By ANDY WOLF
Surpassing 400 total yards of offense is normally a pretty good day at the office.
Outgaining an opponent by 400-plus yards by halftime?
The University of Findlay football team did just that to Tuskegee, 487-78, scoring 55 points in the first half of a 61-0 nonleague victory Saturday at Donnell Stadium.
“It means a lot of different things to different people,” UF coach Rob Keys said. “To me, it means another win and it’s over.
“It was a very complete team win. It was the most complete team game that we’ve played in a while against a pretty good opponent because those guys have won a lot of football games.”
The Oilers improved to 3-1 overall with Great Midwest Athletic Conference play looming next week. The Golden Tigers, who had allowed only 42 points coming in, fell to 2-2.
Even with several underclassmen finishing out the second half, the Oilers preserved what was the largest UF shutout since defeating Lindenwood 70-0 in 1994.
“It’s just some confidence gaining back for our defense,” said senior defensive lineman Johnny Hopkins, who had three tackles for loss and two sacks. “Some people might have thought we fell off track earlier in the season, which we probably did. I think that was a good wake up for us. I think now we’re going to build off this and keep trying to go.”
Keys admitted he was out of his comfort zone for the first time in the locker room at halftime.
He had never been in a situation with a 55-0 edge that early.
“You expect to win and you expect things to go your way and if things go your way you hope to be having a lead at halftime,” Keys said. “I told our players ‘I’ve never been here before. So you’re going to have to excuse me right now because I don’t know what to say. I just know that we need to continue to keep playing and playing to our standard.'”
The Oilers scored on all eight of their first-half possessions, needing an average of 5.3 plays to reach the end zone.
No drive lasted more than eight plays and they traveled at least 60 yards on the first seven.
Junior running back Michael Campbell put UF on the board first en route to a three-touchdown day on runs of 4, 2 and 3 yards.
Filling in for senior Chauncey Bridges for the second straight week, Campbell finished with 46 yards on 10 carries.
The UF offensive line asserted its will right off the bat.
The Oilers’ rushing attack clicked to the tune of 7.1 yards per carry and 200 yards in the first half.
“It says it doesn’t really matter the opponent in front of us,” senior left guard Andrew Alten said. “We’re going to come out and attack any team. … especially the O-line. We came out and took it to them before they could take it to us.”
Daouda Sylla turned in 148 yards and 1- and 56-yard touchdowns in the first half. He needed only 11 yards to surpass 1,000 for his career.
Standout receiver Jason Moore hauled in one pass for 38 yards to become the fourth UF receiver with 2,000 career yards.
Perhaps the only sour note was junior quarterback Rhys Gervais leaving the game with an apparent left leg injury on a hit deemed late by the officials.
Keys said Gervais will get further evaluation through the weekend.
Prior to the injury, Gervais picked apart the Golden Tigers, completing 13 of 14 passes for 261 yards and two scores — one 16-yard jumpball to Drew Ogletree and a 31-yarder to Jacob Hill who went untouched down the right sideline.
The Oilers didn’t attempt a pass in the second half.
Defensively, UF started the second half how it ended the first, with an interception.
Justice Jenkins intercepted Ahmad DeRamus with 38 seconds left in the second quarter, setting up a 26-yard pass from backup quarterback Adam Bertke to Ogletree on the next play.
Two plays into the third quarter, Aaron Ivory stepped in front of a DeRamus pass and took it 38 yards to the house for the final score of the game.
Tyler Long and Cade Rogers each forced fumbles, recovered by Jenkins and Marlin Richardson, respectively.
“The coaching staff, from a game plan perspective on both sides — phenomenal,” Keys said.
“Yeah we stopped them and shut them out and scored 55 points in the first half but you watch the playcalling, the design of the run schemes, as well as the pass schemes and the defense, I can’t say enough about our coaching staff.”
Tuskegee 0 0 0 0 — 0
Findlay 20 35 6 0 — 61
UF — Campbell 4 run (pass failed)
UF — Ogletree 16 pass from Gervais (Demler kick)
UF — Sylla 1 run (Demler kick)
UF — Hill 31 pass from Gervais (Demler kick)
UF — Sylla 56 run (Demler kick)
UF — Campbell 2 run (Demler kick)
UF — Campbell 3 run (Demler kick)
UF — Ogletree 26 pass from Bertke (Demler kick)
UF — Ivory 38 interception return (kick failed)
First Downs 6 30
Rushes-yards 23-40 57-294
Passing Yards 129 287
Comp-Att-Int 8-21-2 14-15-0
Punts-Avg. 5-45.2 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties-Yards 12-119 5-48
rushing — Tuskegee, Burdett 3-26, Vigille 5-12, Bright Jr. 1-10, Lowe 5-7, Owens 1-0, DeRamus 7-(minus-16). Findlay, Sylla 15-148, Rettig 11-59, Campbell 10-46, Slagel 13-35, Gervais 1-4, McCoy 3-4, Hill 2-2.
passing — Tuskegee, DeRamus 4-15-2-60, Vigille 4-6-0-69. Findlay, Gervais 13-14-0-261, Bertke 1-1-0-26.
receiving — Tuskegee, Cheatham 4-65, Bright Jr. 1-30, Ramzy 1-22, Lowe 1-15, McCain 1-(minus-3). Findlay, Hill 5-88, Kosak 1-57, Ogletree 3-54, Allton 4-49, Moore 1-39.
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