Homecoming Headliner: Capital Hosts Rival Otterbein on Saturday

Nick Waters was one of the key contributors towards the Crusaders' 2016 victory over Otterbein. (photo credit: Ed Syguda, Otterbein Athletics)
Nick Waters was one of the key contributors towards the Crusaders' 2016 victory over Otterbein. (photo credit: Ed Syguda, Otterbein Athletics)

 Capital University Crusaders


Otterbein University Cardinals

(3-1, 2-1 OAC)   Saturday, Sept. 30  |  1:30 p.m.   (1-2, 1-1 OAC)
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Thusfar, the Cardinals have sported a balanced offense (155 rushes, 107 passes) that has averaged more than 400 yards per game. Quarterback Logan Stepp has been the go-to guy for Otterbein, as he leads the team in passing (1,012) and rushing yards (240) and has scored a combined 15 touchdowns. Four of those have come on the ground. His favorite targets are Julian Lowe (24-341-3) and Hunter Joseph (20-382-5), but has hit 10 different receivers with at least one pass and four for scores. On the defensive end, Otterbein is allowing 26.3 points per game and is about as balanced in yards allowed as the offense is to gain them. They have gotten to opposing quarterbacks six times, with three sacks going to junior LB Steven Masters. Sophomore DB Fred Hargrove leads the team in tackles (39) and has two of its seven interceptions.
... Capital snapped a four-year losing streak by defeating Otterbein, 42-41, in a thrilled at Memorial Stadium last year. Neither team ever led by more than one score and featured three lead changes and one tie. With about two minutes remaining, QB Thomas Wibbeler hit WR Nick Waters down the sideline for a touchdown and then the two-point conversion put Cap ahead for one last defensive stand. Though the Cardinals appeared to make quick work moving down the field, Capital's Nick Wright '17 forced a fumble that the Crusaders fell on top of, ending the game.
As mentioned, Capital broke a four-game losing streak with its win over Otterbein last year. Capital now owns the all-time lead in the overall series, 44-43-1*. Capital seeks its first win over the Cardinals at home since 2010 (23-13). 
The first matchup on record was in 1894 when Otterbein won 60-0, but was before football was considered a varsity sport, so we don't count that one in the overall record books.
Capital lost to Wilmington for the first time in 17 years, 37-30 in overtime. Capital struggled containing QB Luke Creditt, who used his mobility to keep plays alive throughout the game. Creditt tossed five touchdown passes for just under 300 yards. Capital was banged up by game's end and had to call upon some reserves to answer the call. Linebacker Matthew Lauofo recorded his first collegiate sack, and Nateshawn Hargrove picked up a late touchdown on a 14-yard scoring scamper, the first of his career. A late 44-yard field goal attempt sailed just wide to the left, sending the game into OT. Wilmington scored first, and then stopped Cap on its return drive to seal the victory.
The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) is now in its 10th year supporting the effort to raise funds and awareness for Duchene Muscular Dystrophy. Capital coaches will be wearing COACH TO CURE patches on their arms to raise awareness, and will also serve as host to the Hayes family, who have two young children that have been diagnosed with Duchenes. Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed during childhood and affects nearly one in every 3,500 boys worldwide. There is currently no cure for Duchenne but in its first nine years, Coach to Cure MD has raised more than $1.5 million. To join the fight or for more information on Duchene MS, you can learn more and donate at www.CoachToCureMD.org. Consider texting CURE to 50555 to donate $10 toward the cause. You can also tag @CoachToCureMD and use #TackleDuchenne to show your support.
Four individuals will be immortalized in Capital University Athletics history on Sept. 30. Capital University is proud to welcome James Mayer '96, Pam Briggs, Nici Workman '04, and Tom McCurdy '79 into its Athletics Hall of Fame as members of the Class of 2017.
Tom McCurdy '79 (football)
Pam Briggs, coach (volleyball)
Nici Workman '04 (volleyball)
Jim Mayer III '96 (baseball)
For information on our Hall of Fame inductees, click here.
The 2017 season marks the 30th anniversary of the 1987 Crusaders team that won the Ohio Athletic Conference Championship and made the first NCAA Division III playoff appearance in school history. The 1987 team finished with an overall record of 7-2-2 and went 6-1-1 in the conference. Members of the team and their families will join us for a gathering on the patio outside of Moe Lounge, and be recognized for their success between the first and second quarters of today's game. 
