SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - Never fear, Tiger fans. Ye Olde Skull, the slightly macabre trophy awarded to the winner of the Ohio Wesleyan/Wittenberg football game, will spend another year with the Tigers after a dominating 55-17 victory.
Wittenberg rolled up 634 yards of total offense while holding the top passing attack in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) to 17 points - none after halftime - on a day when nearly 50 former team captains were honored at halftime. In the process, the Tigers kept pace with Wabash atop the NCAC at 7-0, setting a first-place showdown on the Little Giants home field on Saturday, Nov. 9.
The Tigers head into the game at Wabash with plenty of momentum after topping the 50-point plateau for the third time in the 2013 season. And Wittenberg will hit the road with a signal caller who continues to set new standards for Tiger quarterbacks.
Senior Reed Florence (South Charleston, Ohio/Southeastern) put together one of his finest performances in the Red & White. He completed 23 of 29 passes for 357 yards and three touchdowns, the last of which gave him 62 career passing scores, one more than National College Football Hall of Fame inductee Charlie Green accumulated between 1962 and 1964.
Florence added 62 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, bringing his record-setting career total to 83 scores (rushing and passing combined). He was one of three ball-carriers to enjoy great success against the Battling Bishops as Wittenberg piled up 287 yards rushing on 43 carries.
Sophomore running back Sean Gary (Indianapolis, Ind./Decatur Central) led the rushing attack with 22 carries for 131 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore tailback Jimmy Dehnke (Canton, Ohio/Massillon Jackson) added eight carries for 88 yards and two scores, including a hard-earned 45-yard score on the Tigers' first play from scrimmage in the second half.
Through the air, Florence completed passes to seven different receivers in the game, with his favorite target being senior wideout Brendon Cunningham (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont). Cunningham hauled in six passes for 158 yards and the Tigers' first touchdown of the day, a tremendous 36-yard catch-and-run in which he dragged multiple OWU defenders the last five yards to paydirt.
While Wittenberg's offense grabbed the headlines, it was an outstanding defensive performance that set the stage for the lopsided victory, starting with a first-quarter stand after a bad punt. OWU had first-and-goal from 10-yard-line but had to settle for a field goal.
Senior linebacker Evan Killilea (Columbus, Ohio/DeSales) led the Tiger defense with 12 tackles, including 2.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks. Senior linebacker Spencer Leno (Massillon, Ohio/Washington) added 12 tackles.