Wittenberg moving the ball but struggling to score

Tigers off to 2-1 start and play at DePauw on Saturday

The Wittenberg Tigers increased their scoring average the last three years, pushing it from 33.3 to 37.0 to 40.8 last season.

The first three games of the 2019 season have seen the Tigers move the ball — they've outgained each of their opponents in total offense — but struggle to score. Wittenberg has averaged 19.3 points per game. It beat Wooster 14-12 last Saturday in the home opener at Edwards-Maurer Field. It was the lowest points total in a victory for Wittenberg since a 14-10 victory at Case Western in 2012.

“There have been reoccurring factors,” Wittenberg coach Joe Fincham said Wednesday. “In our first three ballgames, especially in the first half, we’ve been really poor on third down. We were only 1 of 5 inside the red zone (against Wooster), and when you get your opportunities, you’ve got to be able to cash in on them. We just haven’t done those things.”

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The Tigers built a 14-3 lead against Wooster on touchdown passes by Bobby Froehlich to Thaddeus Snodgrass and DeShawn Sarley. They could have had more.

“We threw an interception,” Fincham said. “We got stopped on fourth down. We got ourselves sacked out of the red zone once. We had a penalty that got us out of the red zone. Until we get better at situational football and just being efficient, we’re going to continue to have days that are frustrating.”

Fincham hopes the offense has learned from its mistakes.

“We are moving the football,” he said. “We’ve run the ball better than we’ve run it in the past couple years. It’s not all doom and gloom.”

Wittenberg (2-1 overall) won its first two North Coast Athletic Conference games and is tied for first with Ohio Wesleyan at 2-0. Denison, DePauw and Wabash are all 1-0.

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Wittenberg plays DePauw (1-1 overall) at 1 p.m. Saturday in Greencastle, Ind. Wittenberg has won three straight games in the series and six of seven since DePauw joined the NCAC in 2012. DePauw lost 45-19 at Central (Iowa) in its first game and won 21-17 at Kenyon last week.

DePauw finished 4-6 last season after three straight 8-2 seasons.

“Their defensive scheme is really sound and creates some problems for you,” Fincham said. “Offensively, they’ve got five big, athletic kids on the offensive line. I think their quarterback is a good player. They’re really well coached. Their staff over there does as good a job as anyone in our league, and we’re playing on the road.”

NOTES: Senior linebacker Jonathan Seay was named the NCAC Defensive Player of the Week. He had five tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Running back Jaheem Washington won the offensive award the previous week.

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