Football Falls by Touchdown to NCAC Opponent Earlham
By Colin Smith

The Oberlin College football team was never out of Saturday’s game at Earlham College, trailing only by seven for most of the game, but in the end not even two 100-yard rushers and three blocked field goals were enough to overcome Oberlin’s minus-three turnover ratio.
By handing Oberlin a 28-21 defeat, the Earlham Quakers jumped ahead of the Yeomen in the North Coast Athletic Conference with a 3-2 record, while Oberlin dropped to 2-3 in NCAC action.
“I think we should have won,” first-year linebacker Vance Murphy said. “The defense played really well, but we broke down in key situations. The offense didn’t put as many points on the board as we expected.”
The offense was led by Oberlin’s primary running backs, sophomores Chris Jordan and Travis Oman. Jordan carried the ball 15 times for 126 yards and a touchdown, while Oman gained 107 yards on 19 rushes, including a score.
The production of Oberlin’s pair of runners far outweighed that of Earlham’s tailback tandem of Darrian Story and Jermel Hurt who combined for fewer than 100 yards.
But Jordan and Oman combined for three fumbles, and a fourth turnover came on a botched punt. Earlham took advantage of the Yeoman miscues, converting three of the turnovers into touchdowns.
“Our running game was going really well. It kept them unbalanced. But it was the turnovers that affected us big,” head coach Jeff Ramsey said.
The turnovers were costly from the very first play from scrimmage, when Oman rushed for a loss of three yards and fumbled. The ball was recovered by the Quakers and returned for a touchdown just 14 seconds into the first quarter.
The Yeomen came right back, though, scoring on a one-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Chris Moffatt to sophomore receiver Scott Barker that was setup by a 66-yard rush by Jordan and a 24-yard kick return by Barker.
Earlham retook the lead by driving 84 yards for a touchdown a minute and a half into the second quarter. The Quakers extended their lead on their next possession when Oberlin’s sophomore punter Ryan Drews fumbled the snap on a punt attempt, giving Earlham the ball at Oberlin’s 36. Four plays later, the Quakers were back in the end zone.
“It was a bad play altogether, for the whole team,” Murphy said.
Undaunted, the Yeomen offense came back onto the field and marched 70 yards downfield on 12 plays before Earlham stopped them at the 2 and forced them to attempt a field goal. Sophomore kicker Steve Willever made the kick, but a personal foul on a Quaker during the play gave Oberlin a new set of downs. The Yeomen only needed one play as Jordan rushed two yards for the score to make it 21-14.
Murphy picked off a Quaker pass on the first drive of the second half, but the Yeomen coughed the ball up only a minute and a half later, giving Earlham midfield position. The Quakers scored seven plays later on a touchdown run by fullback Dan Ries.
“To stop their two tailbacks we did very well,” Ramsey said. “It was the fullback who got us.” Ries gained 88 yards on 11 carries in the game.
The Yeomen would respond again, though, as Moffatt led the Yeomen into Quaker territory, where, facing a third and one from the 35, he hit Shawn Brunner for 25 yards. On the next play, Oman rushed in from the 10 for Oberlin’s third touchdown of the game.
“Our offensive line did really well at knocking [the Quakers] off the ball and creating holes,” Shawn Brunner said of the Yeomen’s successful rushing attack.
Willever nailed the extra point attempt, putting Oberlin back within a score and breaking Oberlin’s career PAT record at the same time . He now has 33 in his brief career, including 13 this season.
Unfortunately, he would not get a chance to extend his record as the Quakers stymied Oberlin in the fourth quarter. Although the Yeoman special teams kept Oberlin in the game by blocking Quaker field goals attempts on Earlham’s first two fourth-quarter drives, the offense could only muster 21 total yards in its first four possessions of the quarter.
The Yeomen still had a chance, though, when they got the ball back with 2:09 remaining. Oman got the drive started with runs of 15 and nine yards. Then the handoff went to Jordan, who gained 14 for a first down, but on the next play he was tackled for a loss of 15. Facing second and 25, Moffatt kept the Yeomen alive with a 19 yard strike to Chad Kutting, but his next two passes fell incomplete, ending Oberlin’s chances.
Moffatt finished the day 13 of 21 for 119 yards, with Barker as his primary target. Barker caught five passes for 37 yards, while Kutting had three catches for 37 yards and Brunner had two for 48. Murphy had a monster day on defense, amassing 18 tackles — three for losses — an interception and a blocked field goal. Sophomore Vorris Mayes was next on the team with 10 solo tackles and a sack.
The Yeomen’s schedule does not get any easier, as they take another shot at their third conference win tomorrow at home against Ohio Wesleyan University. OWU’s Battling Bishops come in with a record of 2-3 in the conference and 4-4 overall after last week’s 42-3 drubbing of Kenyon. Like the Yeomen, the Bishops have lost games to both the College of Wooster and Wabash College. The Bishops, however, defeated Earlham earlier this year 21-14.
Ohio Wesleyan brings a concentrated rushing attack that is averaging nearly 250 yards per game. The Bishops attempt an average of 50 rushes per game while only passing 20 for less than 120 yards per game. On the strength of their ground game, the Bishops have outgained opponents, but they have been outscored by 32 points over their eight games. Turnovers may be part of their problem as they have turned the ball over 22 times while only gaining 14 takeaways.
To win tomorrow the Yeomen will have to avoid doing the Bishops any favors by limiting their turnovers and by taking advantage of any Bishop mistakes.

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