WESTERVILLE, Ohio – A season opening win eluded the Gallaudet University football program for a fifth straight year as the Bison were shut out, 15-0, on the road Saturday against Otterbein University before a crowd of 3,673 at Memorial Stadium.
Gallaudet (0-1) missed early opportunities to get on the scoreboard as the Bison turned the ball over twice, missed a field goal, allowed a safety and made one punt before halftime. The Bison were still in the game as they only trailed 5-0 at intermission.
The triple option offense never got going against Otterbein (1-0) as the Bison only tallied 177 yards on the ground and were limited to 42 yards through the air. GU had two drives that were over 40 yards long and only one drive that lasted more than seven plays.
Freshmen Braxton Baker (Webb City, Mo.) and BJ Flores (Raymondville, Texas) made their collegiate debuts and ran for 55 and 54 yards, respectively, on 15 and 11 carries. Freshman quarterback Todd Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.) completed 4-of-11 passes for 42 yards, intercepted and sacked twice. Senior all-conference wide receiver Ryne Worsham (Chicago, Ill.) was held to one reception for seven yards a year after he caught seven passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns in a thrilling 28-27 overtime loss at home against Otterbein.
The Bison defense kept Gallaudet in the game as it made three first-half turnovers against the Cardinals. Otterbein, who started on average near midfield during the game, drove down to the Gallaudet 20-yard line on its first possession before quarterback Aaron Kingcade (11-for-18, 118 yards, two interceptions) was intercepted by sophomore defensive back AJ McCrea (Kennesaw, Ga.) at the 1.
On the next play, Otterbein's Joe Whitehead tackled Baker in the end zone for a safety just over three minutes in. This was the first safety the Bison have surrendered since Oct. 9, 2010. Otterbein kicker Nick Ganus made a 31-yard field goal on the next drive.
Gallaudet's best drive of the day ended on a Ryan Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.) fumble at the Otterbein 18-yard line with 2:31 left before intermission. Otterbein fumbled two plays later when senior Shelby Bean (Arvada, Colo.) jarred the ball free from Chris Irwin and McCrea recovered.
The two teams missed field goals on their opening drive of the second quarter. GU freshman Chase Magsig (Hudsonville, Mich.) saw his 38-yard attempt sail wide left in his first game for the Bison. Ganus had his 40-yard attempt come up short for the Cardinals.
Todd Bonheyo was intercepted at the Otterbein 37 on the ensuing drive and the Cardinals returned the favor when Kingcade was picked off by all-conference cornerback Tony Tatum (Gardendale, Ala.), who made a 16-yard return. The two teams went into halftime with the Bison only down five.
The Bison offense continued to stall in the second half as they made one punt, turned the ball over to Otterbein three times on downs and were intercepted once.
Gallaudet's defense kept the game within striking distance as Ganus made a 37-yard field goal and Kingcade ran in the game's only touchdown from four yards out early in the fourth quarter. Otterbein averaged nearly 25 points per game last season.
Sophomore linebacker Jaris Alleyne (Waldorf, Md.) made 11 tackles and two tackles for a loss of five yards to lead Gallaudet. Preseason All-American linebacker Tom Pangia (Hammonton, N.J.) recorded seven tackles and had four tackles for a loss of nine yards. Otterbein was without its preseason All-American wide receiver Trey Fairchild, who had eight catches for 196 yards and two touchdowns in last year's matchup with the Bison.
GU was last held scoreless on Oct. 25, 2008, in a 49-0 loss on the road against Husson University. That season Gallaudet went 2-8 and was shutout three times. This is Gallaudet's third straight loss dating back to Nov. 5, 2011.
Three different Cardinals had six tackles including Patrick Seesholtz and Zack Grieves, who both tallied one sack and two tackles for a loss. Defensive back Jaylin Kennedy came up with both interceptions for Otterbein. The Cardinals have won 13 of their previous 15 season openers.
Gallaudet has a short week and will turn around and face crosstown rival Catholic University of America (1-0) on the road Friday night at 7 p.m. Catholic defeated McDaniel College, 45-28, last night at home.