It took twenty years, but the University of Findlay football team is again a winner of eight straight games. On Saturday, Nov. 4, the Oilers, ranked #22 in the country, smashed the reigning Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) champion Alderson Broaddus Battlers by a score of 70-28 to improve to 9-1 on the season with a perfect 6-0 mark in league play. With the loss, the Battlers, who played a nationally ranked opponent for the first time in school history, fall to 2-8 overall with a 1-5 record in the G-MAC. It is the first time since 2002 that the Oilers have won back-to-back games as an NCAA top-25 team.
Saturday's game, which began with a celebration of the team's ten seniors who played their final regular season home game, saw the two teams combine for 98 points, 35 of which came in the first quarter alone. The scoring started early when junior Michael Campbell capped a five-play, 58-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown scramble to put the Oilers up 7-0.
One minute later, freshman Tyler Lee picked off the Battlers' second pass attempt of the game and ran 47 yards for the score. On the ensuing kickoff, Alderson Broaddus' Maurice Thomas recorded a 100-yard kickoff return to make the score 14-7 just three minutes into the contest.
Campbell would rush for another touchdown and junior Rhys Gervais would throw for three before the half ended, giving the Oilers a 42-7 lead at the midway point of the game.
Coming out of the locker room, junior Adam Bertke found junior Jason Moore on a slant in the middle of the field. Moore broke a pair of tackles and found the end zone for a 56-yard touchdown. It was the 35th touchdown catch of Moore's career making Moore the all-time leader at Findlay in that category.
After a score from Alderson Broaddus to start the fourth quarter, sophomore Nate Slagel produced the longest running play of the season for Findlay, a 75-yard rumble for a touchdown that put Findlay ahead 63-14.
Two more touchdowns from the Battlers would lead to Findlay's final touchdown of the day. After a score by ABU with just 1:44 left on the clock, the Battlers' kicked off in the direction of junior Francis Cutchember who tiptoed the sideline and took off for the end zone, a 95-yard kickoff return for a score.
With all the big plays in this contest, one that will stick in the minds of the players were a pair of plays that won't jump off the stat sheet. Senior tailback Chauncey Bridges, who has produced 2,511 yards and 16 touchdowns in his career and was injured early in the season, took a knee in the victory formation to seal the victory.
With the Great Midwest record 70-point performance, the Oilers put the most points on the scoreboard since the scored 70 in a win over St. Xavier in 1997. The 2017 edition of Findlay football has now scored 499 points this season, second-most all-time behind the 567 points scored in 1997.
Findlay put up 581 yards of total offense, 344 passing and 237 rushing, while converting seven-of-nine on third down. The team improved on their +15 turnover margin, intercepting three passes and picking up one fumble recovery.
Junior Rhys Gervais threw the ball 20 times and completed 13 passes for 230 yards and three scores, all in the first half. He gave way to junior Adam Bertke who completed five-of-six from the pocket for 114 yards and one touchdown. Bertke also had a rushing score to his credit.
Nate Slagel would finish as the team's leading rusher with 134 yards on ten carries and one touchdown. The starter, junior Michael Campbell, ended the contest with 113 yards on 17 touches and two scores.
Jason Moore, who is now just 37 yards shy of becoming the school's all-time leader in receiving yards, caught four passes for 89 yards and a score while junior Jacob Hill also had four catches for 61 yards and a score.
Senior Johnny Hopkins and sophomore Isaac Miles tied for the team lead with five tackles each. They both had a tackle-for-loss with Miles' being a sack. Senior Aaron Ivory ended with four tackles and his league-leading fourth interception of the season. It was the first pick this year for Ivory that he didn't return for a touchdown.
Freshman Tyler Lee was the leader of the team's self-titled 'Air-Marshals', coming up with two interceptions, one of which he returned for a score, and one pass breakup.
Ohio Dominican also tallied another win this week, setting up a de facto Great Midwest Athletic Conference Championship next week in Columbus. The Oilers and Panthers, both 6-0 in conference play, will meet on Saturday, Nov. 11 for the right to claim the first G-MAC Championship since the conference expanded to eight teams this season. That game will kick off at noon and can be seen on the Great Midwest Network.