Findlay, Ohio – It's been 26 years since Tiffin has defeated Findlay on the gridiron, but on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, that's exactly what happened. Ranked no. 21 in the country and eighth in Super Region One, Tiffin came to Findlay and ended the Oilers' 19 game winning streak against the Dragons with a 52-45 victory in Donnell Stadium. With the loss, the Oilers, who could have claimed a share of the conference title with a win, end their season with a 7-4 record and a third-place finish in the conference. The Dragons claimed the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) crown outright and end their regular season at 9-1 and 7-0 in the league and will continue their season with a spot in the NCAA DII Playoffs. Findlay is now 26-2 all-time against the Dragons.
Both teams traded blows early in the contest, but it was the Oilers who held a 20-14 lead with ten minutes to play in the half. Findlay's defense forced a Tiffin punt, which was downed at the 15-yard line giving the Orange and Black a six-point lead with just over five minutes to play in the first half.
Then disaster struck.
The Oilers used less than a minute of clock before punting the ball away to the Dragons. Two plays later, Tiffin found pay dirt and took a 21-20 lead.
On the kickoff, Tiffin placed the ball into no-man's land at the Oilers' 20 yard-line. The ball bounced to the turf and the Dragons recovered. Again, it took just four plays and Tiffin extended their lead at 28-20.
It worked once, so Tiffin tried the same kick a second time. Just as it did less than two minutes earlier, it worked again. The Dragons recovered the ball on the Findlay 22 yard-line. Five plays later, Tiffin kicked a field goal to increase their lead to 31-20, capping a 17-point swing in less than four minutes.
The Dragons scored on their first possession of the second half when Devin Butler broke a tackle at the behind the line of scrimmage and scrambled 44 yards to the end zone.
Tiffin took a 52-30 lead into the fourth quarter and looked to have the game wrapped up, but the Oilers didn't quit.
On the first possession of the final frame, Findlay drove the ball 65 yards on five plays, capped by a 29-yard touchdown pass to Marlin Richardson. The two-point conversion made the score 52-38.
Findlay's defense stepped up and forced a punt and on the next possession, the Oilers drove methodically down the field, scoring a touchdown to end a 16-play, 83-yard drive. That made the score 52-45 with still five minutes on the clock.
As tough as it was to stop the Dragons high-powered offense, the Oilers defense got it done again, forcing a three-and-out to give the home team the ball back with more than three minutes on the clock, trailing by just seven.
In just two plays, Findlay moved the ball 29 yards and was in Tiffin territory at the 33-yard line. However, a loss of four on first down put the Oilers behind the sticks and on the eventual fourth-and-twelve play, Tiffin's Jacob Mertus tipped the pass to Findlay's Tanner Schroeder and the ball fell to the turf, essentially ending the comeback and the game.
The two teams combined for 1,057 yards of offense, 529 of which belonged to Findlay.
Junior Matt Winzeler completed 26-of-45 passing for a career-high 427 yards and four touchdowns. He spread the ball to six different receivers, four of which had at least five catches.
Junior Ruben Flowers had a monster game, making five catches for a career-high 163 yards with a long reception of 72 yards. Fellow junior Marlin Richardson had a career game, as well, making six catches for an even 100 yards. It is the first time since Dylan Blunk and Jason Moore combined for almost 250 yards in 2016 that Findlay has had two, 100-yard receivers in the same game. Richardson had two touchdowns in the game.
The Oilers almost had three 100-yard receivers as senior Nate Slagel had six catches for 96 yards and a touchdown. He also picked up 57 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown on the ground.
Findlay's other receiving touchdown was from Winzeler to senior Clay Colvin, who normally plays on the offensive line, but lined up at tight end for most of the day on Saturday.
The Oilers end their season at 7-4, the first time in the NCAA DII era of the program that the team has strung together three consecutive seasons of seven or more wins.