/seasons/2012/contrib/20120901i0a11k

Wittenberg Forces Six Turnovers In 44-17 Ambush Of Capital

More news about: Wittenberg

For the second straight year, the Wittenberg Tigers ambushed the Capital Crusaders in the season opener. A year after becoming the first non-Division I program to reach 700 all-time victories with a 45-28 win in Springfield, the Tigers turned the trick again with a 44-17 win on Capital's home field.

Wittenberg jumped out to a 30-3 lead by halftime and never looked back in the 2012 edition of the rivalry. The Tigers, who forced six Capital turnovers while racking up 475 yards of total offense, have now won 30 of 37 all-time meetings between the two Central Ohio Lutheran universities.

In his first collegiate start, junior quarterback Reed Florence (Springfield, Ohio/Southeastern) threw for 320 yards, easily a career high. He tossed a pair of touchdown passes and scored two more touchdowns on the ground, although he was intercepted three times by the Crusaders.

A fast start made all the difference, as Florence completed all four of his passes on Wittenberg's opening possession before finishing the drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge.

"We had our first 10 plays set out for us, and we went over them about 30 times during the week," Florence said. "We executed just perfectly on each play."

The momentum carried throughout the first half, even after the Crusaders responded to the Tigers' first score with a field goal. Florence capped an 11-play, 68-yard drive near the end of the first quarter with a two-yard scoring run, and then senior kicker Sean Williams (Plainfield, Ind./Plainfield) added a 20-yard field goal. The barrage continued with a 41-yard scoring strike from Florence to junior wide receiver Jonathan Stoner (Bowling Green, Ohio/Bowling Green) and the first career touchdown from senior wide receiver Ethan Sharpin (Springfield, Ohio/Kenton Ridge), who picked up a blocked punt by junior cornerback Victor Banjo (Sugarland, Texas/Stephen F. Austin) and returned it 11 yards for the score.

Wittenberg stretched the lead to 37-3 with a five-yard connection between Florence and junior tight end Stephen Zumdick (Erlanger, Ky./Dixie Heights) in the third quarter. After Capital scored the next 14 points, the Tigers put the finishing touches on things with a 20-yard touchdown run by freshman tailback Jimmy Dehnke (Canton, Ohio/Massillon Jackson).

Dehnke finished with 67 yards on 17 carries, while junior JaVanh Sanders (Las Vegas, Nev./Centennial) chipped in with 16 rushes for 45 yards. Through the air, junior Brendon Cunningham (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont) was Florence's favorite target with 102 yards on five receptions. Junior Desi Kirkman (Lima, Ohio/Catholic Central) added three catches for 73 yards.

Defensively, Wittenberg was paced by junior linebacker Evan Killilea (Columbus, Ohio/DeSales) with nine tackles, including two for loss and a sack, which forced a fourth-quarter fumble by the Crusaders. Sophomore linebacker Nick Gibson (Marysville, Ohio/Fairbanks) added seven tackles and a pass broken up. Fumbles were recovered by senior defensive end Jon Daniels (Springfield, Ohio/South) and junior linebacker Erick Collins (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield), while Banjo, senior cornerback Karlos Marshall (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield) and senior cornerback Jamaal Everett (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont) all intercepted passes in the game.

The Crusaders were limited to 267 yards of total offense, including just 77 through the air for a team that finished in the top 30 nationally in passing in 2011.

"To come out of the gates and play the way we did, I couldn't be more pleased," said Head Coach Joe Fincham. "Considering how many first-time starters we have, especially the guys who are handling the football, we played very well."

The Tigers have a week off before opening North Coast Athletic Conference action with home date against DePauw. First kick is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, at Edwards-Maurer Field.

