BEXLEY -- All evening, the Heidelberg University football team suffered from self-inflicted wounds. Four fumbles and 11 penalties threatened to do in the Student Princes.
But for two drives -- one on offense, one on defense -- things went the way of The Berg.
The Student Princes scored a go-ahead touchdown with 4:28 to play, then the defense stood tall in a 44-40 win over Capital University on a muggy Saturday evening in Columbus.
Trace Reynolds threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns -- both career highs -- and ran for 111 yards and a score.
Capital QB Thomas Wibbeler threw for 349 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 85 yards and three scores.
Freshmen Zachary Blackiston followed up his stellar debut with an 11-tackle effort with 1.5 sacks.
HOW IT HAPPENED
When it mattered, Heidelberg (2-0, 1-0 OAC) came through. Down 40-37 with 5:37, the comeback kids embarked on a six-play, 52-yard drive. Reynolds found Keivon Belcher on a seam route for a score -- ending a string of 20 straight points by Capital (0-3, 0-2 OAC). With the PAT, Heidelberg led 44-40.
Wibbeler took the ball at his 25-yardline. With his arm and legs, he matriculated the ball into Heidelberg territory. Facing 1st-and-10 from the Berg 22, Loren Sauve and Blackiston combined on a sack. After a four-yard gain on second down, Collin Pecoraro and Aidan Ammons wrapped up Wibbeler for another sack. After teams traded timeouts with 29 seconds left, Capital opted to attempt a hook and lateral on fourth down. Receiver Dar Stanford's pitch attempt was fumbled, Gabe Smythe recovered, and Heidelberg sealed the 44-40 victory.
Heidelberg won the toss and elected to receive the opening kick. En route to a touchdown on a four-yard rush by Branden Short, the Student Princes converted on two third downs and a fourth down.
Capital QB Thomas Wibbeler guided the hosts 65 yards down the field in eight plays, culminating with a five-yard touchdown pass to Dar Stanford. The PAT slammed off the left upright, maintaining a 7-6 lead for HU.
Reynolds sprinted through the right side for a 52-yard touchdown on the ensuing possession, but Austin Baker's extra point was blocked.
Down 13-6, Wibbeler and company tied the game with an eight-play, 85-yard drive.
In the second, the Crusaders capitalized on a muffed punt by Satchel Strahm -- scoring the go-ahead touchdown four plays later.
Trailing by seven, the Tricolor quickly responded. Reynolds found Keivon Belcher for a 51-yard connection down to the CAP seven. One play later, Jace Grossman found paydirt for the first time on the season. Baker tied the game with the PAT.
Midway through the period, Baker knocked home a 44-yard field goal, giving his squad a 23-20 lead.
With under two minutes left in the half, the Crusaders faced 4th-and-14 from the Heidelberg 34. Unable to find an open receiver, the QB scampered up the gut for 21 yards and a first down. On 4th-and-2 from the four, Bret Finck stepped in front of a Wibbeler pass into the end zone, batting it down to keep Heidelberg up 23-20 at halftime.
Maceo Matthews snared his first career touchdown midway through the third quarter -- a five-yard pass from Reynolds. Baker's PAT gave Heidelberg a 30-20 lead.
On the next HU possession, Reynolds and Matthews connected on a 60-yard completion after penalties had forced the Student Princes into a 3rd-and-26 from their own 24. The following play, Reynolds threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Braden Jerome. Heidelberg led, 37-20.
And then the wheels fell off.
The Capital offense, held silent by the 'Berg D throughout much of the third, scored a touchdown on a drive aided by two HU personal fouls.
After another Berg fumble, CAP moved to within three at 37-34 after a Wibbeler four-yard keeper.
With the momentum clearly in Capital's defense forced a three-and-out. Taking over at midfield, Cap used another personal foul and Wibbeler's arm to take the lead on a four-yard pass to Stanford. The PAT was blocked, giving the hosts a 40-37 lead with 8:17 to play -- setting up the Heidelberg heroics.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Belcher finished with a career-high 116 yards on eight catches.
Baker's 44-yard field goal in the second was a yard shy of his career long -- a 45-yarder vs. Wilmington last year.
Capital was playing its third-ever night game at Bernlohr Stadium. It had won the previous two contests.
Head coach Scott Donaldson on the defense: "The defense was put into some rough situations because of turnovers, but they came through tough … I'll never question this team's toughness."
Donaldson on Reynolds: "He was great again tonight and started to show himself as a passer and a dual-threat quarterback."
Donaldson on the play of Cap QB Wibbeler: "I'm so happy he's finally a senior … Year in, year out, he's one of the best passers in the conference, if not the nation. He's unbelievably talented and I'm happy to see him go."
The Student Princes return home to face Baldwin Wallace (2-1, 1-1 OAC) on Saturday. BW lost to No. 1 Mount Union on Saturday, 56-21. Kick off with the Yellow Jackets is scheduled for 7 p.m.