Wooster narrowly fell to the Wittenberg Tigers in a tough 12-14 loss in Springfield, Ohio. This is the Scots’ 10th straight loss to the Wittenberg Tigers since beating them in 2008, 27-6. This loss was the closest game played between the Scots and Tigers on record since 2000. The Scots settled for field goals in the second and third quarters while giving two touchdowns to the Tigers to make the score 6-14. Late in the fourth quarter, running back Troy Baughman ’22 got his third touchdown of the season. With 4:32 left in the game, the Scots went for a two-point conversion to send the game into overtime. Quarterback Mateo Renteria ’22 attempted a pass to tight end Jacob Lewis ’20 but could not secure the ball. “Comparing this loss to last year’s, the main difference is that we were that much closer to beating Witt and this loss hurt a little more than the loss last year,” said Baughman. Wooster has now lost to Wittenberg by a combined nine points in two years, which is the closest of any two-year stretch and a huge improvement from many double digit blowouts of the past.
On offense, the Scots fought harder than the statistics may show. Wooster was out-possessed 23:34 to 36:26, but was still able to score in three out of four quarters. Renteria had trouble finding open receivers in the Wittenberg secondary completing 15 out of 31 passing attempts for 148 passing yards but made up for it with 47 rushing yards including a 13 yard rush. Renteria now has 40.7 rushing yards per game, third best for dual threat quarterbacks in the conference.
Baughman had another excellent game rushing for 86 yards with 5.6 yards per carry and a touchdown. Baughman said his performance was a team effort with the offensive line, “the largest factor of my performance would have to be the offensive line. they were able to get good push on those d-linemen all game.” Wooster’s o-line only allowed one sack all game.
Renteria threw to eight receivers during the game with four of them picking up over 20 yards receiving. Lewis gained 19 yards on a crucial third-and-seven drive and Nick Strausbaugh ’20 caught a 12 yard pass that would set up Wooster’s touchdown. Kicker Lake Barrett ’23 remained perfect with two field goal attempts from 25 and 37 yards out. The Scots combined for 284 yards of total offense.
On defense, the Scots performed well holding Wittenberg to their lowest point total in the series. North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Defensive Player of the Week Kea’Shaun Phillips ’21 led the defense with 13 tackles, including one for a five yard loss, and one interception. “For me personally, I had a good idea of what they were trying to do all week,” said Phillips. “I watch a lot of film and I am able to pick up on tendencies of our opponent. I knew it was going to be a physical game so I just wanted to make sure I was doing my job and matching the physicality of Wittenberg,” continued Phillips.
Robert Alvarez ’20 and Brandon Holt ’23 picked up sacks for a nine and three yard loss each. Wooster’s defense had to play long and hard with the Tigers maintaining a lot more ball possession. “We overcame our exhaustion because we rotated a lot of guys in and out whenever we got tired,” said captain and defensive tackle De’Andre Brown ’20. “We were getting good pressure on the quarterback but we had a hard time with stopping the run,” Brown continued. Wittenberg maintained their passing performance with 219 yards and 14 points, which is telling of the Scots’ scoring defense when considering Wittenberg had 218 passing yards and 36 points against Hiram the week before. Overall the Scots allowed 392 from Wittenberg mostly made up for by 174 rushing yards.
This loss stings especially hard for the seniors as this was their last chance to beat their arch-rivals. “This loss hurts because we were so close and we felt like we were the better team and we should have won,” said Brown. “The seniors are hurting the most because that was our last chance to beat them.” Though the Scots narrowly fell, they still had a lot to be proud of, losing by only two points on the road against a former nationally ranked opponent. “We knew we could beat this team if we played well enough all four quarters but we were not able to do so. We have a very confident locker room and we played confident all day” said Phillips. The Scots will face Wittenberg at home next year with Renteria, Baughman and Phillips returning to hopefully finally get over the hump.