WRITER • The football team ventured to Ohio to face conference opponent Oberlin College (2-4, 1-4 in conference). This was a big week for the Little Giants to prove themselves after their October 14 loss to Ohio Wesleyan University. The Little Giants were 5-1 overall and 4-1 in conference going into their matchup against Oberlin. The Little Giants looked to regain some momentum as they are preparing to head into the toughest part of their 2017 schedule.
In the first quarter, the Little Giants got off to a slow start as they allowed Oberlin to score a 77-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the game. Oberlin exposed the secondary of the Wabash defense early, but the Little Giants fought back as quarterback Weston Murphy ’20 threw a six-yard pass to his tight end, Dylan Buresh ’18 to tie the game up at 7-7. After a little bit of back-and-forth, Oberlin struck again as they escaped the Wabash defense for a 28-yard touchdown run to retake the lead, putting Oberlin up 14-7 over the Little Giants.
The Wabash defense kicked it in gear and found their stride in the second quarter, shutting down receivers and stopping rushing attacks at the line of scrimmage. The Wabash defense held the Oberlin offense to a total of just 16 plays in the second quarter and allowed Oberlin only 28 yards of total offense. The defensive pressure put some positive momentum behind Wabash offense. Running back Ike James ’20 lead the way with two rushing touchdowns in the second quarter alone. James’ two scores put the Little Giants up 21-14 over the Yeomen at the end of the first half.
The third quarter proved rather uneventful. Both teams went back and forth for the entire quarter. The score remained locked at 21-14 at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter provided more action. The Little Giant defense was able to capitalize on some costly errors from the Oberlin offense. Luke Kseniak ’18 recovered a fumble and took it to the house, making the score 28-14 in favor of the Little Giants. Oberlin responded with another big play, a 50-yard touchdown pass, that extended the score 28-21. The Wabash offense secured the win when they went on a 9:41 possession. The drive ended with Isaac Avant ’20 punching it in the end zone from the three-yard line. The rushing duo James and Avant are proving to be a huge asset for the Little Giant offense. James finished the game with 206 rushing yards on 29 carries. James’ performance against Oberlin etched his name in Wabash history. James became the 11th player in Wabash history to run for over 1,000 yards in a season. Avant also beat his own personal one-game rushing record with his 136 yards on the ground. This is the second time this season that both James and Avant ran for over 100 yards in the same game.
Evan Hansen ’19 is finding himself in good form as he recorded 15 tackles last weekend, setting a new career best. The Wabash offense recorded 459 yards of total offense. The defense proved tough against the rush allowing Oberlin only 49 rushing yards. Even with their successes against the rush, the Wabash defense struggled against the pass allowing 251 yards in the air. The final score of the game was 35-21.
Tomorrow, Wabash will face the toughest conference opponent yet as they play the undefeated Wittenberg University Tigers. “During the Oberlin game, we had some critical mistakes on defense that cannot happen against the high-powered offense of Wittenberg,” Hansen said. “We have to play strong, solid team defense and give our offense every opportunity to score.”
Last weekend Wittenberg took home a big win over DePauw, smacking them 52-6. This game always has a lot of weight and the Little Giants have a lot of work ahead of them, but they should be up to the challenge. Wabash takes the field on Saturday, October 28 against Wittenberg at 1 p.m.