A long road trip was made that much longer by a disappointing 38-20 loss at the hands of Huntingdon College for the 11th-ranked Wittenberg Tigers.
The Hawks put together a thorough win, yielding a measly six net rushing yards to the Tigers while piling up a whopping 635 yards of total offense in improving to 5-1 overall on the 2011 season. The Tigers saw their 25-game regular season winning streak snapped as they dropped to 5-1 overall. Wittenberg's last regular season loss came in the 2008 finale at Wooster.
Huntingdon jumped on top with 14 unanswered points in the first quarter, but the Tigers rallied in the second quarter, first with a 27-yard touchdown pass from senior Ben Zoeller (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier) to sophomore Brendon Cunningham (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont) and then on an NCAA record-tying 100-yard interception return by senior safety Seth Parker (DeGraff, Ohio/Riverside).
Huntingdon responded to the second score, which drew the Tigers to within one point at 14-13, with the game's key play. On the next snap, tailback Trevor Manual took a short pass and ran 68 yards for a stunning answer. Manuel added the third of his four touchdowns with just 54 seconds left before the intermission to put the Hawks ahead 28-13.
Huntingdon put the game out of reach with a third quarter touchdown and a fourth quarter field goal before the Tigers finally responded with a 13-yard scoring strike from sophomore Reed Florence (South Charleston, Ohio/Southeastern) to senior Michael Cooper (Springfield, Ohio/South) with 2:21 left in the game.
Manuel gashed the Tigers for 152 yards rushing and 78 yards receiving, outgaining Wittenberg by himself in the game. Zoeller finished 15-of-33 for 186 yards, but he was intercepted once and sacked three times. Florence came on in relief to contribute 31 yards through the air and another 34 on the ground.
Defensively, the Tigers were led by a career-best 19 tackles from senior linebacker Zach Hurtt (Fort Thomas, Ky./Highlands), including a whopping 15 solo stops. Junior end Jon Daniels (Springfield, Ohio/South) added 13 tackles, also a career-best.
The Tigers return to North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) action at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at winless Kenyon.