NCAC Powerhouses Await Yeomen

Alex McNicoll

In what was arguably the football team’s best-played game of the season, the Yeomen fell 34–30 in a heartbreaker to The College of Wooster Fighting Scots. Now the Yeomen look to regroup as they set their sights on the last three games of the season. Despite a 0–7 start, the team isn’t fretting as it approaches the final stretch of the year.

“I feel like our first losses were really hard on the team,” junior wide receiver Federico Consuegra said. “[But] we’ve bounced back, and I think we were able to keep our motivation. Sometimes last year we were completely deflated after losses, and now I feel like we really haven’t done that too much.”

The Yeomen will host the No. 23 Wittenberg University Tigers tomorrow, who are currently tied for second place in the conference at 6–1 overall and 5–1 in the NCAC. The Yeomen are prepared to combat the Tigers’ top-ranked defense, which has held opposing teams to 9.7 points per game. Despite the national attention Wittenberg has received for its excellent play, Oberlin is ready for the challenge.

“We have to keep [the game] within ourselves,” senior wide receiver Justin Cruz said. “We have to see what we can do.”

After facing off against Wittenberg, Oberlin will play their final home game of the year against DePauw University on Nov. 5. The Tigers will be another tough test for the Yeomen as they are 5–2 overall, 4–2 in the NCAC. Unlike Wittenberg, DePauw’s strength is its explosive offense, which is first in the conference with 41 points and 494.6 yards per game. However, Head Coach Jay Anderson is not too concerned with how his team will fare in competitions against both of these powerhouses in consecutive weeks.

“We try to take it day by day and try to get better every day at what we do,” Anderson said. “For us, it’s about living in the now and focusing on what’s in front of us.”

In their season finale on Nov. 12, the Yeomen will look for revenge on the road against the Hiram College Terriers. Last year, in an intense rivalry game, the Terriers came back after being down 21–3 to eventually defeat the Yeomen 24–21.

With the team continuing to improve, the Yeomen are set to turn their weekly improvements into victories.

“I feel like everyone from [first-years] to juniors and seniors have really grown this season,” Cruz said. “They’ve not only grown as players, but grown as a team.”

In the end, all eyes will fall on first-year starting quarterback Zach Taylor, who is determined to end his first collegiate season on the right note. The Artesia, CA native has thrown for 1,325 yards and 11 touchdowns this year.

However, Cruz and the rest of the Yeomen aren’t trying to get ahead of themselves before they suit up for the first of these last three games.

“We’re taking things one game at a time, and we’re trying to go 1–0 for that week,” he said.

Since they last played The College of Wooster, the Yeomen have had 14 days to prepare for their matchup tomorrow since they were idle this past week. If the Yeomen can build on the success they had against the Fighting Scots, the team believes that they can finish the season on a positive note to build momentum for next year.