Read the full story on their championship season, click here.
What makes a quarterback happy? More weapons to throw to! Dartavious (Dar) Stanford joined the Crusaders this offseason after playing the last two years at nearby Ohio Dominican University (NCAA Division II) as a wide receiver. At ODU in 2016, he was the Panthers' second-leading receiver after making 60 grabs for 687 yards and four touchdowns. 
In his debut, Dar Stanford made four catches for 70 yards and recorded his first touchdown grab with Cap in the team's loss to Mount St. Joseph on Sept. 2. His speed helps stretch the field, and that was evident in his performance in a win versus Muskingum. He made five catches for 126 yards and one touchdown, two of which were for greater than 40 yards. Last week, he made four catches - including a toe-tapping touchdown grab in the back of the end zone - for 60 yards at Wilmington.
It's not often that one town, or one high school can provide a college team such a significant portion of a team's offense (or defense for that matter). Junior WR Dar Stanford is no stranger to starting quarterback Thomas Wibbeler. The two, as well as with offensive lineman Zach Clapper, played together at Zanesville High School on some of the program's more successful teams of late. Stanford and Wibbeler have connected 13 times for 256 yards and three touchdowns (both team highs). Clapper has helped keep Wibbeler clean to be able to sling it. He and the rest of the O-line have surrendered just five sacks.
Cap fans got its first taste of junior RB Nateshawn Hargrove in late time versus Muskingum. While the Muskies were left with a bitter taste, fans loved seeing Hargrove pound out 59 yards on seven carries (8.4 ypc) and one touchdown. He ran it seven more times for a team-high 37 yards and another touchdown late in the game against Wilmington. Hargrove came to Capital after spending two seasons at Notre Dame College (Ohio), where he spent a majority of the time playing special teams. 
After seeing a little more of sophomore Antwan Shipp, its likely his rep count will increase this week versus Wilmington. All were caught off guard when he lined up to help receive kicks and take a few handoffs out of the backfield. Shipp ran four times for 11 yards and went 20 yards on his lone kickoff return against Muskingum (9/16). Last week at Wilmington, he rushed eight times for 35 yards. He has now officially made the transition to running back. 
Last year, LB Kane Murray made some noise with 74 tackles, 1.5 sacks and three tackles for loss. He has come out averaging 3.3 more tackles per game (10.7) than his sophomore season, and twice this year has posted 11 or more tackles in a single game. In the season opener versus Mount St. Joseph, the recorded a career-high 14 tackles and one pass defense.
It took three games, but freshman kicker Blake Middleton was granted his first chance at a field goal against Wilmington College (9/23). He answered the call with a 25-yard field goal that split the uprights for his first make on his first collegiate attempt.
Freshman DL Matthew Lauofo got increased reps against the Quakers and made it count with his first tackles and the first sack of his collegiate career. 
After spending two years away from the team, senior DL has come back with a vengeance. He is currently fifth on the team in tackles (17) and first among defensive lineman by more than half that number. In his re-debut against Mount St. Joseph, he recorded eight tackles (career high) and 1.5 sacks. Last week versus Wilmington, he added seven more tackles.
No coach likes seeing zeros on the scoreboard, unless its the second digit of a number. Unfortunately for Cap, that is the number that represents their fourth-quarter scoring. Capital has yet to register a point in the fourth quarter, even though last week's game was well in hand heading into the final stanza. Last year, Capital scored a combined 48 points in the fourth quarter. 
Dating back to 2012, Capital is now 2-2 in overtime games. Two of those games were played against Muskingum (1-1).
After his first collegiate punt landed inside the 10-yard line against Mount St. Joseph, freshman Avery Wirt hit a rough patch that lasted the rest of the game. However, he came back last week against Muskingum and boomed out an average punt close to 40 yards per boot and landed one of his four inside the five-yard line. His longest, to date, is 53 yards.
