Muhammad’s huge day on the ground lifts Otterbein Cardinals to 21-13 win at Ohio Wesleyan

Siraj Muhammed running around Ohio Wesleyan defenders (courtesy Otterbein Athletics)


DELAWARE, Ohio – Both sides of the ball made plays at critical times, and the Otterbein Football team eventually held on for an important 21-13 victory to launch its season just up north Saturday afternoon at Ohio Wesleyan.

The Cardinals received a huge rushing day from All-OAC back Siraj Muhammad, who carried 22 times for 149 yards and a pair of scores to lead the way. Otterbein gets revenge on the Battling Bishops as a result after a disappointing 32-28 defeat last September in Westerville.


  • Otterbein, with junior quarterback Eason Hardouin making his first-career start behind center, marched right down the field on its opening possession with an 11-play, 81-yard scoring drive. Hardouin connected with new tight end Christian Pataky up the seam for a great catch, followed with a perfect 18-yard pass to the right corner of the end zone for Armani Burton.
  • OWU (8-2 last season) got on the scoreboard with a big play in the second quarter, as a phantom QB keeper around the right side ended up being an 88-yard touchdown pass up the sideline to a wide open receiver.
  • The Cards answered right back with sophomore Kaden Doup coming in to take the snaps. He engineered a 10-play, 68-yard scoring sequence… hitting Pataky over the middle and later watching Muhammad get pushed in by his entire offensive line for a 4-yard score.
  • Ohio Wesleyan used the big play to score again in the closing minutes before intermission, getting a 55-yard catch and run up the visitor sideline where Josh Hurst tip-toed his way to stay in bounds. The extra point was missed.
  • Neither team scored in the third quarter despite a few decent chances, including OWU missing a chip-shot field goal from just 26 yards.
  • Otterbein carried that momentum into the early stages of the fourth quarter, embarking 72 yards (in just eight plays) and watching Muhammad maneuver his way in from 10 yards.
  • The Bishops marched back down the field and got into the red zone. Max Bruckner came around the edge for a huge sack on third down, but was whistled for a facemask penalty and life was injected back into the home crowd…
  • Despite the adversity, Otterbein’s defense answered the call to hold the Bishops on downs. Then, behind Muhammad and a pass interference penalty moments later, the Cards bled the clock down to just 22 seconds.
  • Ohio Wesleyan went razzle dazzle on the game’s final play, but Bruckner and Tayon Howard blew up any potential laterals to promptly end the day.


  • Otterbein dominated time of possession, ending up with the ball for almost 38 minutes from start to finish.
  • Total yards were almost identical at 345-341. The Cards held a sizeable 193-83 edge in rushing while OWU (thanks to those two big plays) ended up with a 258-152 aerial advantage.
  • Muhammad now has 292 yards rushing against OWU in the last two meetings. Jordan Bost-Floyd and Ahjay Cody complemented him nicely with six carries each.
  • Jayland Desue led a rotating group of Otterbein receivers with four grabs for 50 yards.
  • Sophomore linebacker Zach Hymer, making his first college start, paced the defense with nine tackles. Five other teammates made five stops, including fifth-year end Nick Cipriano coming up with a pair of timely sacks.
  • Otterbein was 7 of 16 on third down while holding the Bishops to just a 3 of 14 output.