The University of Findlay football team hosted Hillsdale for Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 6 and took a tough 20-17 loss in the waning seconds of the contest. With the loss, the Oilers fall to .500 at 3-3 this season with a 2-2 mark in Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) play while the Chargers improve to 5-1 overall and remain atop the league at 4-0.
Hillsdale and Findlay combined to run 152 plays in the contest, but one play late in the game garnered all the attention.
After the Chargers drilled a 51-yard field goal to take a three-point lead with 1:26 remaining in the contest, senior quarterback Adam Bertke drove the Oilers offense 70 yards in eight plays, putting the home team just ten yards from the end zone with 14 second to play. Bertke handed the ball off to wideout Peter Norris who then tossed the ball back across the formation to Bertke. Findlay's quarterback caught the pass and turned up field toward the goal line. The Chargers wrapped up around Bertke's ankles as the 6-6 senior dove for the touchdown with the ball extended in his right hand. As he stretched, his arm and knees appeared to make contact with the ground, but at nearly the same time, the ball squirted out of his outstretch arm. The play was ruled a fumble which was recovered by Hillsdale, who was then able to take a knee to run out the clock and earn the win.
Both offenses produced similar numbers as the Chargers picked up 353 yards of total offense while the Oilers managed 391, 181 of which came on the ground. Turnover margin was a big factor in this contest as Findlay gave the ball away three times, twice via the fumble, while Hillsdale turned the ball over just once.
Bertke, who started his second consecutive game, completed 20-of-37 passes for a career-high 200 yards. His favorite target was junior Andrew Ogletree who hauled in five catches for 48 yards. Peter Norris made four catches for 46 yards while senior Jacob Allton had three receptions for 36 yards.
Leading the Oilers' rushing attack was sophomore Brian Benson who carried the ball 11 times for 68 yards. Senior Chauncey Bridges had ten carries for 49 yards while junior Richard Wilson also had ten carries for 32 yards and a touchdown.
Senior Justice Jenkins led the defense with 11 tackles, one of which was a tackle-for-loss, and had a pair of quarterback hurries. Junior Myles Ross had nine stops and two tackles-for-loss.
Findlay is back in action next Saturday when they head to Charleston, West Virginia to take on the Golden Eagles out of the Mountain East Conference (MEC).