The Wittenberg Tigers got their running game in gear, putting two tailbacks over 100 yards and cruising to a 49-7 Homecoming victory over Hiram.
The win moved the Tigers, ranked seventh by the American Football Coaches Association and eighth by d3football.com, to a perfect 6-0 on the season, while Hiram dropped to 1-5. While the two teams are both members of the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC), this game was a non-conference affair after Earlham's departure to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference this year altered the schedule unexpectedly.
After a slow start, Wittenberg scored 21 points over the final 17:35 of the first half. All three scores came on the ground as senior tailback Corey Weber (Pataskala, Ohio/Watkins Memorial) hit paydirt from two yards out late in the first quarter and junior tailback Conner Warye (Maineville, Ohio/Kings) tallied from 52 yards and two yards in the second quarter.
In the third quarter, junior wide receiver Michael Cooper (Springfield, Ohio/South) caught an 18-yard touchdown pass and senior tight end Mat Guida (LaGrange, Ky./Oldham County) laid out for an 11-yard scoring reception. Weber added a 21-yard touchdown reception from junior wide receiver Josh McKee (New Carlisle, Ohio/Tecumseh) to open the fourth quarter, and senior wide receiver Bill French (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay) rounded things out with a 12-yard touchdown catch. In between, Hiram got on the board with an 11-yard scoring strike from Brendan Rehor to Glenn Campbell.
The biggest difference in the game were the two teams' rushing attacks, as Wittenberg piled up a season-high 277 yards on 38 carries. Warye had his best day as a Tiger, rushing for 119 yards and two scores on just nine carries, while Weber added 112 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. On the flip side, Hiram managed just nine yards on 21 carries.
Through the air, Wittenberg was paced by Cooper with 70 yards and a touchdown on five receptions, while McKee added three catches for 48 yards. Junior quarterback Ben Zoeller (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier) finished 14-of-28 for 212 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, junior linebacker Zach Hurtt (Fort Thomas, Ky./Highlands) led with seven tackles, a pass broken up and his team-best third interception of the season. Four other players accumulated six tackles each, while senior cornerback Keenan Freeman (Fairborn, Ohio/Greenon) contributed three tackles, three passes broken up and a fumble recovery.
The Tigers are back home again next week for an NCAC match-up with winless Kenyon.