BEREA, OHIO -- Senior wide receiver Matt Lepley (Bellevue) caught a career-high 15 passes for 134 yards and set Baldwin-Wallace College's school-record for receptions in a game today (Saturday, September 6, 2008), but the Yellow Jackets lost to No. 25-ranked Franklin (Ind.) College, 42-35, at Faught Stadium in Franklin, Indiana.
With the loss, B-W is now 0-1 overall for the season. The win gives Franklin a 1-0 record.
Franklin led 14-7 after one quarter and 28-14 at halftime and after three quarters. Despite the loss B-W racked up 576 yards of total offense, including 381 through the air and 195 on the ground, compared to Franklin's 346 yards of total offense.
Franklin opened the scoring on the first drive of the game with 9:00 left in the first quarter with a Chad Rupp three-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Chad Gregory, which capped a 12 play, 69 yard scoring drive. Machy Magdalinos added the point-after-touchdown and the Grizzlies led 7-0.
B-W tied the score, 7-7, with 3:20 remaining in the first quarter on a fourth-and-goal from the Franklin one-yard line with a one-yard run from junior running back Kyrell Crook (Columbus/ St. Francis DeSales) to cap a 13 play, 61 yard drive. Senior placekicker Cory Ramos (Macedonia/ Nordonia) added the PAT.
Franklin retook the lead, 14-7, 1:44 later when Chad Rupp connected on a four-yard touchdown pass to tight end Matt Gates to complete a seven play, 76 yard drive. Magdalinos again added the extra point.
In the second quarter, after a B-W turnover on downs and a Franklin punt, B-W regained possession at the 12:53 mark. A five play, 66 yard drive was capped by a 23-yard touchdown run by senior fullback Craig Lindsley (Huron). The touchdown was Lindsley's first rushing score and came on his first career rush. Ramos added the extra point to tie the game, 14-14.
On the ensuing kickoff, running back and kick returner Austin Gorrell returned the kick 87 yards for the score and Magdalinos' point after gave Franklin a 21-14 lead. The Grizzlies extened their lead to 28-14 with 2:46 remaining in the second quarter when Rupp completed a 34-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kevin Lynch. Magadalinos' point after was good. Franklin led at halftime, 28-14.
The third quarter was marked by tough defense for both teams. B-W and Franklin traded punts before B-W strung together 16 plays and racked up 85 yards of offense in a 7:03 drive, but was denied on a fourth-and-one-from the Franklin three yard line with under a minute to play in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Franklin extended its lead to 35-14 with 11:26 to go in the last stanza. On first-and-10 from the B-W 13 yard line, Chad Rupp found wide receiver Neil Craig for a 13-yard touchdown pass.
The Yellow Jackets answered with a score of their own when senior quarterback Anthony Gardner (Rocky River/ Lakewood St. Edward) rushed the ball twice for the final 11 yards of an 11 play, 82 yard drive that took just 2:45. On second-and-five from the Franklin 11 yard line, Gardner rushed for five yards for the first down, and on the next play, rushed six yards for the score. Ramos added the extra point to close the gap to 35-21.
On the ensuing drive, running back Jon-Erik Bennett took the ball and ran 28 yards for the score to cap a two play, 32 yard drive in :51 and Franklin extended its lead to 42-21.
Undaunted, B-W closed the gap to 42-28 on the first play of the drive. On first-and-10 from his own 31 yard line,Gardner hooked up with Crook for a 69 yard touchdown pitch and catch. B-W then forced Franklin to punt and regained possession at its own 14 yard line. Gardner orchestrated an eight play, 86-yard scoring drive by completing six-of-eight passes for 84. On first-and-ten from Franklin's 15 yard line, Gardner connected withLepley for 13 yards, but Lepley funbled the ball into the endzone and it was recovered by freshman running back Tim Miker (Parma/Senior) for his first career touchdown. Ramos's extra point made the score 42-35 in favor of Franklin. B-W forced Franklin to turn the ball over on downs, but there was not enough time left on the clock for the Yellow Jackets to complete the comeback.
Offensively, the Yellow Jackets were led by Gardner who set career-highs with 381 passing yards, 28 completions and 42 attempts, and threw for two touchdowns against just one pick. Gardner also rushed for 81 yards and accounted for 462 of B-W's 576 total yards. Lepley set the school record for recpetions in a game with 15 and tallied a career-high 134 receiving yards, eclipsing his previous high by 22. Crook rushed for a career-high 79 yards on 18 attempts and also tallied a career-high 118 receiving yards and five receptions. In his first ever college football game, freshman wide receiver Devon Jennings (Euclid) caught four passes for 77 yards.
On defense, B-W was led by junior converted linebacker Brad Koester (Sunbury/ Big Walnut) who recorded nine tackles in his first career start. Sophomore linebacker Richard Starr (Cleveland/ East Technical) tallied seven tackles, including two for losses. Sophomore linebacker Lazarus McRae (Warren/ Harding) and senior cornerback Karl Schreiber (Bay Village/Bay) had six tackles each.
The Yellow Jackets are back in action on Saturday, September 20 when they open Ohio Athletic Conference play when they host OAC and Cleveland cross-town rival John Carroll University in the annual Battle for the Cuyahoga Gold Bowl Trophy on Community Night on Tressel Field in The George Finnie Stadium at 6:30 p.m. B-W leads the all-time series, 22-21-4 and the Gold Bowl series, 10-9.
At halftime of the B-W versus JCU game, the College will officially dedicate Tressel Field and recognize four-time Olympic gold medalist and 1949 B-W graduate Harrison Dillard. Dave Tressel '73 will be on hand to be the Honorary Captain for B-W during the pregame coin toss and will speak on behalf of the Tressel Family at halftime.
For more information regarding Community Night, please call the B-W Alumni House at 440-826-2106 or 2742 or visit the BW Alumni Web site at www.bw.edu/alumni.
FOR MORE BW SPORTS INFORMATION, please contact Sports Information Director Kevin Ruple by telephone at 440-826-2327 or 5906 and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. or Assistant SID Jeff Miller by phone at 440-826-2780 and email at email@example.com Fans can access the latest BW athletics information at www.BWyellowjackets.com and we invite you to join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bwyellowjackets and Twitter athttp://twitter.com/bwathletics.