By ANDY WOLF
The University of Findlay football team put together a complete team win Saturday in dominating Hillsdale College 41-16 in Great Midwest Athletic Conference action at Donnell Stadium.
“The coaching staff did a phenomenal job both offensively and defensively,” UF coach Rob Keys said. “The players did a really good job executing it and that’s the key.
“You’ve got to execute and that’s why we were able to put points on the board and keep them off the board, because of the execution.”
Findlay (5-2, 4-1 GMAC), which fell 20-17 to the Chargers at home last year, has won four of the last five in the series — all by double figures.
Hillsdale (4-3, 2-1), the defending league champs and a playoff team in 2018, earned a last-second victory a year ago as UF fumbled inches from the goal line on what would have been the game-winning touchdown.
Saturday’s game had the early makings of a close affair, but the Oilers pulled away with three second-quarter touchdowns and another on their opening second-half drive to go ahead 34-7.
Meanwhile, Findlay’s defense was stout again with three turnovers, four sacks and holding the Chargers to 323 yards, 72 rushing.
The Oilers, who found pay dirt just once last week against Walsh, totaled 468 yards and six touchdowns to reach 40 points for the second time this season.
UF quarterback Matt Winzeler had his hand in five scores — four passing and one rushing.
He threw for 197 yards on 21 of 31 attempts with 26 rushing yards and no turnovers.
“We have been having drives in previous games where they came up short,” Winzeler said. “It was really important for us to put the ball in the end zone, finish strong in the end zone.”
He walked in the end zone on his 5-yard keeper up the middle in a five-wide set to put UF on the board first at 6-0, 9 minutes in.
Winzeler found tight end Luke Stuffel in the end zone for scores of 3 and 15 yards in the second quarter, fullback Jacob Brown from 1 yard out in the third and wideout Tanner Schroeder for 9 yards in the fourth quarter.
“We love our tight ends and fullbacks here at Findlay,” Winzeler said. “Anytime we can get them the ball and see them score some touchdowns, that’s exciting.”
Findlay’s other touchdown also came through the air, but off the arm of wide receiver Ruben Flowers.
Leading only 13-7 late in the second quarter, Winzeler swung a backwards lateral on the left side to Flowers, who skied one downfield to a wide-open Derek Lynch.
Lynch caught the bomb and stayed upright for an untouched 50-yard scoring strike.
“You try to insert those plays at the right time; it’s more about the timing than anything,” Keys said.
While the trick play worked to perfection, Keys wasn’t planning on scoring again in the final minute of the half.
That was until Nate Slagel ripped off a 30-yard run and Brian Benson broke a 36-yard run to the Hillsdale 10-yard line with 10 seconds left.
After a false start, Winzeler found Stuffel with inside leverage in the end zone.
“It probably doesn’t get any bigger with the way the game unfolded,” Keys said of the score.
As Findlay’s offense was scoring 28 straight points, the defense was also executing at a high level.
Twelve UF players chipped in on at least 1/2 of a tackle for loss, seven by defensive linemen.
Logan Speyer (Arlington), Kyle Gibson and Dalton Davis each had a sack.
Anthony Kastelic recovered a fumble in the first quarter on a botched option by Hillsdale quarterback Luke Keller to David Graham, which led to UF’s second TD.
Christopher Jefferson also recorded his Division II-leading eighth interception of the season.
Jefferson is now one pick shy of tying the UF single-season record held by Jon Huffman (1984) and Andre Roberts (1989).
Cade Rogers turned in a team-high nine tackles in his first career start at safety.
Hillsdale’s David Graham led with 64 rushing yards, including a 2-yard score in the fourth quarter. He also turned in 43 receiving yards and 95 yards on three kickoff returns.
Keller threw for 251 yards on 19 of 31 completions. His 17-yard touchdown pass to Alec Foos gave Hillsdale its only lead at 7-6 after UF’s Chris Demler missed his first extra point.
“Anytime you can make a team one-dimensional, you have a better chance of stopping them,” Keys said.
Benson put up a team-high 92 yards on 16 carries. He had missed the last 10 quarters due to injury.
Flowers turned in 64 yards on six catches.
The result leaves Tiffin (6-1, 4-0) as the only unbeaten left in GMAC play.
Tiffin and Findlay will meet in the season finale at noon on Nov. 16 at Donnell Stadium.
Hillsdale 0 7 3 6 — 16
Findlay 6 21 7 7 — 41
UF — Winzeler 5 run (kick failed)
HC — Foos 17 pass from Keller (Sealock kick)
UF — Stuffel 3 pass from Winzeler (Demler kick)
UF — Lynch 50 pass from Flowers (Demler kick)
UF — Stuffel 15 pass from Winzeler (Demler kick)
UF — Brown 1 pass from Winzeler (Demler kick)
HC — FG Sealock 39
UF — Schroeder 9 pass from Winzeler (Demler kick)
HC — Graham 4 run (pass failed)
First Downs 18 28
Rushes-yards 31-72 36-221
Passing Yards 251 247
Comp-Att-Int 19-31-1 22-33-0
Punts-Avg. 3-37.7 4-34.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties-Yards 0-0 7-55
rushing — Hillsdale, Graham 16-64, Keller 13-9, Hissom 1-0, team 1-(-1). Findlay, Benson 16-92, Slagel 6-64, Mitchell 8-30, Winzeler 3-26, Lynch 2-10, team 1-(-1).
passing — Hillsdale, Keller 19-31-1–251. Findlay, Winzeler 21-31-0–197, Flowers 1-1-0–50.
receiving — Hillsdale, Foos 4-75, Maloney 5-60, Graham 3-43, Giampietro 2-31, Petersen 2-31, Bentley 2-16, Stewart 1-7. Findlay, Lynch 2-66, Flowers 6-64, Stuffel 4-58, Schroeder 6-46, Richardson 1-11, Morehand 1-8, Brown 1-1, Benson 1-(-7).
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