Wittenberg secures NCAC title in Fincham's 200th win as head coach
SPRINGFIELD (Wittenberg Athletics) -- #9/#12 Wittenberg defeated Ohio Wesleyan 42-23 on Saturday, as the game served as the 200th victory for head coach Joe Fincahm. The Tigers now have at least a share of their 15th NCAC crown, as the perfect 10-0 season is still up for grabs as the Tigers square off against Wooster next weekend. The Tigers scored a touchdown on their first play from scrimmage on Saturday, as the Tigers offense was led by Ryan Fallon's ability to find the end zone from close, as the junior transfer recorded three rushing touchdowns in the game. As for Fincham, in his 22nd year as the Tigers head coach, the Tigers leader becomes the 86th head coach in NCAA history to surpass the 200-win mark, and the 26th Division III coach to do so. 44 coaches have managed to complete the feat at one institution, including Fincham. The West Virginia native joins the likes of Woody Hayes and Bear Bryant on the eye-popping shortlist of coaches.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Jake Kennedy found the end zone on the first play from scrimmage, a designed quarterback keeper that saw the junior go untouched for 45 yards into the end-zone one minutes into the game. Later in the first, the Tigers scored again on a pass over the middle from Kennedy to running back Nick Kendall for an 18-yard strike. Wittenberg extended their lead to 21-0 in the first quarter after a Fallon one-yard touchdown run. Fallon would again score from in close, this time on a three-yard designed quarterback keeper, giving the Tigers a 28-0 lead in the second quarter. Wittenberg would score late in the third quarter, as Fallon snuck in from two yards out, as the Tigers then led 35-3. Wittenberg's final score would come on a 65-yard pitch and catch from Kennedy to Bryce Bailey in the fourth quarter, as the Tigers then led 42-16.
WHO STOOD OUT: Outside of Fallon's three rushing touchdowns, Kennedy aired out the Battling Bishops for 323 yards and two touchdowns passes. Bailey hauled in one of those passes, with Kendall catching the other early on. The Tiger defense did everything they could to stop the OWU passing attack, one that threw the ball 60 times on Saturday afternoon. The Tiger defense held OWU yards of total offense, including a whopping four total rushing yards. In a bit of a sloppy game on both sides, Terrance Crowe paced the Tigers defense with ten total tackles, including an interception early on. Chandler Ferko, Brandon Daniels, and Jeremy Asiffo all recorded sacks for the Tigers, as the unit picked up six total tackles for a loss on the day.
WHAT'S IT MEAN: Wittenberg has an opportunity to go 10-0 for the first time since 2010, and a chance to win the league outright for the second consecutive season with a win against Wooster next weekend at home. The Tigers look to wrap up the regular season next Saturday at 1:00PM for senior day.