/seasons/2010/contrib/2010111348aytj

Tigers Rally Past Wooster To Secure Second Straight Outright NCAC Title

More news about: Wittenberg

The Wittenberg defense came up with the big plays when they were needed the most, keying a fourth-quarter rally that gave the Tigers a 22-17 win over host Wooster and their second consecutive outright North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) championship.

Wittenberg's 20th straight regular season win and 13th straight NCAC win secured the program's 19th undefeated regular season at 10-0 and the conference's automatic berth in the 2010 NCAA Division III Tournament. Wooster, the last team to defeat the Tigers in either NCAC action or the regular season in 2008, dropped to 5-5 overall and 4-2 in the league. A Wooster win would have forced a three-way tie atop the NCAC and given Wabash the automatic berth by virtue of tiebreaker criteria.

Like Wittenberg's first three ventures away from home this season, however, the win was anything but a sure thing until the final minute. Trailing 17-16 with 3:01 to play, senior safety Ty Whittington (Sabina, Ohio/East Clinton) came up the biggest play of his collegiate career, coming up with a tipped pass at the 50-yard line. The Tigers then marched downfield and punched the ball into the end zone with 1:23 left on a four-yard run by junior quarterback Ben Zoeller (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier). After the two-point conversion pass was ruled incomplete, the Tigers led 22-17.

That left it up to the defense again, and the senior-dominated line made the lead stand up this time. Senior tackle Adam Kattoua (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) got pressure on the quarterback on third down to force an incompletion and then senior end Eddie Vallery (South Solon, Ohio/Madison Plains) came up with his second sack of the second half on fourth down to effectively end the game.

The Tiger defense was dominant for most of the second half, except for one Wooster drive. After Wittenberg had taken a 16-10 lead on a 43-yard touchdown pass from Zoeller to junior wide receiver Josh McKee (New Carlisle, Ohio/Tecumseh) early in the fourth quarter, the Scots put together an 11-play, 50-yard scoring drive that culminated with a 19-yard touchdown pass on third-and-15.

Wooster managed just 235 total yards in the game, but they still put up 17 points thanks to the combination of tailback Robert Flagg, who rushed for 66 yards and caught 10 passes for 47 yards, and freshman quarterback Richard Barnes, who threw for 193 yards. But Wittenberg sacked Barnes four times and intercepted him three times to give the Tiger offense just enough opportunities.

Zoeller topped the 300-yard mark for fifth time in 2010, piling up 304 yards on 19 completions in 40 attempts. He broke Aaron Huffman's 2009 record of 2,737 passing yards in a season, pushing his total to 2,886. His favorite target was McKee, who finished with eight catches for 143 yards and a touchdown to give him school records of 64 receptions, 1,354 yards and 16 TDs on the season. Senior wideout Anthony Kralich (Kettering, Ohio/Alter) added four catches for 118 yards, and the tailback duo of senior Corey Weber (Pataskala, Ohio/Watkins Memorial) and junior Conner Warye (Maineville, Ohio/Kings) combined for 105 yards on the ground.

Sophomore kicker Sean Williams (Plainfield, Ind./Plainfield) played a key role in the game for Wittenberg, hitting all three of his field goal attempts. Now with 12 on the season, Williams tied the season record held by Rob Vaka in 1988 and Ryan Walker in 2000.

Vallery paced the defense with a season-best 10 tackles, and he was credited with four quarterback hurries to go along with his two sacks and three total tackles for loss. Senior cornerback Keenan Freeman (Fairborn, Ohio/Greenon) added nine tackles and key first-half interceptions, and senior linebacker Brad McKinley (Hilliard, Ohio/Davidson) was outstanding as usual with nine tackles. That ran his season total to a team-leading 95 and his career total to 414, third-most in school history.

The conference title was an NCAC-best 10th all-time for the Tigers. Wittenberg will make its 14th appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament, starting Saturday, Nov. 20, against an opponent to be determined. The Tigers will learn their postseason fate during the NCAA selection show on Sunday afternoon.

