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Wolverines Fall To OWU, 14-9

Game Stats
Steve Lacinski
GROVE CITY, PA, September 11, 1999--
Even the two teams’ uniforms were similar.

Saturday afternoon, the Grove City Wolverines and Ohio Wesleyan Battling Bishops each had 13 first downs, and remarkably close figures in rushing yardage, passing yardage, sacks and average yards per play. However, a mishandled snap at the OWU 16 with 1:28 left doomed the Wolverines, and the Bishops escaped Thorn Field with a 14-9 victory.

Trailing 14-7, Grove City was in the midst of a 13-play, 50-yard drive when disaster struck. On second-and-11, quarterback Steve Lacinski (New Kensington, PA/Valley) and center Shawn Kelly (Madison, OH/Madison) misfired on the snap, resulting in the Wolverines’ second fumble of the afternoon.

"We were not able to score the points we needed and we got down deep at the end and dropped the football," 16th-year Wolverine head coach Chris Smith said. "(The fumble) was a miscommunication."

The Wolverine defense prevented OWU from running out the clock, however. Bishop punter C.J. Plymale ran out of the end zone with 11 seconds left. Grove City gained possession of the ball at its own 31-yard line following the free kick, but on its only snap, Lacinski was sacked as time expired.

Ohio Wesleyan jumped ahead of the Wolverines with 12:00 left in the first half on Chip Woods’s 17-yard scamper. Grove City did not post a score until R.J. Bowers (West Middlesex, PA/West Middlesex) plowed into the end zone from the four, tying the game at 7-7. Bowers was held to 121 yards rushing, a week after gaining 238 against Wooster.

The Battling Bishops proceeded to grind out a 15-play, 80-yard drive capped by QB Phil Heyn’s five-yard TD run. Brian Leach’s second PAT gave OWU a 14-7 lead. During the drive, Heyn and Shaun Ramos both took snaps under center. Ramos gained 49 yards rushing on seven carries in the second half, providing a different offensive dimension for the Battling Bishops.

"Phil and Shaun are both quality football players," OWU coach Mike Hollway said. "I would say that yes, offensively, (Ramos) certainly was a spark in that touchdown drive. We were looking for a spark."

Ohio Wesleyan held Grove City’s potent offense to 205 yards of offense. Last week, the Wolverines amassed 365 yards against Wooster, OWU’s opponent next week.

"We think that Grove City’s offense is one of the best that we’ll face this entire season," Hollway said. "The fact that our defense held what I consider to be a great team to nine points was really the key to the game."

The Wolverine defense was led by free safety Mike Kashurba’s (Latrobe, PA/Greater Latrobe) ten tackles. Inside linebacker Adam Corbett (Champion, OH/Champion) had nine tackles and a fumble recovery. Burt Romanoff (Washington, PA/Trinity) and Scott Ordines (Jamestown, NY/Jamestown) each had a sack. Grove City limited the Battling Bishops to 193 yards of offense. The Wolverines held a nine-minute advantage in time of possession.

"There were certain things that they did that we knew we had to stop, and I thought that our defense succeeded," Smith said.

"Grove City had a great game plan based on what we did a year ago," Hollway said. "We would have liked to generate more offense, but we were unable to do so. They stopped our best plays and forced us to do other things."

Grove City travels to Bluffton next Saturday. The game can be heard on the Wolverines’ radio home, WSAJ-FM 91.1. Kickoff is set for 1:30.

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