnee High in Springfield, Ohio, David Barnett is putting his talents on display early in his collegiate career. He made three catches for a team-high 81 yards in the team's opener against Wittenberg, including a 58-yard grab in the second quarter. At Muskingum (9/17), he made his first career touchdown catch of 13 yards. He led the team in receiving for a second week in a row making five catches for 96 yards. In his third game, he caught two touchdown grabs, including an acrobatic catch in the back of the end zone.

Barnett was a three-time all-conference, and two-time all-district and all-area selection at SHS, where he also holds multiple career, season, and single-game records for yards, receptions, and touchdown receptions. He also participated in the Blue-Gray All-American Bowl.

The last time a Capital wide receiver caught three touchdown passes in a single game was when Ryan Gunnarson did so against Heidelberg on Oct. 2, 2010. 

The Crusaders had just seven turnovers through 10 games, last year, finishing the season with a -3 turnover margin. Capital ended the year second in the country in turnovers lost (7). In four games in 2016, Capital has just four turnovers and 11 takeaways (+7). Two weeks ago, they did not turn the ball over at all while causing three turnovers at Muskingum. The defense forced four interceptions against Wilmington (9/28). Last week against Otterbein, they forced three fumbles (recovered all) and for the second time this season did not surrender a turnover.

Kane Murray earned the nod as the STAR linebacker, and in his first start recorded five tackles and pass breakup.  The sophomore's numbers have only gotten better with time. At Muskingum (9/17), he recorded eight tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. Versus Wilmington (9/24), he set a new career high with 11 tackles and added 0.5 tackles for loss. He posted his second straight week with 10+ tackles at Otterbein (10/1) and is second on the team in tackles (34).

As mentioned, Capital freshman wide receiver David Barnett was a big deal at Shawnee High School in Springfield, Ohio. For his contributions both on and off the field, plus an exemplary scholastic mark, he was named one of 37 National High School Scholar-Athlete finalists by the National Football Foundation (NFF). He was nominated by the Springfield NFF chapter, and is one of seven to advance as a Midwest regional finalist. On Oct. 3, the NFF announced the winners and Barnett, unfortunately, was not selected. Midwest Winner: Andrew Griffin (Princeton).

Put what head coach Chad Rogosheske is doing at Capital. When he came to Hamline, the team had won just one game in two seasons. He won two games in his first season. They won six games in his final season. Last year, Capital won three games all year. They already have that many wins this year with six left to play. Capital hadn't beaten its rival in four years ... until "Coach Rogo" came to town. He has now transformed three offenses in which when he inherited them, ran a triple option set. It looks like he is 3-for-3 in getting teams back on track, and Capital is the latest (and hopefully his last). 

With the reemergence of the forward pass, sophomore quarterback Thomas Wibbeler is changing up our last page of last time whens.

The last time ... a Capital quarterback passed for 300+ yards prior to Wibbeler doing so vs. Otterbein was Chase Carris (11/15/11) when he threw for 323 against Musky.

... a Cap QB threw four TD passes was Oct. 2, 2010 when Kory Hartinger did so against Heidelberg ... a Cap QB thew five TD passes was Nov. 1, 2008 when Nick Alexander did versus Musky - both were erased when Wibbeler threw five against Otterbein (10/1/16).

The run defense has statistically improved in that up until last week, it had not allowed a 100-yard rusher. Going back to last season, Capital did not allow an individual to rack up 100 or more yards in four straight games. Otterbein QB Logan Stepp broke that treak after rushing for 135 last week. The previous to have done so was Bryan Lacey of Heideberg on Nov. 17, 2015 (183 yards). 


Complete notes (.pdf)


-- back to top --