/seasons/2012/contrib/20120901i0a11k

Wittenberg Forces Six Turnovers In 44-17 Ambush Of Capital

More news about: Wittenberg

For the second straight year, the Wittenberg Tigers ambushed the Capital Crusaders in the season opener. A year after becoming the first non-Division I program to reach 700 all-time victories with a 45-28 win in Springfield, the Tigers turned the trick again with a 44-17 win on Capital's home field.

Wittenberg jumped out to a 30-3 lead by halftime and never looked back in the 2012 edition of the rivalry. The Tigers, who forced six Capital turnovers while racking up 475 yards of total offense, have now won 30 of 37 all-time meetings between the two Central Ohio Lutheran universities.

In his first collegiate start, junior quarterback Reed Florence (Springfield, Ohio/Southeastern) threw for 320 yards, easily a career high. He tossed a pair of touchdown passes and scored two more touchdowns on the ground, although he was intercepted three times by the Crusaders.

A fast start made all the difference, as Florence completed all four of his passes on Wittenberg's opening possession before finishing the drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge.

"We had our first 10 plays set out for us, and we went over them about 30 times during the week," Florence said. "We executed just perfectly on each play."

The momentum carried throughout the first half, even after the Crusaders responded to the Tigers' first score with a field goal. Florence capped an 11-play, 68-yard drive near the end of the first quarter with a two-yard scoring run, and then senior kicker Sean Williams (Plainfield, Ind./Plainfield) added a 20-yard field goal. The barrage continued with a 41-yard scoring strike from Florence to junior wide receiver Jonathan Stoner (Bowling Green, Ohio/Bowling Green) and the first career touchdown from senior wide receiver Ethan Sharpin (Springfield, Ohio/Kenton Ridge), who picked up a blocked punt by junior cornerback Victor Banjo (Sugarland, Texas/Stephen F. Austin) and returned it 11 yards for the score.

Wittenberg stretched the lead to 37-3 with a five-yard connection between Florence and junior tight end Stephen Zumdick (Erlanger, Ky./Dixie Heights) in the third quarter. After Capital scored the next 14 points, the Tigers put the finishing touches on things with a 20-yard touchdown run by freshman tailback Jimmy Dehnke (Canton, Ohio/Massillon Jackson).

Dehnke finished with 67 yards on 17 carries, while junior JaVanh Sanders (Las Vegas, Nev./Centennial) chipped in with 16 rushes for 45 yards. Through the air, junior Brendon Cunningham (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont) was Florence's favorite target with 102 yards on five receptions. Junior Desi Kirkman (Lima, Ohio/Catholic Central) added three catches for 73 yards.

Defensively, Wittenberg was paced by junior linebacker Evan Killilea (Columbus, Ohio/DeSales) with nine tackles, including two for loss and a sack, which forced a fourth-quarter fumble by the Crusaders. Sophomore linebacker Nick Gibson (Marysville, Ohio/Fairbanks) added seven tackles and a pass broken up. Fumbles were recovered by senior defensive end Jon Daniels (Springfield, Ohio/South) and junior linebacker Erick Collins (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield), while Banjo, senior cornerback Karlos Marshall (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield) and senior cornerback Jamaal Everett (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont) all intercepted passes in the game.

The Crusaders were limited to 267 yards of total offense, including just 77 through the air for a team that finished in the top 30 nationally in passing in 2011.

"To come out of the gates and play the way we did, I couldn't be more pleased," said Head Coach Joe Fincham. "Considering how many first-time starters we have, especially the guys who are handling the football, we played very well."

The Tigers have a week off before opening North Coast Athletic Conference action with home date against DePauw. First kick is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, at Edwards-Maurer Field.

