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Jeremy Hunt (Photo: Ralph Schudel - ODU)
Jeremy Hunt (Photo: Ralph Schudel - ODU)

Oilers Stumble in Season-Opener at Ohio Dominican

Box Score

Columbus, Ohio – The University of Findlay football team, the reigning Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) champions, kicked off the 2022 campaign on the road in a matchup of conference powerhouse programs against Ohio Dominican on Saturday, Sep. 3. The Panthers scored 20 unanswered points midway through the game and handed Findlay a 28-14 loss. 

The high-profile matchup began with the Oilers winning the coin-toss and electing to receive, giving their offense the first chance of the new season. That drive sputtered after five plays, but Findlay's defense stepped up and forced a five-play drive of their own, giving the Oilers the ball back with 11:43 to play in the first quarter.

Findlay went on one of it's best drives of the game, a nine-play, 83 yard journey that ended with a 15-yard touchdown pass from senior Jeremy Hunt to junior Mike Rigerman, who was a Don Hansen all-American selection last season. That score put the Oilers ahead 7-0.

ODU scored on its' next drive to tie the game at 7-7, which would ultimately be the score at the half.

Findlay's defense stood tall on the first drive of the second half as the Panthers received the kickoff and drove down to the Oilers 12-yard line. A personal foul penalty backed ODU up ten yards and, after an incomplete pass, a missed field goal from 39 yards gave Findlay the stop it needed.

After a three-and-out, ODU then found the endzone again on a 33-yard rush, putting the home team ahead 14-7. Another score two minutes later put the game in control of the Panthers, 20-7.

The Oilers did answer with an 11-play, 76-yard drive that ended with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Hunt to sophomore Makya Matthews, putting Findlay within six points at 20-14.

That was the last score for Findlay, however, and ODU added a touchdown and two-point conversion to help secure the 14-point victory.

Findlay struggled on both sides of the ball against a very determined and well-prepared Ohio Dominican team. The Oilers' offense managed just 17 first downs in the game and while the defense allowed 17-of-21 third-down attempts by the Panthers. ODU outgained the Oilers 428-to-278 in total yards.

The jaw-dropping stat of the game came on the ground where Findlay finished with negative-three yards rushing, the first time in program history (game-by-game records date back to 1977 season) that the team had negative yards on the ground. The total rushing yards are the fewest since Findlay had a single yard against Grand Valley State in the 1999 season.

ODU dominated the time-of-possession as the home team had the ball for more than 36 minutes while Findlay had possession for less than 24 minutes.

Making his Oilers debut, Jeremy Hunt, who transferred to Findlay from the University of Louisiana-Monroe, went 23-for-38 for 281 yards and two scores. His favorite target was junior Tanner Schroeder who had eight receptions for 99 yards. Sophomore Elijah McLaughlin had three catches for 58 yards while Matthews had four receptions for 53 yards including a score.

Sophomore Garret Clark was the Oilers leading rusher, picking up 27 yards on ten carries.

Where the Oilers lost yards on the ground came from sacks. Hunt was sacked five times for a loss of 36 yards, hurting Findlay's production on the ground in the stat book. The five sacks are the most against an Oilers' quarterback since Matt Winzeler was sacked five times against Notre Dame College in 2019.

Saturday's game against Ohio Dominican was the first in the head coaching career of Kory Allen who is in his 17th season on staff with Findlay.

Findlay has no time to rest as they have another big-time conference matchup next week. The Oilers welcome the Ashland University Eagles to Donnell Stadium on Sep. 10 for a game that will start at 6:00 pm.