Sep. 16: All times Eastern
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at Ursinus 35, Juniata 28
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Salve Regina 27, at Dean 0
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at Johns Hopkins 37, Moravian 7
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Massachusetts Maritime 34, at Maine Maritime 25
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Wesley 33, at TCNJ 0
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at RPI 31, Western New England 14
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Buffalo State 53, at Morrisville State 48
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Stevenson 52, at FDU-Florham 14
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Union 31, at Gallaudet 21
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at Williams 28, Bowdoin 14
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Sewanee 29, at Austin 17
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at Middlebury 30, Wesleyan 27
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at Tufts 35, Hamilton 28
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Salisbury 21, at Kean 13
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at Trinity (Conn.) 35, Colby 0
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at Franklin and Marshall 43, McDaniel 41
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Montclair State 24, at Southern Virginia 0
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Rowan 41, at William Paterson 14
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Springfield 66, at Mount Ida 20
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UW-Platteville 38, at Hampden-Sydney 29
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DePauw 55, at Hiram 28
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at Alma 45, Benedictine 40
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at Trine 55, Wisconsin Lutheran 7
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Dickinson 24, at Gettysburg 21
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Thiel 28, at Bethany 13
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LaGrange 39, at Methodist 30
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at Wabash 62, Kenyon 7
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King's 44, at Lebanon Valley 39
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at Martin Luther 42, Iowa Wesleyan 20
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at MIT 31, Endicott 26
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at Alfred 24, Utica 17
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Maryville (Tenn.) 56, at Emory and Henry 46
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Averett 19, at Ferrum 7
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at Catholic 25, Randolph-Macon 20
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Susquehanna 14, at Muhlenberg 11
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at Cortland 31, Hartwick 30
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Brevard 63, at Greensboro 7
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Ithaca 24, at St. Lawrence 13
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MacMurray 48, at Crown 34
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Eureka 48, at Minnesota-Morris 20
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UW-Whitewater 40, at Washington U. 21
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at Widener 34, Misericordia 21
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at Coast Guard 13, Nichols 0
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at Hope 37, Lakeland 35
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Heidelberg 40, at Ohio Northern 21
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Carnegie Mellon 30, at Waynesburg 20
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Mount Union 69, at Marietta 3
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at Centre 52, Hendrix 42
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Albright 21, at Lycoming 17
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Bluffton 32, at Mount St. Joseph 31
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at Franklin 42, Defiance 12
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at Anderson 27, Earlham 16
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SUNY-Maritime 38, at Merchant Marine 31
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Concordia-Chicago 41, at Kalamazoo 29
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at Rose-Hulman 38, Hanover 28
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John Carroll 24, at Baldwin Wallace 21
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at Otterbein 56, Wilmington 28
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Trinity (Texas) 28, at Millsaps 26
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at Buena Vista 39, Central 38
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at Concordia-Moorhead 31, Bethel 7
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St. John's 56, at St. Olaf 7
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Gustavus Adolphus 42, at Augsburg 37
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Coe 35, at Nebraska Wesleyan 25
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Wartburg 40, at Simpson 31
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Elmhurst 23, at North Park 20
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at Huntingdon 41, N.C. Wesleyan 30
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at Hardin-Simmons 55, Louisiana College 10
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UW-River Falls 30, at Missouri Baptist 3
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at Whitworth 53, La Verne 0
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St. Thomas 63, at Carleton 0
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Denison 62, at Allegheny 26
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Lewis and Clark 40, at Pomona-Pitzer 29
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at Wittenberg 34, Oberlin 0
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at Western Connecticut 37, Plymouth State 29
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Washington and Lee 24, at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 14
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Warner at Pacific Lutheran
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Cal Lutheran 28, at Willamette 13
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Mary Hardin-Baylor 24, at Linfield 3
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at George Fox 13, Redlands 10
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at Mass-Dartmouth 51, Westfield State 26
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at Castleton 28, Norwich 14
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at Berry 34, Rhodes 13
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Brockport 38, at St. John Fisher 7
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at WPI 38, Becker 0
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at Adrian 62, Rockford 7
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Frostburg State 33, at Christopher Newport 30
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at Hobart 56, Shenandoah 30
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at Case Western Reserve 42, Grove City 10
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at Davidson 42, Guilford 21
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at Bridgewater 52, The Apprentice School 0
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at Capital 39, Muskingum 28
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at Washington and Jefferson 37, Thomas More 29
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at North Central (Ill.) 26, Illinois Wesleyan 13
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 37, Carthage 14
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at Texas Lutheran 37, Belhaven 0
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at Carroll 28, Augustana 25
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St. Vincent 31, at Geneva 27
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East Texas Baptist 28, at Southwestern 10
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Pacific at Occidental
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Sep. 16: All times Eastern
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Wesley 33, at TCNJ 0
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at Johns Hopkins 37, Moravian 7
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at Alfred 24, Utica 17
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UW-Platteville 38, at Hampden-Sydney 29
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Mount Union 69, at Marietta 3
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John Carroll 24, at Baldwin Wallace 21
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at Hardin-Simmons 55, Louisiana College 10
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St. John's 56, at St. Olaf 7
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at Concordia-Moorhead 31, Bethel 7
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at Whitworth 53, La Verne 0
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St. Thomas 63, at Carleton 0
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at Wittenberg 34, Oberlin 0
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Mary Hardin-Baylor 24, at Linfield 3
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at George Fox 13, Redlands 10
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Brockport 38, at St. John Fisher 7
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Frostburg State 33, at Christopher Newport 30
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at Case Western Reserve 42, Grove City 10
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at Washington and Jefferson 37, Thomas More 29
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 37, Carthage 14
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at North Central (Ill.) 26, Illinois Wesleyan 13
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