The Rich Nagy era for Allegheny football has already seen a turnaround. After an 0-5 start, Nagy’s Gators had won two of three going into Saturday’s Senior Day meeting with Wooster.
The Gators saw their seniors off in style. Allegheny played a clean game with no penalties and a strong rushing attack to beat Wooster 24-14 on Saturday afternoon at Frank B. Fuhrer Field.
“The kids, they did a great job. They played a clean game,” said Nagy. “It amazes you, you talk about stuff every week with them about what we need to do to be successful.
“We talk about needing all three phases. We talk about needing to run the ball and we talk about not making mistakes and no penalties. The kids, to their credit, they respond.”
Responding is the best way to describe what the Gators did on Saturday. After falling into an early hole, the Gators climbed out and turned things around. Much like their season as a whole.
The opening drive on defense couldn’t have gone much worse for Allegheny. Wooster marched down the field with pace, taking short passes and some big runs to get down to the Gators’ 5-yard line.
Nick Strausbaugh scored on a nice inside-out route. Mateo Renteria hit him right in the numbers to give Wooster the 7-0 lead.
“We didn’t do a great job in the first half with the pass game,” said Nagy. “We gave them too much credit.”
That was Strausbaugh’s 30th career touchdown catch, which tied Brandon Good’s Wooster career record.
Early in the second quarter, Wooster tacked onto its lead with a Troy Baughman 10-yard rushing score, making it 14-0. The drive was just two plays for 12 yards after a dropped snap by the Gators’ punter.
Allegheny’s next drive was important. First play they fed senior Alex Victor on a sweep and he gained 10 yards.
Later in the drive, Greer went up the middle to Ben Bachik for 20 yards to get to the Wooster 19.
Two plays later, the ball went back to Victor on the pop pass for the Gators’ first touchdown.
After the Gators forced Wooster to punt, the run game took over. This time Tonye Hamilton got the bulk of the work.
Hamilton gained 42 yards on five carries to set up a Chase Balla touchdown run with 1:18 to play in the first half, tying things up 14-14.
“Our guys blocked well and our running backs followed them,” said Nagy.
There was more to like from the run game on the Gators’ opening drive of the second half. Nine of Allegheny’s 11 plays on the 61-yard drive were run plays. Trey Adams finished it with a 3-yard touchdown to give Allegheny its first lead 21-14.
“We go back to DePauw a little bit and we didn’t run the ball very well in that game,” added Nagy. “We just really had to make some decisions on what we were doing schematically and in the last few games we’ve been able to get that done.”
The Gators utilized four big rushers on the day. Hamilton tallied 97 yards to lead the group. Balla tallied 82 yards and a TD. Adams racked up 71 yards and a score. Victor used his big play ability to get 47 yards on just two carries.
Once the Gators took the lead, it was up to the defense to make the plays and that group came up big when it needed to.
Early in the fourth quarter, Wooster reached the Allegheny 13, but two straight incompletions stalled the drive leading to a turnover on downs. Darian Parrish forced the bad throw with a hurry.
On the ensuing Gators possession, Nick Leinenweber buried a 30-yard field goal to push the lead to 24-14.
Wooster was desperate for points and the Gators punished the Scots for the aggressive throws.
Renteria forced a deep ball and was picked off in the red zone by Quinten Hunt.
On the next drive, Renteria took another deep shot that was hauled in by Josh Miller for another pick, this time it was caught off a bobble.
“Once we started to challenge, we were able to get some pressure on the quarterback and we were able to win the game,” said Nagy. “It was fun.”
Renteria went 21 for 36 for 211 yards with a touchdown and two picks for Wooster.
For Allegheny, Greer was 13-for-18 for 155 yards and a touchdown.
Kyle McGee led the defense with 13 tackles. Balla added 10.
The Gators close out the season at Oberlin next Saturday. Kickoff for that game is at 1 p.m.
“(I’m hoping for) another win,” said Nagy. “We played a clean football game and as a coach that’s all you can really ask for. These guys give great effort and it’s fun to watch them play.”
Jordan Hansgen can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.