Football Can’t Keep Up with Wittenberg

Ashley Parish

Oberlin College trailed by only a touchdown after the first half against Wittenberg University last weekend, but in the end the Tigers’ explosive offense was too much for the Yeomen. Oberlin lost 41–19 to nationally ranked Wittenberg on a cold and windy afternoon in southern Ohio.

“I think we played really well for the first half. I think despite the turnovers offensively we did pressure their defense,” said Head Coach Jeff Ramsey. “I think defensively we did a decent job of shutting down the pass game, except for on maybe five plays; it really hurt us.”

“I’m always pleased with our team’s effort,” he continued, “and that’s always a bright spot because we played physical football against a team that’s ranked nationally, and for the last two years we’ve played this team fairly well.”

The Yeomen have struggled to defeat the Tigers in recent years. Although the Yeomen failed to end their losing streak, they were still able to hold their ground and show signs of improvement last weekend. Oberlin displayed a dependable running game and junior starting quarterback Josh Mandel returned to the lineup after spending some time sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Wittenberg jumped ahead with a touchdown late in the first quarter, and then added another score at the start of the second before the Yeomen answered back with some offense of their own. To conclude an eight-play drive, Mandel tossed an easy four-yard pass to junior wide receiver Robin Witjes for a touchdown. Fellow junior and wide receiver Adam Niec scored the next points for the Yeomen, but Oberlin failed to convert on the ensuing extra point.

Oberlin’s offense through the air was supplemented by a strong performance from sophomore running back Moses Richardson, who gained 92 rushing yards on fourteen carries in the effort. With a season total of 290 yards, Richardson leads the team in rushing so far this season.

Oberlin got back in the game in the middle of the fourth quarter when Mandel ran it in from one-yard to put the score at 19–31. Mandel was excited to get back on the field after his unwanted break from the game.

“It felt great coming back after not being able to suit up against Hiram,” he said. “We fought hard, but Wittenberg played a better game and the score showed that.”

The loss served as a learning experience for an Oberlin squad that, especially in recent season, is making a name for itself.

“Our goals are pretty simple and it’s not to look ahead, don’t look behind, let’s play one day at a time,” Ramsey said. “To take each week to do the best that we can because that’s all that we ask for is for their best, and if that’s good enough to win, then great. If it’s not then we [need to] find out what we need to do better. It seems [like] we lost part of that process.”

The Yeomen will look to add their third win of the season this Saturday, Oct. 8, when they travel to nearby rival Case Western Reserve University for a night game at 6 p.m.