After two big wins against Capital and Ohio Wesleyan, the Tiger’s football team was finally matched up against an opponent of equal caliber on Saturday’s game against Washington University. Wittenberg came out on top 20-17 when the clock ran out, but this was a tough game for the Tigers who had to hustle in the fourth to keep their lead.
“They were a good team, best team we’ve played by far,” said senior offensive lineman Brian Alspaugh. “Winning like that on the road will pay off later in the season.”
With 6:20 left in the first, junior kicker Sean Williams put up the only points of the quarter with a 28-yard field goal, giving the Tigers an early lead.
Into the second quarter, sophomore quarterback Reed Florence linked up with senior receiver Michael Cooper for a 4-yard touchdown pass, putting the Tigers up 10-0 and ending a drive that lasted nearly seven minutes. Washington then answered back with a 20-yard field goal from Eric Chalifour, ending the half with a score of 10-3.
The Bears continued scoring into the third quarter with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Brennan Fox to Dan Burkett, evening up the score at 10-10. The Tigers would not have a scoring response until the beginning of the fourth quarter when Williams hit another field goal from 22-yards out.
Florence then extended the Tigers lead minutes later with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Brendon Cunningham after an 11 play drive, leaving the score at 20-10. Washington made an attempt to come back with a 30-yard passing touchdown from Burkett to receiver Easton Knott, but it was not enough to close the deficit and the Tigers came away with a 20-17 victory.
The offensive production versus Washington was incomparable to the Tigers first two games of the season, senior Ben Zoeller only with 139 yards passing and no touchdowns. Sophomore Florence only had nine yards passing but tallied up two touchdowns, proving he is a great back up for Zoeller.
“We have a package just for Reed, he is a very good quarterback,” said Alspaugh, “But as long as Ben is healthy he will get the majority of the snaps.”
On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore defensive back Mark Swope recorded eight total tackles for the Tigers, only two being assisted. Sophomore defensive lineman Josh Montgomery also had a big day with six tackles and one sack for a nine yard loss.
Wittenberg will look to continue their success next weekend at home with a big NCAC match up against Allegheny. The Gators are also coming off a close game against DePauw, winning 17-10. Kick-off will be at 1 p.m. at Edwards-Maurer Field.
(Ben Groff / email@example.com)