Wittenberg Shuts Down Kenyon, 52-0
The Wittenberg Tigers extended nearly a century of complete domination of the Kenyon Lords, cruising to a 52-0 victory over their visiting North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) rivals.
The win moved the Tigers, ranked eighth by d3football.com and seventh by the American Football Coaches Association, to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the NCAC. It was Wittenberg's 17th straight regular season win, dating back to the end of the 2008 season, and it was the 19th consecutive time that the Tigers had beaten Kenyon, dating back to a 1921 tie. The Lords, who dropped to 0-6 overall and 0-3 in the NCAC, have not beaten the Tigers since a 12-0 win in Gambier in 1914.
In the first meeting between the two teams since a 79-0 Wittenberg win in Springfield in 2002, the Tigers rolled up 655 yards of total offense, just 38 shy of the school record. Kenyon, on the other hand, was held to 160 yards.
Wittenberg put 17 points on the board in the first quarter, 14 each in the second and third periods and a touchdown at the start of the fourth frame. Junior wide receiver Josh McKee (New Carlisle, Ohio/Tecumseh) continued his All-American-caliber season, catching three touchdown passes to run his season total to 12 - one short of the school record - and his career total to a record-breaking 30, while junior tailback Conner Warye (Maineville, Ohio/Kings) added two short scoring runs, senior tailback Corey Weber (Pataskala, Ohio/Watkins Memorial) contributed a first-quarter TD burst and freshman wide receiver Brendon Cunningham (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont) rounded out the scoring with his first career touchdown. In addition, sophomore kicker Sean Williams (Plainfield, Ind./Plainfield) was perfect on the day with a 30-yard field goal and 6-for-6 on extra points, running his season total to 33-of-34 on PATs.
McKee, who came into the game leading all of NCAA Division III in receiving yards per game, caught 10 passes for 106 yards, while junior wide receiver Michael Cooper (Springfield, Ohio/Shawnee) did just about everything but find the end zone, finishing with five catches for a game-high 122 yards. Cunningham added five receptions for 99 yards and senior wideout Anthony Kralich (Kettering, Ohio/Alter) and senior tight end Mat Guida (LaGrange, Ky./Oldham County) each contributed two acrobatic catches.
It all added up to another tremendous statistical performance for junior quarterback Ben Zoeller (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier), who completed 22-of-29 passes for 356 yards and two touchdowns before giving way to senior Andrew Durbin (Carmel, Ind./Carmel), who was a perfect 4-of-4 for 54 yards and two scores through the air. It was the third time in just seven starting assignments that Zoeller threw for more than 300 yards as he ran his season total to 1,989 on just 108 completions. He now has three of the top six single-game passing games in program history, and his season passing yardage already ranks No. 6 in school history.
Fourteen different Tigers were credited with at least two tackles in the game, led by senior linebacker Brad McKinley (Hilliard, Ohio/Davidson) with eight stops. The total team effort by the No. 1-ranked unit by every statistical measure in the NCAC, limited Kenyon to just 40 yards on the ground and 120 in the passing game.
After five home games in the first seven weeks of the 2010 season, the Tigers prepare to hit the road next week for a key regional game against University Athletic Association rival Carnegie Mellon. The Tigers have beaten the Tartans each of the last two years, including a narrow 24-21 victory in Pittsburgh in 2008.