Granville, Ohio – It was a shootout under the lights in Granville, as the Wittenberg University football team defeated Denison University in a 4OT thriller, 68-66. For many Tiger players and fans, the game was a flashback to the 2016 NCAA Tournament first-round matchup when Wittenberg took down the Saints of Thomas More College 33-30 in a 4OT bout, which would go on to set the record for the longest NCAA Div. III playoff game. On Saturday night, the record book did some rearranging, as senior quarterback Jake Kennedy has jumped into the Top 10 in multiple categories including, single-game passing attempts, completions, passing yards and touchdown passes. It was a good night to be a Springfield native, Jeff Tiffner found his way into the end-zone for the fourth consecutive game for the Tigers. Tiffner would put his stamp on the Tiger record books by reeling in four touchdown passes on the night, collecting 228 all-purpose yards on the night. Thad Snodgrass would tack on three TD's of his own with 97-yards to his name.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Wittenberg would strike first, taking an early 7-0 lead with just over five minutes remaining the first quarter. The Tigers would pile on the offense in the first half, scoring four more times before the break and taking a 35-3 lead into the half. Some Denison halftime adjustments allowed the Big Red to put up 13 unanswered points in the third quarter. Wittenberg would finally get their chance to put some points on the board in the second half, as Adam Acquista converted on a 30-yard field goal attempt to bump the Tiger advantage up to 38-23. Denison would go on to conduct two final scoring drives with under 10-minutes remaining in the game. After punching in their final touchdown of regulation, the Big Red came up with the two-point conversion in the corner of the end-zone to bring the game back to even at 38-38. After the two sides slugged it out in regulation, Wittenberg would get the first crack at the end-zone in overtime and the Tigers would go to Tiffner right away for the 25-yard strike. After Denison matched the Tiger's play call with a 25-yard pitch and catch into the end-zone. The Big Red would leadoff the scoring chances in the second overtime, taking the 52-45 lead on the eight-yard rush by the Denison quarterback Canaan Gebele. The Tigers would be put on the spot to score twice, as the senior Kennedy would remain calm on 4th and 10, completing a 17-yard pass to Bryce Bailey to keep the Wittenberg drive alive before Nick Kendall would bring things back to even at 52-52, scoring on an eight-yard rush up the middle. After the Denison defense would get to Kennedy to start the third-overtime, pushing the Tigers offense back four-yards. Liam Duncan would haul in just his second reception of the game as the third overtime was getting moving, while also his most crucial reception of the night, picking up 22-yards and making way for Thad Snodgrass to catch his second touchdown pass of the night. As the scoreboard displayed 60-60 going into the fourth overtime, the Big Red would get the first opportunity at the end-zone. The Denison quarterback would find the end-zone from 14-yards out for his fifth rushing score of the game. The Tiger defense would come up with the big stop on the two-point conversion, forcing the Denison incomplete pass. Wittenberg would get their final scoring opportunity in the fourth-overtime trailing 66-60. Kennedy and Tiffner would connect for a huge fourth down conversion, setting up another overtime touchdown reception for Snodgrass in the back of the Denison end-zone. Kennedy would go on to make the dive at the pylon and complete the two-point conversion and seal the victory for the Tigers.
WHO STOOD OUT
It was a standout game for multiple Tigers, as Kendall accumulated 130 all-purpose yards, including a 19-yard punt return, along with tallying a touchdown in his second straight game. Jaheem Washington would find his way into the end zone for the second consecutive game, giving the Tigers a 14-7 advantage on a seven-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Washington finished the game with 23-yards on four rushing attempts. After missing out on the action last week, Snodgrass was back in full-force reeling in six passes for 97-yards and three touchdowns. Snodgrass made his presence known with a 52-yard strike from Kennedy for his first touchdown of the day. Kennedy would finish the day completing 31 passes on 43 attempts for 421 yards and seven touchdowns. Troy Jones was the difference maker on the special team's unit, coming up with two blocked kicks while adding eight tackles – seven of which were solo. Terrance Crowe and Jonathan Seay would lead the defensive front for the Tigers. Crowe logged 13 tackles on the night, six solo and seven assisted, including a sack for a two-yard loss. Seay tallied 12 stops for the Tiger defense with three solo tackles and nine assisted. Michael Ford would also add 11 tackles and two pass break-ups on the night for Wittenberg.
Wittenberg will return home on Saturday, Oct. 6 to celebrate the 2018 Homecoming festivities, taking on the Terriers of Hiram College in an NCAC battle set to kickoff at 3:00 PM.
Wittenberg wins 68-66. pic.twitter.com/qsE0aKdSSL— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) September 30, 2018
WHOOOP! @WittFootball strikes first as Jeff Tiffner finds his way into the end zone for the 4th consecutive game, giving the Tigers a 7-0 lead in the first quarter! #TigerUp pic.twitter.com/wsdodx4HKj— Wittenberg Athletics (@WittAthletics) September 29, 2018