The Yeomen traveled to Crawfordsville, Ind., last Saturday and shocked Wabash, 31-16.
Oberlin was not even close to pulling off the same trick against Wittenberg, the No. 12 team in the nation. The Tigers ran up a 35-0 lead and coasted to a 47-20 victory to wrap up a share of the North Coast Athletic Conference championship.
Oberlin completed its season 4-6 and 3-5 in the NCAC. The victory handed Wittenberg (9-1, 7-1) an automatic berth in the Division III playoffs.
It was not a happy Senior Day for 16 players in Oberlin’s Class of 2013, which includes cornerback Shawn Chrapczynski of Amherst.
“They made plays when they needed to make them,” Chrapczynski said. “We made mistakes, and it was them capitalizing on our mistakes that made the difference. Their quarterback was very poised. He made tough throws and the receivers went up to get them.
“Wittenberg must have made five big plays in the first half. Wabash had maybe three big plays all game.”
Chrapczynski’s biggest play was tackling Tigers quarterback Reed Florence for a 1-yard loss at the Oberlin 5-yard line on a naked bootleg play on first-and-goal. He also was burned on a play-action pass that turned into a 50-yard touchdown from Florence to Jonathan Stoner in the second quarter.
“Wittenberg was a more physical team than Wabash,” Oberlin coach Jeff Ramsey said. “We did not execute our game plan well enough, and our pass coverage wasn’t good. They knew where our best player (Clay Eaton) was at all time and they didn’t let him make any plays.”
Eaton, a senior defensive end, entered Saturday’s game leading the nation in sacks (17) and leading the Yeomen in tackles for loss (21½). He had no sacks or TOL against Wittenberg.
“Wittenberg is a championship team and that’s what championship teams do,” Ramsey said. “What happened was probably what should have happened.”
Jake Danko, a junior defensive tackle from Vermilion, was Oberlin’s best defensive player with 11 tackles, a sack and two tackles for losses.
The loss prevented Oberlin from finishing with its first non-losing season since 2007.
Florence threw for three touchdowns in the first half – two of them to Desi Kirkman, who had 118 yards receiving in the first half.
Dan Weintraub had two TD receptions for the Yeomen and caught nine passes for 136 yards.
Oberlin’s last score, with 35 seconds remaining, came on a double-reverse with backup quarterback Lucas Poggiali firing a 1-yard pass to starting quarterback Josh Mandel. It was Mandel’s only catch of the season.
Stephen Hause, a freshman from Amherst, caught six passes for 55 yards. Hause saw a lot of action after Robin Witjes, Oberlin’s leading receiver, was hurt after being tackled on a 70-yard kick return.
Contact Steve Byrne at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wittenberg 47, Oberlin 20
Wittenberg 14 21 12 0 — 47
Oberlin 0 6 7 7 — 20
W — Desi Kirkman, 32 pass from Reed Florence (Sean Williams kick)
W — Heath Eby, 30 fumble return (Williams kick)
W — Brandon Cunningham, 1 pass from Florence (Williams kick)
W — Kirkman, 2 run (Williams kick)
W — Jonathan Stoner, 50 pass from Florence (Williams kick)
O — Dan Weintraub, 15 pass from Josh Mandel (pass failed)
W — Williams, 29 field goal
W — Williams, 31 field goal
O — Weintraub, 10 pass from Lucas Poggiali (Erickson Andrews kick)
W — Noah Johnson, 53 run (Williams kick)
O — Mandel, 1 pass from Poggiali (Andrews kick)
First downs 22 18
Yards rushing 281 13
Yards passing 299 368
Total offense 580 381
Passes att./comp. 34/15 68/34
Intercepted by 1 1
Fumbles/lost 4/3 2/2
Penalties/yards 10/139 7/78
RUSHING — (WU) Jimmy Dehnke 16-127, Noah Johnson 2-55, Sean Gary 12-53, JaVanh Sanders 7-29, Reed Florence 7-22, Desi Kirkman 1-2. (OC) Moses Richardson 8-8, Blake Buckhannon 2-4, Josh Mandel 3-3, Tucker Kable 1-0, Lucas Poggiali 1-(-2).
PASSING — (WU) Florence 30-14-286-3-1, Johnson 4-1-13-0-0. (OC) Mandel 41-16-136-1-1, Poggiali 27-18-232-2-0.
RECEIVING — (WU) Kirkman 6-125, Brandon Cunningham 3-57, Zac Wilson 2-34, Jonathan Stoner 1-50, Ethan Sharpin 1-13, Garth Gilbert 1-11, Edehnke 1-9. (OC) Dan Weintraub 9-136, Robin Witjes 6-57, Stephen Hause 6-55, Buckhannon 5-33, David Kalgren 3-41, Pete Morris 3-40, Dan Bolotsky 1-5, Mandel 1-1.