COLUMBUS, Ohio –Saturday marks an eventful day for Capital University and Crusaders Football. Campus will be bustling with Homecoming festivities while Capital Football (2-6 overall, 1-6 OAC) hosts Heidelberg University (6-2 overall, 5-2 OAC) on its Senior Day. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. from Bernlohr Stadium.
LAST TIME OUT
The Crusaders' defensive struggles continued after allowing 35 unanswered points out of the gate in last week's 48-14 loss to Baldwin Wallace University. Four of the Yellow Jackets' scoring plays were for 35 or more yards, with a fifth recorded as a 32-yard scoring play. Issac Reed III tallied 197 yards on 12 carries while Tyler Moeglin went 11-for-15 through the air for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
Capital exposed the Baldwin Wallace rush defense, rackling up 322 yards on the ground over the course of the day. Sophomore Brent Walton (Pickerington, Ohio/Central) led the Crusaders with 133 yards but it was freshman Cory Heeter and sophomore Nick Waters who found the end zone for Capital, each the first of their careers.
Turnovers plagued the Crusaders, committing four of them that included three interceptions thrown by freshman quarterback Nick Iske (Hilliard, Ohio/Davidson). On the other end, sophomore safety Jimmy Curtis (Hilliard, Ohio/Davidson) forced two Baldwin Wallace turnovers by jarring the ball loose. That effort, plus a team-high eight tackles, led him to be named OAC Defensive Player of the Week.
The Crusaders have now lost six straight contests after winning their first two games to start the season.
|Head coach Craig Candeto|
|Bradley Beck, Sr., OL|
THE LOW DOWN ON CAPITAL
Capital continues to display its robust running game after elevating to No. 8 in the country in total team rushing. Led by Walton, who is second in the OAC in rushing yards per game (108.8 ypg), the ground game will be essential in controlling the clock and keeping the ball out of the hands of Heidelberg's high-powered offense. To date, Capital has won the time of possession battle in all but one game this season and in each of the last five. They have also outgained their opponent on the ground in each of the last four games and accumulated 275 yards or more in three of those games.
After a career-high 115 yards on the ground against Ohio Northern two weeks ago, Iske has been quiet under center having posted a combined 75 yards on the ground over the last two games. He has also lost a fumble and thrown for four interceptions in that time. He will need to revert back to his play that helped him collect back-to-back games of three rushing touchdowns in which he combined for 182 yards rushing and 198 yards passing. In those games, Capital scored 66 total points. Since, the Crusaders have mustered just 21 points.
The defense continues to evaluate all the young talent that flows throughout its ranks. Safety Jimmy Curtis has emerged as a solid stopper in the Crusaders' defensive backfield, alongside fellow safety, Joe Rodriguez (Miami Springs, Fla.). Together, the duo has combined for 95 tackles and represents the top two tacklers on the team. Last week, Curtis caused two fumbles while Rodriguez recorded a fumble recovery. Against nationally-ranked John Carroll, Rodriguez recorded his second interception of the year. Since returning to the lineup, captain and sophomore linebacker RJ Heins has recorded 20 tackles, 10 of the solo variety.
STUDYING THE STUDENT PRINCES
When talking about Heidelberg, their offense is typically the point of emphasis. They are averaging 45.8 points per game, third-most in the OAC, behind a balanced attack that puts up 513.1 yards of total offense per game. Michael Meese quarterbacks the Student Princes and has a 23-to-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio this season. He and wide receiver Donteea Dye have connected 51 times this season, allowing Dye to lead the conference in catches, yards (897), yards per game (112.1), and touchdown receptions (11).
The top statistical running back in the OAC, Cartel Brooks, is in the backfield for the Student Princes. He is set to break 1,000 yards for the year as he currently stands at a conference-best 995 yards. He averages 7.7 yards per carry and is fourth in the conference in touchdowns with 10.
The offense needs those kinds of numbers because the Heidelberg defense has allowed an average of 29.9 points per game to its opponents. Granted, they held Wilmington to 10 points last week its win over the Quakers but it is vulnerable, especially in the running game. The Student Princes allow nearly 245 yards per game on the ground, which plays well into Capital's offensive strategy. Junior linebacker Clay Staib leads the team and is fourth in the OAC with 76 total tackles, has five tackles for loss, one sack, and one interception which was returned for a touchdown against John Carroll. Defensive linemen Ryan Malloy and Ben Poirer lead the team with four-and-one-half sacks, each.
Capital Football will be honoring five individuals who will be playing in their final game at Bernlohr Stadium, this Saturday. Prior to the game, Capital Athletics will honor offensive lineman Bradley Beck (Fremont, Ohio), linebackers TJ Langermeier (West Jefferson, Ohio) and Taylor Patterson (West Milton, Ohio), punter and kicker Joseph Riley (Twinsburg, Ohio), and slot back Nolan Gill (Hilliard, Ohio/Davidson).
In addition to Senior Day, Saturday marks Capital's annual homecoming celebration. Festivities inside the Capital Center will begin as early as 10:30 a.m. and include activities such as corn hole, caricature drawings, buffet-style dining, and general tailgating. Columbus-area cover band Next Exit will be playing dance and party rock music for live entertainment from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.