The Wittenberg Tigers football fell to number 21 Washington & Jefferson Presidents, 16-8, in a televised game on ESPN3 on Saturday. Washington & Jefferson struck first, scoring with 8:38 to go in the first quarter after a fumble from Wittenberg running back Troy Clay (’20) turned the ball over to Washington & Jefferson on Wittenberg’s own 17-yard line.
The Tigers responded minutes later, as Washington & Jefferson punter received a snap over his head and chased the ball into the Presidents endzone for a safety bringing the score to 2-7, with 5:09 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers struck again in the second quarter as Blake King (’22) completed a 35-yard pass to wide receiver Thad Snodgrass (’20) after Troy Jones (’20) intercepted a pass from the Presidents at their own 39-yard line before running out of bounds at the Presidents’ 35-yard line.
Kicker Nick Bowman (’23) missed the extra point leaving the Tigers and Presidents tied at 8-8 with 7:54 to go in the second quarter. Washington & Jefferson scored next on a 24-yard field goal in the early minutes of the fourth quarter leaving the Presidents leading the Tigers, 8-10. The Presidents struck minutes later with a sack of Wittenberg quarterback King at the Presidents own 42-yard line, which was recovered and run 52-yards for a Washington & Jefferson touchdown. The Presidents extra point attempt was blocked by defensive end Nasir Carter (’21) leaving the Presidents leading the Tigers, 8-16, with 9:53 left in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers were led by starting quarterback King after the graduation of Jake Kennedy (’19). The Tigers defensive line helped to keep Wittenberg in contention with Michael Fiessinger (’21) and Jones intercepting one Washington & Jefferson pass each. King completed only 11 of his 20 pass attempts for 122 passing yards. King was replaced by Bobby Froehlich (’21) for Wittenberg’s last two possessions of the game, who completed only one of his three attempted passes, a 17-yard pass to Jake Saus (’22) late in the fourth quarter.
Wittenberg special teams missed both field goal attempts as Nick Bowman (’23) missed a 29-yard field goal early in the second quarter while Christian Seger (’23) missed a 28-yard field goal in the final minute of the second quarter. The Tigers offense was also inefficient on converting possessions in to points as only one of the Tigers 18 drives ended with a touchdown.
Wittenberg’s defensive line was a key aspect of keeping the Tigers in the game as tight end Logan Jewsikow (’22) led the squad with six total tackles, while Trevor Good (’20) led the team in tackles for loss with 25 yards off several sacks of Washington & Jefferson quarterback Jacob Adam (’20).
The Tigers start NCAC play next week against the Terriers at 1:00 p.m. on Sept. 14 at Hiram College. Wittenberg faces Hiram after the Terriers lost to Marietta, 41-0 on Saturday. Wittenberg will then have their home opener against NCAC rival Wooster on Sept. 21 at 4:30 p.m.