Football Falls to Case Western, Preps for Hiram
By Colin Smith

Big defensive lapses and a second half scoring drought landed the Yeoman football squad a 37-11 loss at Case Western Reserve University on Saturday, dropping Oberlin’s record to 0-2.
The Spartans of Case Western required only 60 offensive plays to rack up 483 yards and five touchdowns. The Yeomen posted 302 yards of offense and won the turnover battle by forcing three Case giveaways, but could only come up with nine points on offense, all in the first quarter.
“We were moving the ball, but we weren’t getting in the end zone,” senior quarterback Chris Moffatt said.
Oberlin trailed just 20-11 going into the second half, but Case pulled away with 10 third-quarter points after the Yeomen turned the ball over on downs on their first three possessions after halftime. Case sealed the game with a 60-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter.
“On 50 plays we held them to 119 yards,” head coach Jeff Ramsey said. “On 10 plays we gave up 364.”
Case made eight plays of 30 yards or more, three of which went for touchdowns. Case also converted seven out its 14 third downs and was 15 of 26 passing.
“Every play where we made mistakes it was only one guy,” Ramsey said of the big plays. “It’s that brief loss of concentration where they beat us.”
Case’s big gains were even more frustrating since Oberlin “knew what was coming,” because the Spartans were calling their plays at the line of scrimmage, Ramsey said.
The game got off to a promising start for the Yeomen. They held the Spartans to one first down on the opening drive and forced a punt. With Moffatt at quarterback, the Yeomen drove 69 yards down the field on the strength of a 14-yard run by sophomore Travis Oman and a 44-yard reception by first-year Chad Cutting. Oman ran it in on third and goal from the one for the go-ahead score.
Case was able to block the point-after attempt, and followed up the kickoff with the first huge gain of the game: a 71-yard touchdown run.
Two minutes later, the defense gave the offense great field position by forcing and recovering a Case fumble at the Spartan 21. The Yeomen drove down to the one, but had to settle for a field goal and a 9-7 lead.
Case Western came right back with a three-play scoring drive and then added another touchdown early in the second quarter.
Oberlin’s only other points in the game came on a safety with 2:44 remaining in the second. After sophomore Ryan Drews punted to the Case 10 — one of three punts inside the 20 in the game — Jon Ramsier sacked Spartan quarterback Eli Grant for a loss of nine. On the next play Grant fumbled in the endzone, but was able to secure the ball just in time to prevent an Oberlin touchdown, yielding only the safety.
With just three seconds left in the half, sophomore place-kicker Steve Willever missed from 39 yards.
“We went into halftime thinking we could move the ball on their defense,” sophomore wide receiver Zach Lewis said.
But Oberlin’s failure to convert on fourth-and-one and fourth-and-two on consecutive drives early in the third quarter kept them from getting a second-half drive rolling.
“If we would’ve made those it would’ve given us momentum,” Lewis said.
By the time the Yeomen finally regained some momentum, with an 11-play drive in the fourth quarter, Case had already taken a 26-point lead.
Moffatt got the start over sophomore quarterback Ryan Squatrito, who was four of 17 in the opener. Moffatt appears poised to start tomorrow’s 1 p.m. home game against Hiram College, but that won’t mean he is assured of the starting job throughout the season.
Ramsey indicated that he will continue to go with the hot hand — whoever is performing best at a given time, both in practice and in games.
“Our team has two good quarterbacks and whoever’s being more efficient is going to be playing,” Moffatt said. “I think [the pressure] makes you play better.”
Hiram, the first North Coast Athletic Conference opponent on Oberlin’s schedule, will come into Dill Field tomorrow with an 0-3 record. The Terriers have been outscored a combined 126-7, while gaining fewer than 100 yards per game and allowing nearly 500.
The Terriers are a very young team, with only 15 returning players from last year — “much like our team in 2000,” Ramsey said.
“The thing about Hiram,” he continued, “is that this is the third year in a row that we’ve looked at the film and said, ‘This is a team we should beat.’ The past two years they’ve found a way to beat us. I’ve challenged [the team] not to let that happen.”
Hiram defeated the Yeomen 9-8 in 2000 and 24-17 in 2001, a game in which Oberlin committed five turnovers. The key this year will be to maintain focus and to not underestimate the opponent.
“There’s always the danger of that,” Lewis said, “but with us going into it 0-2, I don’t think there’s any danger of anyone overlooking them.”

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