Wittenberg holds off Wooster to clinch share of NCAC title

Wittenberg takes the field against Wabash. David Jablonski/Staff
Wittenberg takes the field against Wabash. David Jablonski/Staff

Tigers finish 9-1 in regular season

The Wittenberg Tigers clinched a share of the North Coast Athletic Conference championship for the third straight season with a 27-21 victory at Wooster on Saturday.

The No. 21 Tigers finished the regular season 9-1 and 8-1 in the NCAC. Wittenberg, Wabash and Denison all tied for the NCAC championship with 8-1 marks.

Denison earns the league’s NCAA Division III playoff berth because it owns the longest NCAC winning streak. On the league’s list of tiebreakers, that was the fifth one and the one that came into play because the three teams beat each other. Wittenberg beat Denison, which beat Wabash, which beat Wittenberg.

Denison closed the regular season with a 61-7 victory Saturday at Kenyon. Wabash beat DePauw 24-17 in the Monon Bell game.

Wabash and Wittenberg will hope to earn at-large bids when the playoff bracket is announced Sunday. They rank sixth and seventh in the regional rankings.

Wittenberg took a 7-0 lead on a 16-yard touchdown run by Jaheem Washington in the first quarter. After Wooster tied the game at 7-7, the Tigers scored 20 unanswered points.

Terrance Crowe returned a fumble 50 yards for a touchdown. Tim Woodrum caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Jake Kennedy. Then Troy Jones returned an interception 31 yards for a score.

It was the second week in a row Wittenberg’s defense produced multiple touchdowns. In a 42-13 victory at Ohio Wesleyan on Nov. 3, Jones, Jonathan Seay and Crowe all scored on interception returns in the fourth quarter.

Wooster got back into the game on a 3-yard touchdown run by Antonio Bailey in the third quarter and a 12-yard touchdown pass from Mateo Renteria to Russell Boston early in the fourth.

On Wooster’s final three drives, Wittenberg forced a fumble and stopped the Scots on fourth down twice.

Kennedy completed 21 of 31 passes for 240 yards with a touchdown. Bryce Bailey led the receivers with seven catches for 90 yards.