Selected as the premier matchup in the G-MAC this season, when Ohio Dominican invades Findlay on Saturday, Sep. 22 at 7:05 pm, it will be a rematch of last season's championship contest. Despite falling out of the top-25 poll, both ODU and UF are still receiving votes and have both appeared in the top-20 this season. Saturday night's matchup will be broadcast nationally as a part of the NCAA Division II Showcase and can be seen on NCAA Division II Facebook and Twitter pages, the Great Midwest Digital Network, and Cox Sports Television (CST), which broadcasts to 5.5 million viewers, primarily in the Gulf South region of the country.
The Oilers are 1-5 in the series which began in 2010 when ODU first joined the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. That contest was played in Columbus and ended in a 20-10 win for the Panthers.
Findlay's lone win in the series came in 2011 when the Oilers won 27-24 at home. Since that contest, the Panthers have won four straight against Findlay, including a 20-point win over the Oilers in a nationally broadcast contest in 2013 (CBS Sports Network).
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Video streaming for the contest will be produced by Niles Media Group and will stream live on the Great Midwest Digital Network, Cox Sports Television, and the NCAA Division II Facebook and Twitter pages.
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Head Coach Rob Keys
Head coach Rob Keys is in his eighth season at the helm of the Oilers football program in 2018. He has recorded a 50-31 record with the program as a head coach, which includes a 37-27 mark in conference games. He has coached Findlay to winning records in six of his seven seasons including last season when he lead the Oilers to their first ever NCAA Division II Playoffs.
For Findlay's 2018 coaching staff, please click on the following link:
Findlay Oilers (2-1, 1-0 G-MAC)
Three games into the season, the Oilers are looking to show that the 2017 season was not an anomaly. Despite a road loss to Ferris St., now ranked no. 6 in the country, Findlay has been as good as advertised on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, but there is no doubt the Oilers will be tested against Ohio Dominican. In 2017, this was the game that decided the league's champion, but with the addition of Tiffin and a Week 3 win for Hillsdale over ODU, Findlay knows the implications of their matchup tonight loom large.
A year after leading the country in first downs, Findlay is again the best in the country as they have moved the chains 92 times this season. In the G-MAC, the Oilers are tops in both total offense (531 yds/game) and total defense (311.3 yds/game) and are scoring a league-best 46.7 points per game.
Leading that offensive charge has been a steady ground game that averages 272.3 rushing yards per game, best in the conference and tenth in the country. Findlay sports four running backs that average more than 45 yards per game, led by senior first team all-G-MAC tailback, Michael Campbell who is averaging 69.7 yds/game. Junior Boston College transfer, RIchard Wilson is the only other back running for more than 60 yds/game (60.3) while five backs (Campbell, Wilson, Brian Benson, Chauncey Bridges, Demondre Blanks) had rushed for touchdowns this year.
Senior quarterback Rhys Gervais has completed 50-of-75 passes this year for 646 yards and three scores. Since his arrival on campus in 2015, Gervais has won 22 of the 36 games in which he's started.
Rhode Island transfer Myles Ross has made a big impact defensively, leading Findlay with 20 tackles this season. Senior Justice Jenkins has 16 tackles while junior Justin Ellis has lived in the backfield, picking up 4.5 TFL and two sacks.
Ohio Dominican Panthers (2-1, 0-1 G-MAC)
A program that has only played just 14 seasons of football, the ODU Panthers have had winning seasons in 11 of those years and have seen lots of success in a short amount of time. In 2017, the Panthers opened up the year with three losses, but rattled off seven straight wins, including the final week of the season against no. 21 Findlay, and secured their first Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) championship.
In 2018, the Panthers opened up the season ranked no. 23 in the country and jumped all the way to no. 12 after wins over Cal (PA) and no. 18 Ashland. A stunning loss in Week 3 dropped the Panthers out of the top-25, but Saturday's contest still looms large in the G-MAC title race.
Charleston Southern transfer Shane Bucenell quarterbacks ODU and has completed 39 passes for 491 yards and is second in the G-MAC with six touchdown passes. Despite throwing two interceptions in the first quarter against Hillsdale, Bucenell has proven that he can be a difficult quarterback to defend. His freshman year at Charleston Southern, Bucenell was twice named Big South Freshman of the Week and led the conference in touchdown passes (15) and total offensive yards per play (7.1).
One of the best receivers in the conference, 2017 first team all-region senior Cory Contini already has 16 receptions, four of which have ended in touchdowns, tied for the most in the conference. He has 223 receiving yards and is averaging 13.9 yards per catch.
The Panthers defense has been the struggle thus far this season as they are allowing 281.7 yards of total offense per game, third-worst in the league.