By ANDY WOLF
COLUMBUS — Rob Keys had seen this movie before.
Neither the ending, nor the start, was a happy one for the University of Findlay football coach.
As a result, the Oilers fell 21-10 to rival Ohio Dominican University on Saturday at Panther Stadium in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
“It’s been so similar in the last four outings,” Keys said. “It’s kind of scary — and I don’t know what it is.
“We’ve tried different things. Ultimately, it comes down to execution.
“We didn’t execute in critical situations and we made some mistakes that really, really hurt us.”
Ohio Dominican, which has won six straight over Findlay since 2011, improved to 2-1 overall, 1-0 in the GMAC.
Findlay drops to 1-2, 0-1 in the league.
Over the past three seasons, the Panthers have jumped out to halftime leads of 21-7, 21-10 and 28-16 — all en route to double-digit wins.
The exact same scenario played out at 21-3 on Saturday.
“We’re fortunate, came out and made a couple good plays,” ODU coach Kelly Cummings said. “…The difference has been the takeaways and the giveaways, every game that we’ve played in.”
Ohio Dominican finished plus-3 in the turnover margin.
Points were hard to come by, but yards weren’t for the Oilers, who held a 427-297 edge in total offense and 29-15 advantage in first downs.
UF even ran 85 plays to Ohio Dominican’s 51.
But Findlay’s only touchdown came with 2:40 remaining in the third quarter when Matt Winzeler found Ruben Flowers on a circus catch from 4 yards out.
The Oilers, who committed four turnovers, never struck pay dirt again, coming up empty on three other red-zone trips.
“Yards don’t win you games; you need points to win you games,” Keys said.
Findlay took the opening kickoff and drove 51 yards in 10 plays, though they settled for a 40-yard Chris Demler field goal. Demler missed field goals of 31 and 36 yards in the final minute of the first half and on UF’s second-half opening drive, respectively.
The only UF lead of 3-0 evaporated in a hurry.
ODU needed just 1:55 to cover 80 yards, getting 76 of it in three pass plays from Evan Ernst — the last a 24-yard strike in the end zone to Cedric Washington.
After both teams traded three-and-outs, Findlay was on the move again.
This time, the Oilers grinded out 47 yards in 11 plays. ODU stood tall again, stuffing runs on third- and fourth-and-1 by Nate Slagel and Brian Benson.
Worse went to worst on Findlay’s next drive.
Eriq Fadahusni’s interception set the Oilers up on their own 7.
A defensive pass interference call on third down gave UF new life, only for the Oilers to give it right back.
A high snap from center Neal Davis sailed over Winzeler’s head, bouncing all the way to the end zone. The Panthers’ Dauson Dales recovered it for a touchdown.
“The snap over the head, that’s about as critical as it gets; that’s a killer,” Keys said.
Winzeler was also intercepted on UF’s next drive and ODU scored seven plays later as Ernst found Devanaire Conliffe from 7 yards out. Ernst was 19 of 26 for 230 yards, the two scores and one interception
His counterpart, Winzeler, finished 23 of 41 for 253 yards and three interceptions.
Keys didn’t fault Winzeler’s two fourth-quarter interceptions for trying to make things happen late.
The Oilers were only outgained by 30 yards (184-154) in the first half.
Benson, UF’s sophomore running back who ranks sixth nationally at 181.0 yards per game, was relatively bottled up for 125 yards on 26 carries. Lance Mitchell added 41 yards on six carries.
Flowers totaled 132 yards on 12 catches.
Isaac Miles led UF with eight tackles while Grant Kinsinger (Liberty-Benton) and Luke Edwards combined for a sack. Fadahunsi’s interception was the lone UF takeaway.
While Keys would like a faster start from his defense, he did compliment them for pitching a second-half shutout.
“Our guys have been put in some bad situations, defensively, even last week,” Keys said. “I told them at halftime they’ve got to shut them out. They went out and did it.”
Findlay 3 0 7 0 — 10
Ohio Dominican 7 14 0 0 — 21
UF — Demler 40 FG
ODU — Washington 24 pass from Ernst (Quackenbush kick)
ODU — Team fumble recovery (Quackenbush kick)
ODU — Conliffe 7 pass from Ernst (Quackenbush kick)
UF — Flowers 5 pass from Winzeler (Wilcox kick)
First Downs 29 15
Rushes-yards 43-174 25-67
Passing Yards 253 230
Comp-Att-Int 23-42-3 19-26-1
Punts-Avg. 2-45.5 7-46-3
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 6-49 7-65
rushing — Findlay, Benson 26-125, Mitchell 6-41, Slagel 7-29, Winzeler 3-4, team 1-(-25). Ohio Dominican, Colson 12-52, Pitts V 6-7, Moore 2-7, Ernst 3-4.
passing — Findlay, Winzeler 23-41-253. Ohio Dominican, Ernst 19-26-230.
receiving — Findlay, Flowers 12-132, Stuffel 2-36, Morehand 2-32, Schroeder 3-25, Richardson 2-14, Mitchell 1-12, Lynch 1-2. Ohio Dominican, Washington 5-91, Clark 7-76, Conliffe 2-24, Colson 2-20, Morgan 1-16, Skuratowicz 1-2, Pitts V 1-1.
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