The Lords struggled to build momentum against Oberlin on Homecoming weekend and fell to the Yeomen 47-28. The final score is not a great indication of how the Lords played, so let’s take a closer look:
Missed opportunities haunted the Lords all afternoon. On their first possession, Kenyon drove all the way down to the Oberlin 4-yard line only to turn the ball over on downs after failing to convert on 4th and 3. On the next series, the Kenyon defense forced Oberlin to go three-and-out, only to have the Yeomen recover a muffed punt at midfield before Kenyon’s offense could take the field. A pass interference penalty on 3rd and 12 continued the Oberlin drive that ultimately resulted in a touchdown. A few possessions later, Oberlin faced a 3rd and 8 from the Kenyon 16-yard line. The Yeomen ran a WR screen, which the Lords appeared to have covered, only to miss the tackle and watch as the Yeoman WR bounced it outside and into the end zone. (Keep in mind that this is only from the first half, making it pretty hard for the Lords to gain any sort of momentum and leaving them to play catch-up throughout the second half).
Kenyon’s three-headed rushing attack of Junior RB #21 Casey Beaudouin, Junior FB #3 Blake Calcei, and Senior RB #5 Brandon January ran hard, but had a tough time finding holes, amassing only a combined 120 yards on 31 carries. Confirming a concern held going into the game, the young offensive line struggled against the experienced Yeoman front seven.
The lack of production out of the running game forced Senior Co-Captain QB #13 Jake Bates to throw the ball more often. Bates was most successful in the game when he took what the Oberlin defense would give him. Oberlin’s corners played soft coverage for most of the day, allowing Bates to complete quick slants, curls and outside routes to WR’s #2 Ian Bell and #7 Brian Hunca. On longer developing passing plays, Bates was flushed outside of a collapsing pocket and forced to make throws on the run. When this happened, the whole receiving corps did a great job adjusting their routes and giving Bates somewhere to throw the football. Although Bates dealt with constant pressure, he was only sacked once and completed 24 of his 36 passes for 246 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. While Bates did get called for intentional grounding in the end zone resulting in a safety in the third quarter, I’d argue that, while the ball never passed the line of scrimmage, an intended receiver was in the area.
WR #2 Ian Bell is going to be a special player for the Lords. Bell caught 6 passes for 53 yards, threw an incomplete pass that should’ve been caught and punted the ball 3 times, pinning Oberlin deep in their own territory on one occasion. This kid can do it all. I’m anxious to see how Coach Mono will use him in the future.
Senior WR #6 Jake Genachowski stepped up in a big way for the Lords, catching 4 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. It looked like anytime the Lords needed a big play, Genachowski was right there. Down 14-0 in the second quarter, Bates sailed a ball towards the near sideline of the end zone where Genachowski picked it out of the air and got one foot down for the score. As the Lords were mounting their comeback in the fourth quarter, Genachowski was there to scoop up a slow, dribbling onside kick that barely made it 10 yards.
The depleted and injury-ridden Kenyon defense had a rough day, allowing Oberlin to rush for 288 yards and 7.2 yards per carry. It’s tough to win any football game when the opposition is running all over you with big RBs who easily break weak arm-tackles. Oberlin won the battle up front, plain and simple. Almost every play it seemed the Kenyon D-line was being pushed back off the line of scrimmage, opening holes for the Oberlin RBs and giving their QB plenty of time to find an open target. The Lords were clearly missing DB #15 Jack Hanratty and LB #26 Mike Gibbons on the defensive side of the ball and could use them sooner rather than later.
Despite the final outcome, there were some positives. The offense was able to move the ball even when their patented rushing attack was not producing; if the Lords take advantage of a few missed opportunities, then all of a sudden it’s a one-possession game. Kenyon was within striking distance the whole game, they just needed the offensive and defensive lines to pick it up. Everything starts and stops with them. They are a young group who needs to grow up in a hurry.