Cap Football Brings it Back to Bernlohr Against Blue Streaks

Pictured: Jake Elsayed (photo credit: Jamie Gaffney)
Pictured: Jake Elsayed (photo credit: Jamie Gaffney)

 Capital University Crusaders


John Carroll University Blue Streaks

(3-3, 3-2 OAC)   Saturday, October 21  |  1:30 p.m.   (1-5, 1-4 OAC)
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While the John Carroll offense is on track cut down its turnovers and score in large numbers, its defense has taken a hit from its national semifinalist team of a year ago. The Blue Streaks are now allowing 25.5 points per game, up nearly double from last year's defense that surrendered just 12.6 points per game. They return leading tackler Mason McKenrick, but he has not recorded a sack yet after posting six in 2017. He again leads the team with 41 stops. Sophomore Jimmy Thomas has taken over as the sack master with a team-leading 5.5 this season. The offense has its quarterback and top two running backs returning, but did lose its top two receivers from a year ago that accounted for over 1,000 yards and 17 touchdowns. Filling the void is WR Brian Kornowski (40-496-2), who has more than three times as many catches as the next in line. Ro Golphin (68-407-4) and Sam Kukura (51-299-4) have split time out of the backfield, while sophomore QB Anthony Moeglin returns. He has thrown for 1,140 yards, a 57.9 completion percentage, and an 8-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
... John Carroll scored five touchdowns from three yards or closer and four of those were runs by Sam Kukura. Ro Golphin picked up one touchdown as well from three yards out, as well. JCU totaled more than 500 yards of offense, 297 of which came on the ground. Capital lost QB Thomas Wibbeler to a knee injury just before halftime, but the Blue Streaks had already built up a 42-point lead. John Carroll won the game, 56-0.
John Carroll has won the last seven meetings against the Crusaders and holds a 9-21-1 advantage in the all-time series. The last time Capital beat JCU was in 2009, 28-20.
... Capital marked up 14 points in the first quarter against a defense that had averaged just 6.2 points against all season long. Mount Union then rattled off 51 unanswered points to run away with a 72-14 victory in Alliance.
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Capital's record in October games in recent history has not been pleasant. Over the last six seasons, Capital is 3-26 in the month of October, where the meat of the OAC schedule resides. Their 2016 win versus Otterbein 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. They defeated Baldwin Wallace in double overtime last year in the final game of October for its second win, marking its best October in nearly a decade. 
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, Dartavious 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. Versus Otterbein, he made had his second 100-plus yard game with 140 yards on nine catches (both team highs) and three touchdowns (new career high). He now has four games with 100+ yards receiving, and a season line of 39-619-7.
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 Dartavious 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 31 times for 514 yards and six 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 in four games.
Last year, QB Thomas Wibbeler became just the third Capital quarterback to reach 1,500 yards passing. That mark was reached just before he endured a season-ending injury against John Carroll in 2016. With more than 200 yards passing last week against No. 2 Mount Union, Wibbeler against surpassed the 1,500-yard mark and now seeks to become the first 2,000-yard passer since Marty Assman (2,382 yards, 2009). He currently has 1,676 yards, 18 touchdowns, and seven interceptions, which are the best numbers since 2010 when Chase Carris threw for 1,905 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 picks.
Freshman Hayden Kotwica didn't script up his first career touchdown pass this way, but can boast that it came against the second-ranked team in the nation. Last week against No. 2 Mount Union, starting quarterback Thomas Wibbeler had his helmet pop off after he ran the ball down inside the red zone. Wibbeler was forced to exit the game for one play, but Kotwica came in and on his lone play of the quarter hit Nateshawn Hargrove for a 10-yard touchdown pass to tie the game, 7-7.
For the first time this season, a team tied No. 2 Mount Union after initial points were scored. Though Mount scored first, Hayden Kotwica's first TD pass tied it up 7-7 early in the first quarter - and on Cap's first possession.
Looking at the Capital Football records, WR David Barnett cracked into the top-10 in single-season receiving yards ... as a freshman. Follow along as Barnett and new partner in crime on the outside, Dartavious Stanford, begin a new climb up the Cap Top-10 ladder for receiving yards and touchdown grabs.

Receiving yardage

10. Dan Petersen (2001) ... 784 yards, 50 rec., 12 TDs

Touchdown receptions

t-5th. Matt White (2011), Kive Kraft (2005), David Barnett (2016) ... 10 TDs

2017 numbers

Dartavious Stanford ... 619 yards, 7 TDs

David Barnett ... 432 yards, 5 TDs

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** Photos courtesy of Jamie Gaffney **