Oct. 12: All times Eastern
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Mary Hardin-Baylor 55, at Howard Payne 0
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at Guilford 28, Ferrum 27
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Westfield State 41, at Fitchburg State 27
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Wilkes 31, at FDU-Florham 16
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at Delaware Valley 23, Lycoming 16
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Plymouth State 29, at Framingham State 28
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at Hamilton 62, Bowdoin 27
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at Hobart 52, Rochester 7
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Nichols 23, at Becker 15
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Muhlenberg 34, at Thomas More 31
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at Hope 70, Finlandia 6
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King's 51, at Alvernia 7
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at Morrisville State 41, Utica 24
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at Centre 33, Trinity (Texas) 28
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at Cortland 41, Buffalo State 7
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Husson 56, at Alfred State 14
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Wittenberg 41, at Allegheny 14
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Western Connecticut 23, at Massachusetts Maritime 13
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at Amherst 35, Colby 9
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Stevenson 20, at Widener 6
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Wesleyan 44, at Bates 13
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at Case Western Reserve 37, St. Vincent 7
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Maryville (Tenn.) 34, at Methodist 9
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Wabash 7, at Ohio Wesleyan 0
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Misericordia 25, at Lebanon Valley 21
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Denison 20, at DePauw 12
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at Western New England 56, Curry 21
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Randolph-Macon 45, at Shenandoah 14
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Kalamazoo 20, at Albion 19
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Wooster 27, at Oberlin 21
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at Hiram 28, Kenyon 24
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Wesley 54, at Kean 6
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Trine 50, at Olivet 49
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Southern Virginia 23, at Apprentice 21
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Ithaca 24, at Union 0
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Mount Union 77, at Capital 3
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Franklin 42, at Mount St. Joseph 34
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Manchester 21, at Bluffton 17
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John Carroll 49, at Ohio Northern 17
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at Hanover 48, Defiance 7
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at Baldwin Wallace 44, Muskingum 7
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at Grove City 28, Waynesburg 3
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Merchant Marine 17, at Springfield 14
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Middlebury 21, at Williams 10
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at Huntingdon 52, Brevard 17
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Hampden-Sydney 42, at Bridgewater 21
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at SUNY-Maritime 35, Dean 7
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Endicott 66, at University of New England 38
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at Washington and Jefferson 50, Geneva 43
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Berry 35, at Hendrix 14
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at Texas Lutheran 28, East Texas Baptist 21
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Augustana 41, at North Park 7
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Louisiana College 35, at McMurry 23
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at Washington U. 17, Wheaton (Ill.) 10
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Wartburg 31, at Coe 19
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Eureka 44, at Concordia-Chicago 14
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Carleton 36, at Augsburg 34
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Rockford 37, at Lakeland 20
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Gustavus Adolphus 42, at Hamline 14
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at St. John's 40, St. Thomas 20
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Concordia (Wis.) 23, at Aurora 20
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at Benedictine 40, Wisconsin Lutheran 31
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St. Norbert 21, at Chicago 20
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Bethel 35, at St. Olaf 7
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Millikin 32, at Carthage 29
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Knox 28, at Grinnell 7
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at Ripon 49, Beloit 14
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Monmouth 45, at Illinois College 13
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at Illinois Wesleyan 44, Elmhurst 28
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UW-Whitewater 45, at UW-Eau Claire 0
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at Hardin-Simmons 48, Sul Ross State 27
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Austin 34, at Millsaps 23
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at Lake Forest 42, Cornell 0
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at UW-Oshkosh 31, UW-Platteville 10
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at Bridgewater State 44, Mass-Dartmouth 28
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at Whitworth 55, Pacific Lutheran 13
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Pacific 23, at Puget Sound 22
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George Fox 28, at Willamette 6
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at Linfield 43, Lewis and Clark 26
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at Southwestern 21, Belhaven 10
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Rowan 17, at TCNJ 14
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Adrian 28, at Alma 23
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Averett 24, at N.C. Wesleyan 14
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Heidelberg 21, at Otterbein 7
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Anderson 63, at Earlham 0
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Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 20, at Redlands 10
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LaGrange 43, at Greensboro 16
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Mary Hardin-Baylor 55, at Howard Payne 0
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at Delaware Valley 23, Lycoming 16
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Muhlenberg 34, at Thomas More 31
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Brockport 52, at Alfred 0
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at Frostburg State 56, William Paterson 0
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Wesley 54, at Kean 6
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Wittenberg 41, at Allegheny 14
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Trine 50, at Olivet 49
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at Case Western Reserve 37, St. Vincent 7
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Mount Union 77, at Capital 3
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John Carroll 49, at Ohio Northern 17
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Berry 35, at Hendrix 14
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at Washington and Jefferson 50, Geneva 43
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at St. John's 40, St. Thomas 20
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at Washington U. 17, Wheaton (Ill.) 10
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at Illinois Wesleyan 44, Elmhurst 28
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UW-Whitewater 45, at UW-Eau Claire 0
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at Hardin-Simmons 48, Sul Ross State 27
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at UW-Oshkosh 31, UW-Platteville 10
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at Whitworth 55, Pacific Lutheran 13
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at Linfield 43, Lewis and Clark 26
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at North Central (Ill.) 59, Carroll 0
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