The seventh-ranked Wittenberg Tigers found the footing treacherous on the road again, but they once again found a way, this time pulling out a 27-21 overtime victory.
The Tigers, who won their 18th straight regular season game to improved to 8-0 on the 2010 season, survived a 32-yard field goal attempt by the host Tartans that drifted inches wide at the final buzzer of regulation. Carnegie Mellon missed another field goal to start the overtime period after a clutch pass broken up on third down by senior linebacker Ben Maxwell (Kettering, Ohio/Alter), and the Tigers responded with a 25-yard drive that was capped by a three-yard scoring strike from junior quarterback Ben Zoeller (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier) to junior wide receiver Josh McKee (New Carlisle, Ohio/Tecumseh).
The late-game drama was set up by the second of Zoeller's three touchdown passes on the day, a 29-yard strike to senior wideout Anthony Kralich (Kettering, Ohio/Alter) with 13:14 to go. The teams then traded defensive stops until CMU's 60-yard drive over the final 4:56 that ended with the missed field goal.
Carnegie Mellon ran 83 plays in the game - 78 of them rushing attempts. They gained a whopping 307 yards. For perspective, the Tigers had allowed just 413 yards through the first seven games of the 2010 season. Just two teams had managed to collectively rush for more than 100 yards in a game against Wittenberg, but three Tartans finished with at least 88 yards, led by fullback Justin Pratt with 137 yards on 33 carries.
Wittenberg countered with its stellar passing game, as Zoeller threw for 276 yards on 16-of-24 attempts. McKee caught six passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns, which moved him to a school-record 14 scoring receptions on the season. Kralich caught a season-high six passes for 77 yards, while freshman Brendon Cunningham (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont) added three catches for 68 yards.
Carnegie Mellon became the first team to top 300 yards of total offense against the Tigers in 2010, but that doesn't minimize several fine performances, starting with senior linebacker Brad McKinley (Hilliard, Ohio/Davidson), who recorded a career-best 22 tackles. Senior defensive end Eddie Vallery (South Solon, Ohio/Madison Plains), senior defensive end Nic Wolfe (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont), senior defensive tackle Adam Kattoua (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington), Maxwell and junior linebacker Zach Hurtt (Fort Thomas, Ky./Highlands) all reached double figures in tackles as well. Wolfe was credited with four tackles for loss in the game, including a pair of key sacks.
Wittenberg has a week off before returning to the home turf at Edwards-Maurer Field on Saturday, Nov. 6. Carnegie Mellon dropped to 4-3 on the season.