TIFFIN, Ohio – Heidelberg University played shut down defense and cruised to a 21-0 win over the Cardinals in a battle of unbeaten Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) teams Saturday afternoon.
The loss drops Otterbein University to 5-1 overall, 4-1 in the OAC. With the win, the Student Princes retain the Rhine River Cup for the second-straight year and improve to 5-0 in the OAC, 6-0 overall. For the first time since 1997, the Rhine River Cup will spend consecutive years in Tiffin.
Offensively the Cardinals were kept in check by the Berg. Senior quarterback Aaron Kingcade finished the afternoon with 71 yards passing and two interceptions on 7-of-16 attempts in the first half. He was relieved in the second half by reigning OAC Offensive Player of the Week junior Ben Sizemore who completed 9-of-19 attempts for 135 yards.
The Cardinals had opportunities to put points on the board but came up short on each of their red zone chances. Otterbein was shutout for only the second time since 2007 (Mount Union 42-0 10/29/11).
The Otterbein running game never got on track as the Student Princes limited the Cards to just 35 yards on 32 carries.
Defensively, Otterbein did an admirable job of keeping one of the top offenses in all of NCAA Division III in check. Heidelberg entered the game averaging 559.6 yards of offense and 59 points per game. The Cardinals held the Berg to just 235 yards but were bitten by big plays. Two of the Student Prince touchdowns were from more than 20 yards out.
Heidelberg's up-tempo offense struck early with a seven-play 61-yard drive that took just over two minutes. The OAC's leading rusher, Cartel Brooks, capped off the opening drive with a 3-yard run to put the Berg up 7-0 with 12:38 left in the first quarter and the Cardinals never answered back.
Both teams entered the contest in a tie for the No. 25 ranking on D3football.com. While Otterbein was receiving votes in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) poll, Heidelberg came into the game ranked No. 20.
The Cardinals return home to Westerville next Saturday, Oct. 20 when they host undefeated and top ranked University of Mount Union. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.