Ohio Wesleyan starts Football season on right foot with 32-28 thrilling win at Otterbein

Zane Ries’ passing led OWU to road win

Ohio Wesleyan 32, Otterbein 28

Senior quarterback Zane Ries (Barberton) fired a 19-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Kenny Streb (Willowick/Eastlake North) with 3:36 left in regulation time to lift Ohio Wesleyan over Otterbein in the season opener for both teams on Saturday in Westerville.

The Cardinals had taken a 28-23 lead on a 12-yard strike from Bryce Hall to Jeb Jones in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.

Senior running back Trey Dixon (Atlanta, Ga./Westlake) returned the ensuing kickoff to midfield, and a 24-yard gain by sophomore running back T.J. Weems (Inverness, Fla./Citrus) on the first play of the drive helped set up a 25-yard field goal by senior kicker Gabe Philhower (Reynoldsburg) that brought the Bishops within 28-26 with 10:07 remaining.

The Bishop defense forced a 3-and-out, and Ohio Wesleyan took over on its own 35 after the Cardinal punt.

Ries found sophomore Hunter Swetokos (East Lake, Fla.) for 15 yards on the first play from scrimmage, and a 10-yard run by Weems on third-and-1 moved the chains again.  Facing a third-and-8 from the Cardinal 19, Ries connected with Streb for the go-ahead score, but a 2-point conversion try failed.

Otterbein’s Siraj Muhammad broke loose on a 45-yard gain that gave the hosts a first down at the Ohio Wesleyan 32, but after a 2-yard gain on first down, the Bishop defense forced 3 straight incompletions to take over on downs.  The Cardinals got the ball back on their own 35-yard line with :56 left, but the Ohio Wesleyan defense kept the hosts on their own side of midfield to close out the game.

The Bishops had taken a 17-7 second-quarter lead with the help of 4- and 15-yard scoring runs by Weems, but Otterbein rallied with a 10-yard scoring pass from Hall to Jalan Minney and a 34-yard field goal from Caleb Meade during the final seconds of the first half.  The teams traded touchdown passes during the third quarter, with Hall finding Jones on a 6-yard play and Ries connecting with senior wide receiver Kofi Ansah-Tutu (Lewis Center/Olentangy Orange) on a 70-yard scoring play for a 23-22 Ohio Wesleyan lead.

Ries completed 18 of 30 passes for 259 yards and 2 scores, with Swetokos catching 4 throws for 25 yards and Ansah-Tutu making 3 catches for 121 yards.  Dixon led the Bishops with 95 yards on 18 carries and Weems added 82 yards on 16 rushes.  Junior linebacker Trevar Meese (Wooster) made 11 stops and broke up a pass, while senior safety Owen Albers (North Ridgeville/Lutheran West) contributed 9 tackles.

Hall completed 26 of 41 passes for 295 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Jones had 11 receptions for 114 yards.  Muhammad ran for 143 yards on 23 carries.  Jalen Perry led the Cardinals with 10 tackles.

COURTESY OHIO WESLEYAN ATHLETICS

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