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Oilers' Defense Shines in Shutout of Walsh

Oilers' Defense Shines in Shutout of Walsh

Box Score

Findlay, Ohio  - The University of Findlay football team pitched their first shutout since 2017 on Saturday, March 27 in Donnell Stadium as they defeated the Walsh Cavaliers 35-0 in the season's home opener. With the win the Oilers improve to 2-0 and remain tied atop the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) standings while Walsh falls to 0-3.

The Oilers opened the game on defense and forced a punt after allowing a short six-play, 20 yard drive. That drive would be the longest of the half for a Cavliers offense that struggled to gain any momentum on Saturday.

Findlay's offense had their first shot and drove 40 yards, but would not score.

After a three-and-out, the Oilers began their second possession on the Walsh 25. Despite a penalty pushing the home team back to the 34-yard line, on 3rd and 19, senior Matt Winzeler found senior Marlin Richardson for a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead.

As the first quarter clock hit zero, Walsh had the ball on their own 38 and was forced to punt. On the first play of the second quarter, junior Shean Rheams broke free and blocked the Walsh punt, Findlay's first blocked punt since October of 2018. He then scooped up the ball and raced 22 yards for the touchdown to put the Oilers ahead 14-0 after the made PAT.

The defense again forced a three-and-out giving the Oilers offense the ball on their own 22-yard line. Nine of Findlay's 12 plays on the drive were through the air including an 11-yard touchdown pass from Winzeler to sophomore Mike Rigerman for a score, capping a 12-play, 78-yard drive that took almost six minutes off the clock.

Leading 21-0 and in total control of the game, Findlay decided to open up the second half with some razzle-dazzle. On the first offensive play, junior quarterback Jay Vanderjagt was in the slot and was handed the ball on a sweep across the middle. He stepped back and fired a ball up the right sideline to Marlin Richardson who made a leaping catch, juked a defender, and raced to the endzone for his second touchdown catch of the day.

Midway through the third quarter, Walsh went on their longest drive of the game, an 11-play, 59-yard journey that had them inside the Oilers ten yard line. The Cavs had a first and goal from the Oilers two yard line and were stuffed on four straight run plays. Junior defensive lineman Reggie Micheaux made the tackles on first and second down while sophomore Dalton Rockhold, junior Jeremiah Jackson made the stop on third and, after a timeout, senior Ervin Besingi got a tackle-for-loss to stall the drive on the Findlay two yard line.

The Oilers defense had their backs against the wall again in the fourth quarter as Walsh drove inside the Findlay ten with ten minutes remaining. On third and three, Findlay junior Christopher Jefferson dropped an interception with nothing but green in front of him. The very next play, as he did nine times last season, Findlay's Jefferson got another chance. The Oilers all-American recorded his 11th career interception and raced 92 yards to score Findlay's final touchdown of the night.

Findlay's defense was the star on Saturday night as they held the Cavaliers to just 106 yards of total offense, the least yards allowed since allowing just 91 yards in the 2018 season-opener against Kentucky Wesleyan. Of those 106 yards, just 26 came on the ground marking the seventh time since the Oilers joined the G-MAC in 2017 that they have allowed less than 50 yards rushing in a game.

Junior linebacker Kyle Nunn led the defense with nine tackles including 1.5 tackles-for-loss and a half-sack. On the defensive line, junior Reggie Micheaux and senior Ervin Besingi lived in the Walsh backfield, combining for 5.5 tackles-for-loss including 2.5 sacks. Micheaux had seven tackles while Besingi had four.

Mr. Interception, Christopher Jefferson, had five tackles and a pick-six while senior Colin Robertson had three tackles, a tackle-for-loss, and an interception.

As a defense, Findlay finished with 11 tackles-for-loss and five sacks.

Offensively, Matt Winzeler completed 15-of-27 passes for 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Jay Vanderjagt was a perfect 2-for-2 for 81 yards and a score, the first touchdown pass of his career.

Marlin Richardson was again the top receiver for the Oilers as he made five catches for 129 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Senior Derek Lynch made four catches for 30 yards while freshman Elijah McLaughlin had four catches for 26 yards.

Findlay hits the road next week as they travel to Kentucky Wesleyan to take on the Panthers. That game is set to kickoff at 7:00 pm EST.