Tiffin, OH – The University of Findlay football team made it 17-straight victories over the Tiffin University Dragons with a 27-23 victory on Saturday, Oct. 22. With the road victory, the Oilers are now 4-4 on the season with all of those games being within Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC).
In the previous two meetings between these schools, the Oilers averaged 53.5 points per game, but it was the defense that would prove its worth in this matchup. Findlay allowed just nine first half points en route to their fourth victory of the year. The Oilers' defense forced six punts including four three-and-outs. Findlay was also able to end Tiffin drives via the turnover on two occasions.
The Oilers started the scoring quickly when, on the game's first possession, junior Rhys Gervais found freshman Luke Stuffel in the end zone for a three yard touchdown pass that gave the Oilers an early 7-0 lead. Findlay then struggled offensively as they were forced to punt on their remaining four possessions of the opening half.
After the Dragons scored 16 straight points to take a 16-7 lead, the Oilers came back with 13 unanswered points of their own. The points came on a two yard touchdown from Gervais to junior Jason Moore on Findlay's first possession after freshman Isaac Miles forced and recovered a fumble inside Tiffin's 20 yard line.
Tiffin's next offensive try ended on the first play when sophomore Chiebuka Chukwuneke made his first interception of the season and returned the ball 23 yards to the Tiffin 42 yard line. A couple of penalties halted a touchdown opportunity but senior Tyler Bugeja did knock in a 36-yard field goal to give the Oilers their first lead since the first quarter. Another Bugeja field goal to open the fourth quarter would give the Oilers a 20-16 lead.
Tiffin answered with a touchdown and gave Findlay the ball with 4:16 left to play. Gervais answered the call and connected on pass plays of 35, 22, and nine yards to get the Oilers inside the red zone. After a couple of rushes from junior Chauncey Bridges, Gervais found senior Dylan Blunk for five yards and a score to put Findlay back on top, 27-23 with 50 seconds left.
The defense bent but did not break as Tiffin reached the Findlay 20 yard line but senior Randy Anderson intercepted Tiffin quarterback Antonio Pipkin as the clock ran to zero to secure the win.
Gervais ended the game 17-for-37 for 176 yards and three touchdowns. His 37 attempts put him in sole possession of second place at Findlay for pass attempts in a career, passing Clay Belton who attempted 626 passes from 2011-12.
Juniors Chauncey Bridges and Jason Moore each played big roles in the game again. Bridges rushed for 174 yards on 20 carries, one of which went for 49 yards. It is the second week in a row the Bridges rushed for more than 170 yards. Moore had his fifth 100+ receiving game in a row with 108 yards on six catches.
Senior Brad Fenton led the stingy Oilers defense with his career-high 11 tackles that included four tackles for loss and two sacks.
The Oilers are on the road next week when they head to Grand Valley State for a 7:00pm showdown with the #2 team in the country.