“I can remember the first time we went up there and got bludgeoned 38-0 by the team that won the national championship,” Fincham said. “That one stood out pretty good.”
That remains the most lopsided NCAC loss in Fincham’s 29 years at Wittenberg and the third-worst loss of any kind. Only two non-conference losses to Capital in back-to-back season openers (54-0 in 2005 and 57-7 in 2006) top it.
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Allegheny’s excellence for many years made its decline in recent years even more surprising, but the program appears on its way back to respectability in 2018. It is 3-2 at the halfway point in the regular season and 3-1 in the NCAC. This follows a five-year span in which it won a total of five games, finishing 0-10 in 2013 and then 1-9, 0-10, 1-9 and 3-7.
Wabash grad B.J. Hammer, now in his third season has led the turnaround at Allegheny. The Gators have one of the top receivers in the conference: Alex Victor, who leads the NCAC with 123.2 receiving yards per game. Their running back, Alex Balla, ranks second with 106.8 rushing yards per game.
Allegheny has victories over Ohio Wesleyan (2-3, 2-2), Hiram (1-4, 0-4) and Wooster (2-3, 1-3). It lost 42-0 at Denison (3-2, 3-1), the only opponent it has faced in the top five of the standings.
“They are slowly but surely getting back to the Allegheny of old,” Fincham said. “You turn the tape on, and physically, they look a lot better. They’re certainly playing better.”