COLUMBUS – The Capital University football team trailed by just one score in the fourth quarter Saturday but was unable to dig out of an early deficit in a 38-24 setback against Ohio Northern in an Ohio Athletic Conference affair on Homecoming Saturday at Bernlohr Stadium.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, the Crusaders (1-2 overall, 1-1 OAC) finished a six-play, 75-yard drive with a 38-yard pass play from freshman quarterback Chase Longwell (Hilliard, Ohio) to sophomore b-back Bo Hardy (Galloway, Ohio) to make it a 31-24 score with 14:49 to go.
The Polar Bears (2-1, 1-1) responded with a 14-play, 74-yard march, including a drive-extending penalty on Capital on fourth down, to make it a two-possession game with 7:07 to play.
The Crusaders drove into Ohio Northern territory on the ensuing drive before being held on fourth and long.
Longwell led Capital with 86 rushing yards, 138 passing yards and three scores (one rushing). Sophomore wide receiver Zak Wirick (West Liberty, Ohio) totaled four receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown.
Junior defensive lineman Gene Rucker (Marion, Ohio), freshman defensive lineman Luke Scott (West Chester, Ohio) and junior linebacker TJ Langermeier (West Jefferson, Ohio) each posted seven tackles to lead the defense. Senior defensive back Domenic Hebebrand (Hinckley, Ohio) added six stops, all solo.
The Crusaders held the ball for nearly 35 minutes of the contest, but the Polar Bears possessed for nearly 12 minutes of the fourth quarter.
Capital opened scoring in the game when Longwell found Wirick from 24 yards out to give the team a 7-0 advantage with 5:20 to play in the first. Ohio Northern responded on the next drive, moving 64 yards in just under three minutes to even the affair.
The Polar Bears started a 21-point second quarter with 9:34 on the clock in the second when Devon Price rushed through to block junior Joey Riley's punt. It was recovered in the end zone for a 14-7 ONU lead.
After a Riley punt, Ohio Northern scored on the first play of its drive on an 80-yard catch-and-run to take a 21-7 lead at the 5:42 mark.
Longwell barreled in from one yard out to cap an eight-play, 66-yard drive and cut the Capital deficit to 21-14 with 1:40 left in the half, but the Polar Bears responded again with a touchdown on third-and-10 to take a 28-14 advantage into the locker room.
In the third, the Crusaders took advantage of an Ohio Northern fumble as junior kicker Travis Bosanac (Strongsville, Ohio) split the uprights from 31 yards out to make it a 28-17 game just over three minutes into the period.
After a Polar Bears punt, Capital again drove into ONU territory, but Longwell was intercepted and Ohio Northern kicked a 52-yard field goal to make it 31-17 with 2:50 left in the third.
The Crusaders play four of their next five games on the road, starting with John Carroll next Saturday at 7 p.m. in University Heights, Ohio.