Maria A. Moosbrugger

October 2, 2011

Again, it was a game of missed opportunities for Mike Hollway’s struggling Battling Bishops.

The University of Chicago (3-2) survived six turnovers, four coming on its first four offensive series on two interceptions and two fumbles, in handing Ohio Wesleyan (1-4) a 21-10 non-conference setback in front of a gathering of 2,360 fans on Homecoming Day at Selby Stadium.

“It was a game of what-ifs,” a disappointed Hollway said after the game in the OWU locker room. “We had our opportunities, but again we lacked consistency on offense. We would move the ball, but our offense would bog down and we would be forced to give up the ball.”

Ohio Wesleyan took a 10-7 lead into the third quarter, and appeared to be on the verge of widening the lead after sophomore Rayce Risser picked off a Maroon pass at the OWU 26 — the Bishops’ third interception of the game. But it wasn’t to be. Forcing the hosts to punt after three plays, Chicago took over on the Bishop 47 and found the end zone five plays later on Dee Brizzolara’s leaping catch of a 32-yard pass for a 14-10 lead with 7:57 remaining in the third period.

OWU would turn the ball over on its next two possessions, the second resulting in Emmett Carrier’s 95-yard return of a Mason Espinosa pass intended for freshman tight end Calvin Cagney at the Maroon 5-yard line. It was on a fourth-down play.

“Mason was a little late on his throw to Calvin,” Hollway said. “Calvin was open for a split second, but Mason just missed with his throw.”

Following sophomore Leonard Gleaves’ 18-yard kickoff return to midfield, the Bishops put together a 13-play series that took them to the Maroon 20, where it ended when freshman linebacker Schuyler Montefalco broke up Espinosa’s fourth-and-10 pass to freshman split end Scott Jenkins with 6:37 remaining.

Ohio Wesleyan got the ball back one more time when cornerback Chris Wilson recovered Shelton’s fumble at the Chicago 45 with 4:35 left. But on the Bishops’ second play, freshman free safety Arlin Hill picked off an Espinosa pass at the Maroon 30 to seal the victory for Chicago.

“It was a disappointing loss, especially when you consider how well our defense and special teams played,” Hollway said, noting Chicago’s six turnovers (the Maroon came into the game with a minus 5 in turnover ratio). “It all comes back to our offense. I can’t fault our effort, but we need to become more consistent with the football, especially on the ground.”

Ohio Wesleyan, which turned the ball over three times, was outgained 307 to 236 by Chicago. The Maroon, led by freshman back Zak Ross-Nash with 87 yards in 18 carries, held a 198-42 advantage in rushing. Freshman Garrison Davis totaled 32 yards in 6 carries for OWU with the Maroon averaging 3.6 yards per carry compared to OWU’s 1.8 average. The Bishops, behind Espinosa’s 20-for-45 passing, claimed a 194-109 edge through the air. Kevin Herman had 6 catches for OWU.

The Bishops took an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to junior noseguard Tyler Swary’s interception at the Maroon 41-yard line, one of three Chicago opening-period turnovers in Maroon territory. Espinosa capped the 10-play drive by finding Cagney on an 8-yard scoring pass with 2:05 remaining in the quarter. It was Cagney’s first collegiate touchdown.

The Bishops came up short of taking advantage of the other two Chicago turnovers, missing a 37-yard field goal and forced to punt from their own 35 and 14 … and the Maroon took advantage.

Starting their fifth series on the OWU 44 following a Bishop punt, the Maroon mounted a 10-play drive capped by junior quarterback Kevin Shelton’s 2-yard TD pass to junior tight end Brandon Meckelberg on fourth down to tie the game 7-7 following Jeff Sauer’s point-after kick. Sophomore tight end Tom Bemenderfer’s sparkling 26-yard catch of a Shelton pass on a third-and-8 call highlighted the scoring drive.

Ohio Wesleyan took a 10-7 lead into the intermission thanks to Miles MacKenzie’s 34-yard field goal, which capped the 70-yard series with three seconds left in the second quarter.

The Battling Bishops return to the road Saturday, traveling to Pittsburgh for a 6 p.m. non-conference contest with Carnegie-Mellon. OWU returns home Oct. 22 to entertain DePauw at 1 p.m. at Selby Stadium.