Through transitive property, Ohio Northern should have beat Baldwin Wallace on Saturday night…by a lot.
Baldwin Wallace lost to Bluffton, and Bluffton lost to Wilmington, which snapped a 23-game losing streak for the Quakers (dating back to 2012). Transitively, Ohio Northern should have won on Saturday. But, that’s why they play the game.
The Polar Bears missed three field goals and two extra points, while also committing a costly red-zone turnover in the fourth quarter in a 28-27 loss to Baldwin Wallace on Saturday night at Dial-Roberson Stadium.
The Bears got off to a slow start offensively, accumulating just 13 total yards by the 12:21 mark in the second quarter. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets were going to work.
Baldwin Wallace drove down the field on their second possession and scored a touchdown on a 24-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Moeglin. On their next possession, the Yellow Jackets scored on a 37-yard touchdown pass. BW made the extra point as time expired, putting them ahead 14-0 after one quarter.
The 2nd quarter began with a bang- literally. BW’s Andy Schultz blitzed ONU freshman quarterback Will Freed and blindsided him, sacking the QB and forcing a fumble on the play. While the Yellow Jackets would not score on the next possession, the big hit would set the tone for the rest of the game.
Freed and the Bears drove down the field on their next drive, and a remarkable catch by senior wideout Devon Price set up a Justin Magazine touchdown run to get ONU on the scoreboard.
Baldwin Wallace would fumble the ensuing kickoff, and Northern recovered the ball on the BW 20 yard line. Freed scrambled into the end zone on a 7-yard run, bringing ONU within one point of BW after the extra point was missed.
Northern and BW went back and forth on the next two possessions, with the Yellow Jackets and Moeglin, the duel-threat quarterback, parading down the field on a series of long runs. They scored a touchdown on a two-yard rush to push the lead to 8.
However, ONU fired back on their next possession with a 16-play, 81-yard drive that took nearly six minutes off the clock. Freed found senior receiver Reed Allen streaking across the field for a 31-yard touchdown pass, and the two-point conversion would tie the game at 21 heading into halftime.
Baldwin Wallace started the second half with a drive that took half of the third quarter, lasting almost 8 minutes. The 15-play, 76-yard effort was capped off with a touchdown, a dive over the goal line, and BW regained the lead, 28-21.
Northern would strike back on the next possession, however, as Magazine scampered in for a 9-yard touchdown run with just under two minutes left in the quarter. But, as was the story of the night for the Polar Bears, ONU missed the extra point. They entered the fourth quarter down by one point.
ONU attempted a 51-yard field goal to start the fourth quarter, but the kick was blocked. On their next offensive possession, the Polar Bears drove to the BW 11-yard line, but an errant pass by Freed was intercepted in the end zone to kill the scoring opportunity.
The Ohio Northern defense played a marvelous fourth quarter, forcing two punts and never allowing BW to get into the red zone. However, ONU’s offense just couldn’t deliver the knockout punch.
With 7:24 left in the game, Freed and the Bears drove 46 yards to the Baldwin Wallace two-yard line, where they were forced to settle for a field goal. However, the 19-yard field goal attempt was shanked to the left, and ONU would come away with no points yet again.
BW took the ball with 3:11 left, and their offense churned out three first downs to seal the game. Moeglin made a spectacular effort on their last third down, running out of the pocket and leaping over two ONU defenders to move the chains one final time.
The clock ran out as Baldwin Wallace celebrated their upset road victory, 28-27. BW improved to 1-1, while ONU fell to 1-1.
It was a game of missed opportunities for the Polar Bears, who left multiple extra points, field goals, and potential touchdowns on the table on Saturday night. WONB’s Brett Wonders and John Kramer, who called the game, shared their opinion:
Brett: It’s hard, in the game of football, to put the blame all on one of the facets; but if there was ever a week to do it, it would be this one. Ohio Northern missed five, count ‘em five, kicks over the course of the game. Two of the kicks were fifty yarders, which aren’t exactly automatic in DIII, but the other three kicks came from three yards and in. If you want to look outside of the special teams unit to place blame, look at a slow start for the offense with just 13 yards of offense at the 12:21 mark of the 2nd quarter and a costly off-sides penalty from the defense in the third quarter that led to a BW touchdown. All-in-all, it was a disappointing result for the first night game of the year. The Polar Bears have no time to feel sorry for themselves though as they welcome in a tough Heidelberg team for homecoming. Still plenty of time for Ohio Northern to turn the season around with some quality teams coming up on the schedule.
John: Until the clock hit all zeros in the 4th quarter, I thought ONU would win the game. They outplayed BW in every facet except for special teams. Justin Magazine played outstanding. His individual performance nearly allowed ONU to pick up their second win of the year.
Ohio Northern will host Heidelberg (0-2) in a 1:30 p.m. game next Saturday, on Homecoming Weekend. It will be a crucial game for the Bears, as they go on the road to play John Carroll and Mount Union in the following weeks.