North Coast Athletic Conference football coaches voted Wittenberg the preseason favorite Thursday.
The Tigers received six of 10 first-place votes. They finished 10-2 in 2016 and won the league championship with an 8-1 mark. Wittenberg has won the NCAC title outright or shared it in six of the last eight seasons.
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Wabash, which tied for second with Denison and DePauw last season at 7-2, received three first-place votes and was voted second. Denison received one first-place vote and was picked third.
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Rounding out the poll were: No. 4 DePauw; No. 5 Ohio Wesleyan; No. 6 Wooster; No. 7 Hiram; No. 8 Kenyon; No. 9 Allegheny and No. 10 Oberlin.
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Wittenberg returns quarterback Jake Kennedy, who threw 19 touchdown passes in his first season as a starter, and running back DeShawn Sarley, who averaged 5 yards per carry. Among the top returners on defense are linebackers Terrance Crowe and Jack Kayser, who combined for 233 tackles.
Wittenberg freshmen arrive on campus Tuesday. Wittenberg, which finished 10-2 last season and won the North Coast Athletic Conference title, starts practicing a day later. The Tigers open the season Sept. 2 at Westminster (Pa.).
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