The Fighting Scots went into Waynesburg, Pa. on Saturday with one goal in mind – shut down Robert Heller.

Mission accomplished.

With revenge on the tip of its tongue, this Wooster team placed a bulls-eye on the back of the Waynesburg University pre-season All-American running back, an improved defense stuffed the same back that shredded the Scots for 277 yards and five touchdowns last year. This time, Heller was held to 104 yards and no touchdowns.

Stingy and stubborn, the work of the defensive line led the team the entire game. However, it was the work of a pass-hungry secondary that set the tone early and often. Led by a career day by Pat Zimmerman ’09, the defense of the Scots intercepted five Tigers’ passes. This tied the team record when the Scots picked off five against Allegheny College on Oct. 2, 1999.

Zimmerman lead the defensive charge for the whole length of the game, picking off two passes himself while also leading the team in the tackles with 10, nine of them being solo. Eric Keyes ’11 and Matt DeGrand ’10 also turned in impressive performances. Keyes lead the team with two sacks along with seven tackles, while DeGrand started another run at a selection on the NCAC team, turning in six solo tackles on the day.

Up front, the Scots’ defensive and offensive lines proved why this season will be different for the Black and Gold. Controlling the ball and the clock, the Scot offense stepped up to the plate and was not willing to let the defense completely steal the show. Quarterback Austin Holter ’10 and running back Dustin Sheppard ’09 both piloted the Wooster attack with two impressive performances.

The Tigers scored on their first drive down the field with a 44-yard field goal, but the lead did not last long as Holter marched the team down the field to go ahead on a touchdown pass to wide out Mike Francescangeli ’10. Making the switch from the defensive side of the ball to the offensive side, Francescangeli seems primed for a break out season. He notched his first touchdown in his Wooster career while finishing off the 67-yard drive. But the Scots weren’t just satisfied there. Remembering the 45-35 loss in week three of last season, the Scots continued to bury the Tigers every chance they had. On their second drive down the field, this time Holter hooked up with Mike’s brother, Joe Francescangeli ’09, to finish off a 67-yard drive.

Leading at the half was an all-too- familiar feeling for the Scots from last year, one that Dustin Sheppard knew he did not want to experience again.

Following a field goal to cut the Scots’ lead to just seven points, the offense marched back down the field for a 90-yard drive, which resulted in a Sheppard five-yard touchdown run, the 28th of his career.

To seal the deal, with five minutes left in the game, Holter scrampered for a three-yard touchdown run that deflated any hope for the hometown team. Joining in on the receiving fun as well, Holter hooked up with three other receivers in Jon Mathis ’10, Kyle Murdock ’11 and Cameron Daniels ’12 to finish the day with an impressive stat line – 257 yards of total offense on 147 yards passing and a career-high 110 rushing on only 13 attempts.

Sheppard added 82 yards on the ground and another 25 on the receiving end.

When all was said and done, Wooster out-hustled, out-smarted and downright outplayed the Tigers in a game that marked a great start the 2008 campaign.

Behind the powerful offensive line, led by Cameron LeMasters ’09, the offense racked up 352 yards, by out-rushing its non-conference opponent 205-118 and out-passing them as well, 147-142.

The defensive front seven, highlighted by two top-notch ends in Luke Drake ’11 and Chris Wade ’10, and two bulls in the middle in Pat Byrne ’09 and Jeff Brown ’09, not only did the Scots take on the improbable task of shutting down Heller, but also limited the Tigers to just 260 yards of total offense – 17 less than Heller had alone in last season’s match-up.

The Scots will look to continue their great start to the season in two weekends coming off a bye week to begin their assault on the tough NCAC conference in their cross-state rival Ohio Wesleyan as part of Family Weekend.

Last year the team claimed its first victory of the season in comeback fashion against the Owls for a 13-9 victory.

While the team trailed for most of the game, Holter connected with now-departed receiver Will Miska ’08 on a key fourth-down conversion. On the next play, running back Dustin Sheppard ’08 ran for a touchdown on a 34-yard dash to the end zone. In the game, Sheppard became the 10th player in school history to run for 2,000 yards in his career.

After last season’s disappointing 0-4 start, the team has a chance to totally turn things around in the early going this year.

If the team can find a way to beat Ohio Wesleyan next Saturday, it could well be 4-0 before the annual rivalry game against Case Western Reserve University on Oct. 11.