The Hiram College football team was defeated by Ohio Wesleyan University, 48-24, in a North Coast Athletic Conference game at Selby Stadium in Delaware.
In the first quarter, Ohio Wesleyan (4-0, 2-0 NCAC) received the opening kick, but would turn the ball over on its first play from scrimmage on a fumble that was recovered by Hiram junior linebacker Tyler Williams(Ravenna/Rootstown). The Terriers failed to convert on the turnover keeping the score 0-0. The first points were scored by the Battling Bishops with 5:16 left in the period on a one-yard touchdown rush by Scott Jenkins to put OWU up 7-0. Hiram (0-5, 0-3 NCAC) answered the score with a TD of its own on its ensuing possession when freshman quarterback Zach Bailey (Warren/Niles McKinley) found junior wideout Richard Simpson (Kissimmee, Fla./Gateway) in the endzone capping a five-play, 80-yard drive to even the score at 7-7 with 2:58 left in the first. The Bishops regained the lead shortly after marching 74 yards in five plays that included a 45-yard pass play and then a 24-yard TD completion from Mason Espinosa to Calvin Cagney to give OWU a 14-7 advantage after one quarter of play.
The second quarter featured 10 points, all by OWU, beginning with a 34-yard field goal by Miles MacKenzie to extend the margin to 17-7 with 8:47 left in the half. The Bishops then took control finding the endzone on a another one-yard TD scamper by Jenkins for a 24-7 margin at the intermission.
Neither team would score in the third until late in the period when OWU connected on a one-play TD drive when Espinosa found Dave Mogilnicki on a 43-yard pass completion at the 5:19 minute mark as the Bishops padded their lead to 31-7. OWU got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff as the result of a Hiram fumble which led to three more Bishop points with MacKenzie converting a 39-yard attempt making the score 34-7 heading into the final quarter.
Hiram ended the scoring drought early in the fourth quarter thanks to a 36-yard field goal by freshman kicker Thomas Kuczma (Brunswick) with 13:20 left in the game to narrow the gap to 34-10. Both teams traded scores on back-to-back possessions with the Terriers’ score coming on a 23-yard TD toss from Bailey to Simpson, but Hiram would still trail 41-17 with 7:02 remaining. OWU answered the Hiram TD scoring on its next possession with a one-yard run by Zane Kieffer putting the Bishops up 48-17. The Terriers recorded the final points of the game on a three-yard run by freshman running back Dante Lambert (Winter Haven, Fla./Lake Region) with 29 seconds to go. But the earlier lead built by OWU would be enough as the Bishops went on to capture the 48-24 victory.
OWU ended the game with 479 yards of total offense (82 rushing and 397 passing) and was led by Espinosa who completed 28-of-43 passes for a game-high 380 yards and two TD. Scott Jenkins had a game-tying high eight receptions for 66 yards. Kieffer led the Bishop running attack with 44 yards on eight carries and one TD. Defensively, Jame Huddleston had a team-high nine tackles, including four sacks, five tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.
Hiram ended the game with 226 yards of offense (15 rushing and 211 passing). Bailey completed 25-of-33 passes for 183 yards and a pair of TD. Senior running back Chris Austin (Cleveland/Glenville) led all rushers with 17 carries for 59 yards. Simpson caught seven passes for 53 yards and two TD. Fellow wideout, sophomore Brent Bryner(Willowick/Eastlake North) had a game-tying high eight receptions for 80 yards. On defense, senior defensive back Dominick Harper (Akron/Kenmore) had a game-high 16 tackles, including a forced fumble and three pass breakups. Junior defensive back Josh Peacock (Carson City, Nev./Carson) added 11 tackles, including a half tackle for loss and a blocked kick.
Hiram will be idle next week, but will then travel to Wooster for a NCAC game against The College of Wooster on Saturday, Oct. 13. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.