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Wooster tops DU to reclaim lantern

John Wilson had 115 yards of total offense at Wooster on Saturday.
John Wilson had 115 yards of total offense at Wooster on Saturday.

Darrian Owens had 230 receiving yards and accounted for four touchdowns to help Wooster defeat Denison, 43-21, on Saturday night in Wooster, Ohio.  With the win, the Fighting Scots reclaimed the Old Red Lantern traveling trophy.

Wooster used its quick-strike, big-play offense to build a commanding 29-0 lead in the first half.  On their first possession, Wooster needed just three plays and 50 seconds to cover 77 yards.  The short drive was capped off by a Richard Barnes 73-yard touchdown pass to Owens.

After five-consecutive punts by the two squads, Wooster engineered a four-play, 58-yard drive that spanned a minute and 47 seconds.  A trick play by the Fighting Scot offense resulted in their second score of the night.  After Barnes flipped the ball to Owens on the reverse, Owens floated a pass to Sean Hackel in the back left corner of the end zone.  Wooster led 13-0 after the Big Red's Pat Foley blocked the point after attempt.

Wooster scored on its next three possessions to build a 29-point lead at the intermission.  Barnes hit Owens for touchdown passes of 51- and 56-yards, while Tyler Gerwig booted a 25-yard field goal.  Denison was on the move towards the end of the half, but an interception in the end zone by Brandon James halted the potential scoring drive.

The DU offense opened the second half with an eight-play, 66-yard drive that resulted in the Big Red's first score.  Facing a 3rd-and-6 from the Wooster 41-yard line, junior quarterback Brandon Sklenar ran down the sideline for 19 yards to extend the drive.  The junior signal caller followed that up with an eight-yard strike to Richie Wehman III on first down.  After a one-yard loss on a quarterback keeper, the Sklenar hit Wehman who pushed across the goal line from 15 yards out.  After Matt Puracchio's extra point, Denison trailed Wooster 29-7.

Now down 36-7, Denison once again found the end zone after orchestrating a 10-play, 80-yard drive.  The drive was highlighted by a 27-yard catch-and-run by John Wilson that put the Big Red on the Wooster two-yard line.  Sklenar capped off the series with a one-yard plunge up the middle.  Puracchio's point after shrunk the deficit to 36-14.

Wooster effectively put the game away in the early stages of the fourth quarter when a 73-yard interception return by Tyler Vogel set up a two-yard touchdown run by Hackel.  Denison added a late score when Sklenar found sophomore DuShawn Brown in the back of the end zone from 17-yard out with 6:24 to play.  The TD pass completed a 12-play, 80-yard drive that spanned just over five minutes.

Sklenar finished the game 32-for-52 for 276 yards and two scores. He also rushed for 114 rushing yards and another touchdown.  Wilson had 81 yards on nine receptions to go along with 34 yards on eight carries.  Colin Morris also made nine grabs for 56 yards.

Foley led the Big Red defense with eight solo tackles and a blocked extra point, while Joel Elliott made seven solo stops.

The Big Red (4-3, 3-3 NCAC) returns home next Saturday to take on the Oberlin Yeomen at Deeds Field-Piper Stadium.  Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.