Otterbein at Capital
1:30 P.M., BEXLEY
Records: Otterbein 3-1, 2-1 OAC; Capital 1-2, 1-1 OAC
Last meeting: Capital won 42-41 last season in Westerville. Series tied 44-44-3.
Quarterback Thomas Wibbeler spent roughly 10 seconds talking about how Capital pulled off a stunning 42-41 victory over Otterbein last season before moving on to the present.
Otterbein was on the verge of winning the annual crosstown rivalry for the sixth straight season until Wibbeler led a 75-yard touchdown drive in the waning minutes and completed a two-point conversion pass.
“That was an exciting time, yes, but we realize that year is over with,” he said. “This is now.”
There’s good reason the Crusaders aren’t thinking about the past: They started this season 1-2, have a difficult Ohio Athletic Conference schedule looming and lost to Wilmington 37-30 in overtime last week.
“This week in practice we’re treating it as a must-win game,” Wibbeler said. “It’s not only because of Otterbein but because of the situation we’ve put ourselves in. It’s a rivalry. We’re focused. We’re putting in the preparation.”
Although Otterbein has won three of its first four games, it is feeling similar to Capital after a 35-7 loss last Saturday at Ohio Northern. A victory over Capital would give the Cardinals their best start since going 5-0 in 2012, and a shot at reversing a string of four straight mediocre seasons (5-5, 4-6, 5-5, 5-5).
“This is a huge, huge game,” senior receiver Julian Lowe of Gahanna said. “Practice this week has been business-like, but we’re amped-up for Capital and I know Capital is amped-up for us. Winning this game is so big for pride.
“What makes this game a little more important for both teams is that we’re coming off losses. It was disappointing how we lost to Ohio Northern. We didn’t play to our potential. But it happened, and good teams bounce back. We want to be a good team.”
Otterbein coach Tim Doup wants to go into a bye week with a victory. The Cardinals next games are against Heidelberg, Baldwin Wallace, Mount Union and John Carroll.
“Last year’s loss to Capital obviously made us re-evaluate what was going on,” Doup said. “That game was tough on our guys. But it’s this year and it’s Capital’s homecoming. We’ve got to play a lot better than last week. This game is huge for us — crucial. We have to find a way to come out with a victory.”
Second-year Capital coach Chad Rogosheske said his team is on the same wavelength.
“We’re licking our wounds from a disappointing loss, and the good part is what better game to try to bounce back?” he said. “That’s a really good Otterbein team. They are so explosive offensively with a special guy at quarterback (Logan Stepp), and their defensive front plays hard and is backed by seven athletic players.”
Ohio at Massachusetts
3:30 P.M., AMHERST, MASSACHUSETTS
The Bobcats (3-1) face the winless Minutemen (0-5), seeking to match their starts of 2015 and ’13 behind an offense that is averaging 37.3 points. Ohio is on a high after quarterback Nathan Rourke threw for a touchdown in both overtimes in a 27-20 victory at Eastern Michigan.
Marshall at Cincinnati
7 P.M., CINCINNATI
Cincinnati (2-2) is seeking to rebound from a 42-32 loss at Navy, but the Bearcats’ running game averages only 90.5 yards to rank 120th out of 129 teams in FBS. No. 1 back Mike Boone has missed the last two games because of injury. What’s wrong? “It’s everything,’’ coach Luke Fickell said.
South Dakota State at Youngstown State
7 P.M., YOUNGSTOWN
Youngstown State (2-1), ranked fifth in FCS, is on the spot playing the No. 4 Jackrabbits (3-0) in its Missouri Valley Football Conference opener — the Penguins have lost four straight in the series. The Penguins do, however, have a 10-game winning streak at Stambaugh Stadium.
— Mark Znidar