SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - Wittenberg University's offense had
struggled for three straight weeks. On an idyllic fall afternoon in
front of their home fans, the slumbering Tigers came alive in a
41-17 victory over the University of Chicago.
It was a first-ever meeting between Wittenberg and Chicago, and it produced a signficant amount of offense for both teams. The Tigers finished with a whopping 30 first downs - their highest total in nearly two years - and the Maroons weren't far behind with 24. Wittenberg compiled a season-best 581 yards of total offense, thanks to tremendous balance (234 yards rushing and 347 yards passing).
In the end, the numbers that mattered were displayed on the Edwards-Maurer Field scoreboard. With the win, the Tigers improved to 5-1 overall, heading into a key road game against Allegheny on Saturday, Oct. 20. Chicago had its record leveled at 3-3.
The fireworks started early for Wittenberg as they drove right down the field and scored on their first two possessions. Both drives ended in spectacular fashion, starting with a touchdown reception in the back of the end zone by freshman tailback Jimmy Dehnke (Canton, Ohio/Massillon Jackson) that was initially juggled by junior wide receiver Brendon Cunningham (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont).
The second score covered 19 yards in spectacular fashion as
junior wide receiver Desi Kirkman (Lima, Ohio/Central Catholic)
took a short pass across the middle, cut up the sideline and then
flipped over a Chicago defender as he crossed the goal line.
Junior quarterback Reed Florence (South Charleston, Ohio/Southeastern) went on to throw four touchdown passes, adding a perfectly thrown 30-yard strike to junior wideout Jonathan Stoner (Bowling Green, Ohio/Bowling Green) in the second quarter and a nine-yard toss to Cunningham in the fourth quarter.
In between, Dehnke added touchdown runs of two yards in the second quarter and 11 yards early in the fourth period. He finished with 128 yards on 21 carries, while Florence contributed 70 yards on 10 totes and junior JaVanh Sanders (Las Vegas, Nev./) contributed 36 yards on seven carries.
Through the air, Florence covered 347 yards on 22-of-31 passing. Cunningham was his favorite target with seven catches for 102 yards, while Kirkman added four receptions for 62 yards.
Defensively, Wittenberg was paced by junior linebacker Spencer Leno (Massillon, Ohio/Massillon) with 13 tackles, while senior cornerback Jamaal Everett (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont) and junior safety Mark Swope (Fairborn, Ohio/Fairborn) added 10 stops apiece. Everett also was credited with two pass break-ups.