Section: Football

Football struggles en route to tough Homecoming defeat

Football struggles en route to tough Homecoming defeat

O’Leary passed for 232 yards. | COURTESY OF GRAHAM STOKES

The Kenyon football team fell in their Homecoming game to Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) 41-14. The loss moves their record to 1-3 and their NCAC record to 0-2.

After the Owls won the coin toss and deferred, the Battling Bishops opened the scoring with a field goal after an 11-play, 47-yard drive. Looking to answer with a scoring drive, Owls quarterback Ryan O’Leary ’23 led the offense to midfield. Unfortunately, O’Leary threw an interception, and OWU’s offense was able to take a 10-0 lead with just under seven minutes left in the first quarter. After a three-and-out for the Owls, the Battling Bishops scored a rushing touchdown to stretch their lead to 17-0 before securing a second interception as the first quarter came to a close. Kenyon’s defense was able to hold OWU to a field goal on the opening drive of the second quarter, and the offense looked to seize some momentum of their own. However, the Owls’ offense was no match for the Battling Bishops’ defense, as a turnover on downs and a three-and-out put the Owls in a 34-0 hole at halftime.

Though Kenyon faced a nearly insurmountable deficit as they opened the second half, they were able to put their first points of the game on the board after O’Leary led the team downfield, with some help from two penalties on OWU. Jordon Benjamin ’26, who led the team with 43 rushing yards, picked up the four yards necessary for the touchdown after a 70-yard drive. The Owls’ defense then forced the Battling Bishops to punt for the first time, giving the offense possession at their own 32-yard line. Despite a positive start to the drive, Kenyon’s offense turned the ball over on downs, and the defense was unable to contain a 74-yard touchdown pass from OWU quarterback Zack Leonard just one play later. Kenyon was able to grab a touchdown late on an O’Leary pass to Zach Kim ’25, but it was too little to overcome OWU’s relentless attack as Kenyon fell 41-14.

Missed opportunities defined the game for linebacker Mitchell Nuesca ’25, who led the team with 10 tackles. “We had a lot of shots to stop them on defense, and to score on offense that just didn’t work out the way we wanted them to,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. Nuesca thinks the Owls have reason for optimism, despite a final box score that heavily favored the Battling Bishops. “It’s been a theme for every game so far, but the team doesn’t stop fighting to win until the game is over and done with,” he said. He believes the team can succeed if they are able to build positive momentum and work as a solid unit. “Everyone knows what’s at stake every week, and we need to come out firing on all cylinders,” he said. 

Kenyon will have extra time to work towards success, as they are off this weekend with their bye week, but will return to action at Oberlin College on Oct. 8.


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