Tiffin, Ohio – Twenty five years have come and gone since Tiffin last beat Findlay on the gridiron. That trend continued Saturday as Findlay traveled 25 miles east and defeated the no. 24 Dragons by a score of 38-16.
With three losses on the season, the Oilers' postseason hopes were gone, but with five straight wins to end the season Findlay finishes 2018 with an 8-3 record and a 6-2 mark in Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) play. Tiffin, which spent the previous five weeks ranked in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Top 25 and began the year with nine straight wins, came into the game needing a win to keep their NCAA DII Playoff hopes alive. The Oilers squashed those dreams with the 22-point win and end the Dragons season at 9-2 and 6-2 in the league. Saturday's matchup was broadcast nationally as a part of the NCAA Division II Showcase and gives Findlay their first win over a top-25 team since the Oilers took down no. 2 Shepherd last season in the first round of the playoffs.
Through the first quarter, the Dragons had all the momentum and looked as though they would roll past the Oilers and earn bragging rights for the first time in a quarter-century. Tiffin opened up the contest with a pair of scores to take a 13-0 lead and forced punts on the only Findlay possessions of the period.
Findlay finally cracked the scoreboard on their first possession of the second quarter on an 11-play, 74-yard drive. The Oilers, the G-MAC's top rushing offense, kept the ball on the ground for eight of the drive's 11 plays, but scored on an 11-yard connection from Adam Bertke to tight end Luke Stuffel.
A three-and-out on the next possession for Tiffin gave Findlay the ball back with 10:35 to play in the half. Unlike the previous drive, Findlay threw the ball on three of their four plays which was capped with a nine-yard catch by Jason Moore who this past week accepted an invitation to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Pasadena, California on January 19.
Following a field goal by the Dragons, another touchdown pass to Moore would put Findlay ahead 21-16 heading into the half.
In the second half, the Oilers defense played arguably their best football of the season as they faced six Tiffin drives and forced four punts and had two interceptions to keep the Dragons off the scoreboard for the entirety of the half.
Meanwhile, Findlay's offense was fueled in the second half by the play of sophomore Demondre Blanks, who entered the contest with 233 yards on the year. Blanks did not see the field until the second half and rushed the ball nine times for 184 yards and a score in just 30 minutes of action.
Findlay put the nail in the coffin on their final drive when Bertke found junior Andrew Ogletree for a score with just five-and-a-half minutes on the clock.
Bertke finished the game 17-for-20 for 162 yards and a career-high four touchdown passes. He spread the ball to six different receivers, the leader of which was senior Jason Moore. Moore, Findlay's all-time receptions, yards, and touchdowns leader, caught the ball nine times for 92 yards and two scores. Ogletree ended with three catches for 25 yards and a score while junior Luke Stuffel had two catches for 25 yards and a score.
Senior Tyler Long led Findlay in tackling, finishing with nine solo stops in the contest. Seniors Michael Campbell and Cyle Skidmore each had six tackles. Skidmore led Findlay with 2.5 tackles-for-loss.
Senior Chiebuke Chukwuneke had five tackles and an interception while sophomore Kyle Gibson also had five tackles which included two tackles-for-loss and a sack. Freshman Christian Weems also had a standout game, making four tackles including 1.5 tackles-for-loss and a half sack. Weems also had an interception in the win.
The win gives the Oilers bragging rights for at least one more year and gives the Orange and Black momentum as they head into their recruiting season.