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 50, Massachusetts Maritime 7
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Muhlenberg 56, at Juniata 40
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at Dean 25, Becker 10
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Salisbury 27, at TCNJ 7
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MIT 38, at Catholic 21
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Merchant Marine 56, at Maine Maritime 31
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at Hobart 34, Endicott 17
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at Morrisville State 44, Nichols 22
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at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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at Albright 9, Widener 7
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Christopher Newport 16, at Montclair State 8
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at Westminster (Pa.) 41, Bethany 14
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Middlebury 41, at Bowdoin 14
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Williams 24, at Colby 7
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Amherst 36, at Hamilton 6
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Ursinus 35, at Moravian 17
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Trinity (Conn.) 51, at Bates 0
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at LaGrange 38, Brevard 28
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Geneva 33, at Thiel 24
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at Plymouth State 37, Mass-Dartmouth 7
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Kean 28, at Southern Virginia 14
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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Union 17, at Curry 14
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at Carnegie Mellon 37, Thomas More 17
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Lycoming 44, at King's 41
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at Western New England 21, Husson 14
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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at DePauw 51, Wooster 24
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at Ohio Wesleyan 37, Allegheny 21
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at Misericordia 43, Wilkes 14
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at N.C. Wesleyan 35, Maryville (Tenn.) 25
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Huntingdon 31, at Ferrum 28
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at McDaniel 27, Gettysburg 20
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at Buffalo State 33, RPI 21
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Franklin and Marshall 27, at Susquehanna 24
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at Denison 45, Oberlin 17
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 10, Westminster (Mo.) 7
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at Eureka 44, Crown 20
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at Lebanon Valley 24, FDU-Florham 14
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Ohio Northern 35, Otterbein 7
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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at Rose-Hulman 37, Defiance 14
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at Marietta 49, Muskingum 25
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Franklin 59, at Bluffton 30
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at Hanover 64, Anderson 21
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Mount St. Joseph 31, at Manchester 14
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Worcester State 34, at Westfield State 10
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Coast Guard 13, at Norwich 9
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at Fitchburg State 31, Bridgewater State 29
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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at Millsaps 17, Sewanee 13
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at Rhodes 35, Birmingham-Southern 9
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at Hendrix 36, Austin 24
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at Martin Luther 34, Greenville 20
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at Trinity (Texas) 41, Chapman 35
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at Loras 73, Buena Vista 34
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at Wartburg 30, Washington U. 20
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at Gustavus Adolphus 51, Hamline 7
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Augsburg 48, at Carleton 28
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at Bethel 64, St. Olaf 7
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at Luther 21, Dubuque 17
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at Central 52, Nebraska Wesleyan 27
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Simpson 38, at Coe 33
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Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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St. Norbert 66, at Grinnell 13
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at Knox 13, Ripon 6
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at MacMurray 32, Iowa Wesleyan 14
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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Southwestern 37, at Louisiana College 34
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Monmouth 26, at Macalester 0
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at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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at Springfield 42, WPI 10
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at Cornell 55, Beloit 36
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at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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at Hartwick 24, St. John Fisher 21
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at UW-La Crosse 41, Carroll 6
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at St. Scholastica 37, Minnesota-Morris 3
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at George Fox 44, UW-Eau Claire 0
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at Western Connecticut 37, Salve Regina 23
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at UW-Stevens Point 41, Adrian 28
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at Wesleyan 24, Tufts 17
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at Averett 35, Methodist 6
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at Berry 28, Centre 14
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at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Grove City 24, St. Vincent 14
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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Carthage 55, at Augustana 14
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Chicago 28, at Illinois College 7
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at Sul Ross State 35, McMurry 7
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at Wilmington 37, Capital 30
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Lake Forest 42, at Lawrence 26
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at East Texas Baptist 79, Belhaven 40
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Arizona Christian 56, at Whittier 38
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Sep. 28: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Shenandoah at Randolph-Macon
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Sep. 29: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Delaware Valley at FDU-Florham
Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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Sep. 29: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Delaware Valley at FDU-Florham