Junior QB Thomas Wibbeler was named the OAC Offensive Player of the Week for Week 3 of the 2017 season. Against Muskingum, he threw for 318 yards (19-34) and four touchdowns without turning the ball over in the Crusaders' win.
In his return to the lineup on Sept. 2, Heeter racked up 171 total yards, 85 of those on the ground on 16 touches. He then came back versus the Muskies last week and tallied 99 yards on the ground, which helped him eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in his career. He has been known for his ball security having lost a fumble just twice in 234 career touches. 
Another key returner coming back from an injury is senior running back Cory Heeter. Heeter was lost during game six against Mount Union, but was well on pace to break the single-season rushing touchdown record after posting seven over his first four games. The current record is 14 set by Al White in 1959.
While allowing 38 points does not sound like a productive start to the season, there were bright spots to the Cap defense's performance on opening day against Mount St. Joseph.
- LB Kane Murray set a new career high in tackles (14)
- DL James Zamor recorded 1.5 sacks in his return after a two-year hiatus
- Derek Eibon recorded an interception on Muskingum's first offensive possession of the game
- The defense produced three three-and-outs and one turnover on downs
- Reigning HCAC Freshman of the Year Chaiten Tomlin (QB) was limited to just 157 yards passing, just over 200 total yards, and a completion percentage under 33 percent.
- Each of the first two QBs faced were held to under 50 percent completion percentages and 175 yards.
Junior quarterback Thomas Wibbeler is back and ready to get back onto the field after sustaining a season-ending knee injury against John Carroll (10/22) . He has been tabbed Capital's starting quarterback for the second season in a row. Prior to the injury, Wibbeler completed 114-of-214 passes (53.3%) for 1,556 yards and 11 touchdowns to just five interceptions. He became just the third CU quarterback to hit 1,500 yards passing since 2003, and that number could have been north of 2,000 had it not been for the injury. In his return to the lineup in the season opener against Mount St. Joseph (9/2), he went 21-for-42 for 261 yards with three touchdown passes and three interceptions. 
Like water, senior WR/RET Nick Waters has seemed to find the cracks in opposing defenses and special teams units. Last year, Waters finished third in the OAC in yards per kickoff return (22.7) and all-purpose yards per game (139.3). On the receiving end, he finished seventh in yards per catch (13.2) and even turned in the third-longest kickoff return of the season (63 yards).
Through 10 games in 2016, Capital had 19 turnovers and 23 takeaways (+4). In all of their wins last season, Cap won or equaled their opponent in the turnover battle.
In week 1, Capital turned the ball over four times and caused just one in the loss to Mount St. Joseph (9/2). Last week, they caused three turnovers and committed just one. They now have a -1 turnover ratio in 2017.
Senior linebacker Derek Eibon sees the field better than anyone, and that makes sense considering he is looking to pursue a career in optometry. As highlighted at OAC Media Day, Eibon is studying to practice in the field after serving two internships with different family members that are also optometrists. 
On the field, Eibon led the team and finished seventh in the OAC with 81 tackles. He ranked second in the conference in assisted tackles (53) and tackles per game (9.0). For his career, he has 161 tackles and is averaging 6.7 per game since becoming a starter as a sophomore. 
Eibon made 11 tackles against Mount St. Joseph (9/2), marking the seventh time in his career he has made 10 or more tackles in his career. He was also responsible for Capital's lone caused turnover, intercepting one pass against Mount St. Joseph (9/2).
Capital has a strong foursome to lead the team into Saturday gamedays. The following individuals will serve as captains this season, as voted on by the team:
#12 Nick Iske, QB, Sr.
#13 Cory Heeter, RB, Sr.
#6   Shawn Facione Jr., LB, Sr.
#30 Derek Eibon, LB, Sr. 
A couple of this year's Crusaders took a year (or two) off, or came to Cap Football from other sports and now are donning purple and white.
#31 Antwan Shipp, DB
Played in seven games in 2015, made one tackle.
#67 James Zamor, DL
Played in 10 games between 2014-15.
#84 Ben Drake, WR
Played baseball at Cap in 2016, first year of football.
#86 Noah Dall, TE
Played two games at slotback in 2014.


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