WILMINGTON, Ohio - The Wilmington College football team led 21-6 after one quarter, but Otterbein University rode its running back, Dakota Smith, for 39 carries and 203 yards as the Cardinals stormed back to defeating the Fightin' Quakers 34-24 in Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) action on Saturday afternoon.
Wilmington got off to a fast start as Luke Richardson took the opening kickoff and returned it 75 yards into the Otterbein red zone. Three plays later, DJ Chambers scored from a yard out. The Cardinals countered, however, with a 12-play, 83-yard drive including a conversion on fourth-and-eight. The point-after attempt failed, however, and the Quakers held a slim 7-6 lead.
The Quakers' next drive stalled at midfield as Chambers was stopped on two straight runs. The Wilmington defense came up big, however, earning a stop. Two three-and-outs followed, and Wilmington struck on a big play once again as DJ Chambers took the handoff on a sweep, broke a tackle and rushed 87 yards down the sideline for a touchdown.
The hosts held Otterbein to a three-and-out again on the ensuing possession. Richardson fielded the punt at the 35-yard line and ran it back for a touchdown, giving the Quakers a 21-6 lead with four seconds to play in the first quarter.
The Wilmington offense would get the ball back leading by 15, but an interception setup Otterbein with a short field. The Cardinals converted as Bryce Hall scored from two yards out.
Leading 21-13, Wilmington would get one more chance to score in the first half as long runs from Chambers and Kyle Barrett put the Quakers deep in Otterbein territory. The Cardinal defense came up with an interception on a fade route, however, to go into halftime trailing 21-13.
Wilmington took advantage of an Otterbein fumble to begin the second half as Tyler Butcher hit a 33-yard field goal, making the score 24-13 with 10:40 to play in the third quarter.
That would be the last points the Quakers would score, however, as the Cardinals put together three consecutive touchdown drives that were all capped by Dakota Smith touchdown runs.
Otterbein held a 392-292 advantage in yards gained including converting 8-of-17 third down attempts compared to 3-of-15 for Wilmington. The Quakers held a 217-57 lead in return yardage largely due to Richardson's heroics in the first quarter as the Cardinals kept the ball away from him in the final three quarters. Both teams committed two turnovers.
Hall completed 14-of-26 passes including six completions to Dom Ross for 84 yards for the Cardinals.
Chambers carried the ball 18 times for 140 yards including two scores for Wilmington to somewhat offset Smith's 203 yards for Otterbein.
Defensively, Tre'Quez Parks led all individuals with 13 kills for Wilmington while Ryan Ruchow had a dozen wrap-ups for Otterbein. Weston Trampler, Kyle Ackley and Brandon Weaver all had sacks for the Quakers while the Wilmington offensive line did not allow a single sack.
Wilmington concludes its 2018 season with a 1-9 overall record and an 0-9 mark in OAC competition.