‘A great way to win a game’ — Wittenberg 2-0 in NCAC after dramatic OT victory

Tigers beat Denison on road and now play Hiram at Home



The pass stayed in the air for approximately two seconds. It will have a much longer impact on the 2023 football season for the Wittenberg Tigers.

Max Milton’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Tyler May in overtime gave Wittenberg a 27-24 walk-off victory against Denison on Saturday in Granville.

“It was really the total package,” Wittenberg coach Jim Collins said Monday, “because it was a play that was going to take a little bit of time to develop. We needed really good pass (protection). Then Tyler ran a great route. He ran at the safety and gave him a little bit of a move like he was going to run an in-route and then he burst over the top of him to the back of the end zone. Max just laid a perfect throw right in there over their safety’s outstretched hands. Tyler went up in the air and grabbed the ball out of the air and landed in bounds. A great way to win a game.”

It was the third touchdown pass of the game and 12th of the season for Milton, a junior first-year starter from Carmel, Ind., and Heritage Christian High School.

Milton dropped back and threw the ball from the 34-yard line. May cut left at the 14 and then back to the right and was at the 10 yard line as Milton released the ball. He had a step on the defender, but both players were tracking the ball as it soared toward the back of the end zone.

“That play was something we’ve had for a while,” Milton said. “We kind of knew we were going to get that coverage there at the end of the game. At halftime, we were kind of wanting that play call from coach Collins, and he dialed it up at the perfect moment. (May) did all the work, ran a great route and made a great catch, but the O-line also did a great job protecting, so it made my job super easy on that last play.”

May, a senior from Oak Harbor, Ohio, made his second touchdown catch of the season.

“That’s something we run quite frequently during practice,” May said. “It’s a play that in other games we use a lot more, but it just kind of depends on the game plan. At that time, it felt like something that we could save for a big-play opportunity and there wasn’t much better time to use it.”

This was Wittenberg’s first overtime victory since its last victory against Denison in 2018. The Tigers won 68-66 in four overtimes that season when Jake Kennedy threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Thaddeus Snodgrass to tie the game and then ran two yards for a game-winning two-point conversion.

May described the celebration after the winning touchdown as electric. Most of the players on the bench and his teammates on the field sprinted toward him in the end zone.

“Just to have that be the way the game ended was pretty sweet,” May said, “because we had a count and it had been like 1,850 days since we had beaten Denison. It just felt a little sweeter winning that one. Then going into the locker room, it was a great celebration. It was probably one of the greatest wins since I’ve been here.”

Wittenberg (3-1, 2-0) stayed unbeaten in the North Coast Athletic Conference and bounced back from a 48-28 loss to No. 19 Alma a week earlier in Springfield. The Tigers play Hiram (0-5, 0-3) on homecoming at Edwards-Maurer Field at 1 p.m. Saturday.

“We’ve got a lot of things to work on coming out of that Denison game,” Collins said, “but we won the game, so let’s keep moving in that direction. The goal is to win every North Coast Athletic Conference game you play.”

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