Section: Football

Owls earn hard-fought victory over Bluffton in opener

Owls earn hard-fought victory over Bluffton in opener

Murray caught two TDs in the Owls victory. | COURTESY OF SEJIN KIM

On an overcast Saturday, with gloomy weather threatening, the Owls shone bright at the start of the football season with a decisive 33-26 victory against Bluffton University. The win was a good start for the new coaching staff of the football program.

The Owls started their 2022 season strong. Competing on their home turf, the Owls did not disappoint, with an early touchdown by quarterback Ryan O’Leary ’23. While the extra point was added by kicker Rocco Danese ’23, a sneaky 50-yard touchdown run by Bluffton’s counterattack brought the score to an even 7-7. However, in the final minute of the first quarter, the Owls clawed back to a 13-7 lead with a touchdown by WR Finn Murray ’23.

The second quarter was defined by massive point gains from both the Owls and the Beavers, with Kenyon gaining a 26-7 lead thanks to the efforts of Drake Lewis ’25 and Jack Provenza ’23. Not to be outdone, the Beavers attempted to pull the lead away from the Owls by capitalizing on a bad snap during a punt, resulting in a safety to make the score 26-9. The Owls’ run of excellent defense seemed to be coming to a close when Bluffton needed only two plays to gain a touchdown, bringing the halftime score to 26-16. 

The outlook for the Owls looked grim come third quarter. After a field goal for Bluffton, the score sat at 26-19, with Kenyon ahead by just one score. A stalemate ensued, with neither team gaining much ground in the fourth quarter until the last few minutes. Finally, with three minutes left, Murray nailed his second touchdown of the game with a 23-yard pass from O’Leary. Though the Beavers scored a late touchdown, the Owls took the game by a final score of 33-26. 

While there were some moments of doubt for the Owls, head coach Ian Good believes that the team responded well. “We settled in, came out in the second half as if the game was 0-0 and finished the game as a team,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. Good feels optimistic about the season. “I can tell you that if our team continues to buy into what we are doing and takes pride in preparing on a daily basis, then we will find success throughout the season.” 

The Owls hope to continue to build momentum this Saturday in Michigan against Kalamazoo College.

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