Crusaders Downed in Season Opener Against Thomas More

Linebacker Matt Tash. (Andrea Kjerrumgaard photo).
Linebacker Matt Tash. (Andrea Kjerrumgaard photo).


COLUMBUS – The Capital University football team opened its 2013 campaign and fought one of the region's top teams to the wire Saturday, but was outlasted 20-0 against Thomas More (Ky.) in a non-conference affair at Bernlohr Stadium.


The Crusaders (0-1 overall) had chances early to tally against the Saints, who received votes in the Preseason Top 25 Poll, but were unable to convert on their first drive into Thomas More territory and couldn't get into the scoring column on three other drives of more than 23 yards.


Capital possessed the ball for more than 38 minutes, but was outgained 379 yards to 190 yards by the Saints (1-0).


Senior quarterback Alex Nydza (Cleveland, Ohio) rushed for 51 yards on 15 carries to pace the Crusader attack. Freshman running back Brent Walton (Pickerington, Ohio) added 12 carries for 46 yards.


Junior linebacker Wesley Meadows (Athens, Ohio) led the defense with nine tackles, including one stop for a loss. Junior linebacker TJ Langermeier (West Jefferson, Ohio) and sophomore linebacker Matt Tash (Painesville, Ohio) tallied seven tackles apiece.


Capital took the opening drive all the way to the Thomas More 25-yard line, but missed a field goal just over half way through the first quarter.


After a botched snap was throw by the Saints' punter for an interception to senior Alex Coleman (Columbus, Ohio) deep in Capital territory, Nydza was picked off and Thomas More took a 6-0 lead on the first play of the ensuing drive on a 31-yard pass play.


Following a Crusader punt, the Saints took a 13-0 lead on a six-play, 84-yard drive that spanned just under three minutes.


Capital held on Thomas More's final push of the half, turning the Saints over on a fourth-and-10 in Crusader territory.


After the teams exchanged three-and-out possessions to start the third quarter, junior defensive lineman Gene Rucker (Marion, Ohio) picked off TMC quarterback Jensen Gebhardt at the Saints' 10-yard line. Capital drew Thomas More offside for the third time but was unable to punch in a third-and-goal from the 9-yard line and missed a field goal on the next play.


The Saints struck again with 4:27 left in the third on a 29-yard touchdown run by Domonique Hayden.


The Crusaders nearly cut into the final margin midway through the fourth quarter, but Nydza's fourth-and-four pass in Thomas More territory fell incomplete.


Saturday's contest was the head coaching debut of Capital's Craig Candeto.


The Crusaders enter a bye week before opening the Ohio Athletic Conference portion of their schedule at Marietta on Sept. 21. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.