By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
BEREA, Ohio – The first half of Saturday's OAC football matchup between Capital University and Baldwin Wallace University turned into a shootout but those offensive results were unable to be sustained by the Crusaders in the second half, leading to a 52-34 loss at George Finnie Stadium.
Each team found the end zone three times in the first half of play and only a field goal separated the Crusaders and Yellow Jackets heading into halftime. Baldwin Wallace (5-3, 4-3 OAC) then scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter, all through the air, to take a commanding lead.
On its first drive of the third quarter, the Yellow Jackets wrapped up a four-play, 62-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass from BW quarterback Jake Hudson to Chad Steinwachs. He then hit two different receivers in the end zone in Rob Wolfington and Deion Greer, to balloon its lead to 45-21 with 5:36 remaining in the third quarter. Though Capital hit paydirt twice more in the game, Baldwin Wallace's breakaway was more than enough to lead to the win.
Collectively, the Capital defense surrendered 630 yards of total offense. It was also the fifth straight game where an opponent registered more than 300 yards on the ground after the Yellow Jackets tallied 305, led by Austin Smith's 131 yards on 16 carries.
Sophomore wide receiver David Barnett (Springfield, Ohio/Shawnee) had one of his best game of the season after catching three touchdown passes and totaling 99 yards on nine catches. Barnett's three scores against BW tied a single-game career high, and he now has nine touchdown catches on the season.
The junior and Zanesville connection between quarterback Thomas Wibbeler (Zanesville, Ohio/Zanesville) and wide receiver Dartavious Stanford (Zanesville, Ohio/Zanesville) was alive and well, leading to the duo connecting four times for 140 of Wibbeler's 286 yards. Stanford found the end zone for his ninth touchdown catch of the season.
Junior running back Nateshawn Hargrove (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) led the rushing attack with 69 yards on 15 carries and found the end zone for the fourth time this season.
Baldwin Wallace scored on the opening drive of the game, going 13 plays and 75 yards over the course of 5:51. Baldwin Wallace had only one play of over 10 yards, but moved the chains effectively until BW quarterback Jake Hudson finished the job with a one-yard touchdown run.
Barnett became the feature piece of the Capital offense and was key in getting the Crusaders on the board. Capital responded with a methodical five-minute drive of its own that ended in two completions to Barnett, including a four-yard touchdown pass and catch from junior quarterback Thomas Wibbeler (Zanesville, Ohio/Zanesville).
Following a 60-yard touchdown run by BW's Austin Smith, Capital delivered a steady dose of running back Nateshawn Hargrove to set up Barnett's second touchdown grab of the day. This time, Wibbeler hit Barnett from 10 yards away and with a successful point-after touchdown try by freshman Blake Middleton, Cap tied it again, 14-14.
Capital then took its one and only lead of the game when with one play, Wibbeler found his other favorite target, junior Dartavious Stanford (Zanesville, Ohio/Zanesville) for a 50-yard touchdown reception. Baldwin Wallace then began a run of 31 unanswered points which made the difference in the game.
Capital did generate two takeaways, one via an Austin White interception in the waning minutes of the second quarter and a second on a muffed punt that ended the Yellow Jackets' second drive of the third quarter before it began. Senior defensive back Eric Stroski (Concord, Ohio/Riverside) made a career-high 12 tackles to lead the team.
Capital will play its final home game of the season and celebrate its senior class on Saturday, Nov. 4 when the Crusaders host the Marietta College Pioneers. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.