Wittenberg one win from sixth 10-0 season in Fincham era

Nov 10, 2017
Wittenberg players sing the fight song after a victory against Ohio Wesleyan on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, at Edwards-Maurer Field in Springfield. David Jablonski/Staff

The magic number for the Wittenberg Tigers every season is 10-0. An undefeated regular season comes around, on average, about every four seasons.

Joe Fincham’s program finished 10-0 five times in his first 21 seasons. His 22nd team can hit that mark by beating Wooster (6-3, 5-3) at Edwards-Maurer Field at 1 p.m. Saturday.

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This would be the third time the Tigers have clinched a 10-0 season at home in the Fincham era, and seven years have passed since they last completed a perfect regular season.

“It’s been a while, at least for Wittenberg’s standards,” Fincham said. “A couple of those teams were really good and lost games to Butler. Reed Florence’s senior year (2013), that team was as good as any we’ve had.”

Wittenberg finished 10-0 three straight seasons early in Fincham’s tenure (1998-2000). There was a nine-year drought before the 2009 team finished 10-0. The 2010 team got there with a fourth-quarter rally at Wooster in the final game.

Highlights: Wittenberg vs. Ohio Wesleyan

The No. 12 Tigers have already clinched a share of the North Coast Athletic Conference championship. They’re 8-0 in league play, which is one game better than DePauw (8-1, 7-1). Wittenberg owns the head-to-head tiebreaker against DePauw if they tie.

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Wittenberg seeks its 11th undefeated season in NCAC play and third 9-0 season since the league went to a nine-game schedule in 2013.

Wittenberg will find out at 5:30 p.m. Sunday where and who it will play in the NCAA Division III playoffs. The Tigers rank second in the North Region behind Mount Union (9-0), which ranks second in the D3Football.com top-25 poll behind Mary Hardin-Baylor. For Wittenberg, a victory should secure a home playoff game in the first round and probably the second round as well if Wittenberg should advance.

In D3Football.com’s bracket projection this week, it had Wittenberg hosting Franklin (7-1) in the first round with the winner playing No. 13 Wesley (8-1) or No. 21 John Hopkins (8-1) in the second round.

“If we can finish Saturday, hopefully the bracket gods will shine their light on you and get a good draw,” Fincham said.