COLUMBUS – Junior Joey Riley kicked a 20-yard field goal in overtime Saturday to give the Capital University football team a 27-24 victory over Muskingum in an Ohio Athletic Conference affair at Bernlohr Stadium.
Riley, a Twinsburg, Ohio, native, knocked his kick just inside the right upright as the ball skimmed off the post and through, sending the Crusaders' sideline onto the field in celebration of the team's first home win of the 2013 campaign.
Muskingum (1-8 overall, 1-7 OAC) opened the extra period with the ball, but on the second play from scrimmage, Muskies quarterback Cody Williams fumbled and Capital defensive end Gene Rucker (Marion, Ohio) recovered for the Crusaders.
Taking the ball at the Muskingum 25-yard line, b-backs Brent Walton (Pickerington, Ohio) and Bo Hardy (Galloway, Ohio) combined to rush the Crusaders down to the Muskies' 3-yard line, setting up Riley's heroics.
Capital (2-7, 2-6) rushed for 288 yards and forced four Muskingum turnovers to offset a pair of first-half miscues. The Muskies scored 24 unanswered points in the first half but were held scoreless in the second. The Capital defense held Muskingum to just 89 yards after halftime.
Walton led the Crusaders' rushing attack with 22 carries for 100 yards and the game-tying touchdown. Hardy rushed for 67 yards and a score to go along with 46 receiving yards. Longwell tallied 21 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Junior linebacker TJ Langermeier (West Jefferson, Ohio) registered seven tackles and recovered a fumble. Senior defensive back Domenic Hebebrand (Hinckley, Ohio) totaled seven tackles, while junior defensive back Anthony Cicione (Akron, Ohio) recorded five tackles and forced a fumble.
Capital received the opening kick and went 75 yards in just four plays as Hardy took a pitch and scored from 48 yards out to give the team a 7-0 advantage just under two minutes into the affair.
Muskingum responded quickly, tying the contest at 7-7 with 10:55 to play in the quarter. After three straight possessions ended in punts, the Muskies used great field position to take a 14-7 lead with 11:48 left in the second quarter.
Two plays into the next drive, the Crusaders fumbled it back to Muskingum, which needed just two plays to make it 21-7 at the 10:28 mark of the second quarter.
Capital fumbled on the first play of the ensuing drive, and the Muskies kicked a field goal nine plays later to make it a 17-point game with 4:43 to play in the half.
Longwell and Hardy connected on two pass plays of more than 20 yards to set up a Crusaders touchdown with 1:15 left in the second quarter as Longwell plunged in from a yard out to cap an eight-play, 60-yard march.
The momentum in the game swung for good on the first drive of the second half. The Muskies drove deep into Capital territory and, on the seventh play of the drive, Williams took a keeper toward the goal line. Cicione stripped the Muskingum quarterback at the 1-yard line, and the ball rolled out of the back of the end zone for a touchback to give the ball to the Crusaders.
Three possessions later, Langermeier recovered a muffed punt by the Muskies, but Capital was stopped on fourth and three in Muskies territory trailing by 10 with 2:21 to play in the third quarter.
Senior defensive back Andre Cousin (Fostoria, Ohio) intercepted Williams at midfield three plays into the ensuing possession, and the Crusaders drove 46 yards on 12 plays to set up a 21-yard field goal by Riley with just under 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
After a three-and-out gave Capital the ball at the Muskingum 31-yard line with 6:58 left in regulation, Walton rushed four straight times with his final carry resulting in a 3-yard touchdown to tie the game at 24-24 with 5:16 on the clock.
Each team had two possessions prior to the overtime, but neither was able take the lead.
The Crusaders close the season next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. against Wilmington at Bernlohr Stadium. Capital's 19 seniors will be recognized prior to their final home game.