The Tigers tossed aside Kenyon in a lopsided football match-up on Saturday, taking the crown from the Lords in a 45-3 sweep.
After opening NCAC action with a win over Oberlin on the road, Wittenberg extended their winning streak another week after taking down the Lords in Springfield. Wittenberg now sits undefeated through three games of their 2018 campaign.
The defensive squad prevailed in the game under the lights, holding the Lords out of the end zone and only allowing one field goal on the night. Wittenberg’s offense tallied 543 yards through the chilly night game, while the Tiger defense only allowed Kenyon to move ahead 240 yards.
Eight defensemen in red and white tallied five or more tackles, while another six defensive backs accounted for nine pass breakups.
Leading the charge off the defensive line was Donald Hefelfinger, ‘19, with seven tackles. The senior also pushed through the Kenyon backfield, assisting in bringing down the quarterback once for a four-yard loss.
Out of the secondary, Troy Jones, ‘20, chalked another six tackles for the Tigers. The Florida native fared only one pass breakup, however he grabbed his first interception of the year at the 45-yard line and returned it all the way to the end zone.
Micah Vann, ‘20, made his first notable snag of his career, working the defensive line to pick a Kenyon pass out of the air and take it to the house to chalk six points onto the board.
The Wittenberg Tigers moved quickly and efficiently to drive the scoring margin higher and higher. Holding onto the ball only for 25 of the 60 minutes in the game, the offensive squad tallied two touchdowns through the air and three scores on the ground.
The Tiger backfield shared the ball between seven runners against the Lords. Nick Kendall, ‘20, ruled the ground game under the lights, averaging 10.3 yards on each of his 11 attempts. The junior also snagged one pass for eight yards.
Kendall found the end zone twice in the first half, beginning with a two-yard push past the pylons for the first score of the game. Later, the Fort Thomas, Ky. Native flew 75 yards downfield for at Tiger touchdown in a three-play, 92- yard drive lasting 55 seconds early in the second quarter.
Getting the other share of the pie in the offensive backfield for the Tigers was running back Jaheem Washington, who recorded a short, 7-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. The junior fared 123 total yards on 13 attempts, chalking 41 yards on his longest play past Kenyon defenders.
The arm of Jake Kennedy, ‘19, tossed the pigskin a mere 207 yards on the night, successfully completing 15 of 19 passes. Key passes landed in the hands of fellow seniors Jeff Tiffner and Liam Duncan, resulting in two more Tiger touchdowns. Kennedy now leads the NCAC in touchdown passes this season with nine.
Tiffner, standing only five-foot-nine-inches, squeezed a 45-yard pass from Kennedy through several defending Lords for a touchdown late in the first half. In a matter of seconds, the solo play on the 10-second drive tacked another six points on Wittenberg’s dramatic lead.
Bobby Froehlich, ‘21, made his debut on the college turf on Sep. 15 against the Yeomen and appeared again on Saturday as the scoring margin increased. The rookie was not successful however, making no completions through the air on two attempts and fumbling the ball on the one-yard line to turn over the ball.
Discipline proved too much for the Tigers as penalties quickly became a problem. Yellow flags littered the field on 10 occasions in favor of Kenyon, resulting in 125 yards of lost Tiger momentum.
After three weeks of conference action, Wittenberg has soared to the top of the NCAC leader board along with Wabash and Denison, all three undefeated against conference opponents.
Wittenberg looks to continue their winning ways on the road on Sep. 29 at Denison. The Big Red last defeated the Tigers in 2016 in Granville, 21-24, in a thriller ending with a field goal with 21 seconds left in the game followed by Kennedy’s pass being intercepted with 15 seconds on the clock.
Since their last meeting, Wittenberg has won 17-straight, regular-season contests. The 2018 rivalry match-up will take place on Deeds Field under the lights as kickoff is set for 7 PM at Piper Stadium.