UF Football puts on a homecoming show
By Kevin Schrock
Things appeared to be over when the University of Northwood Timberwolves lined up for a 19-yard field goal in a tie game at the end of regulation on Saturday afternoon, but after the kick hooked right the Oilers took advantage of their new life in overtime. Dylan Blunk caught the game winning touchdown pass from Rhys Gervais to end the game with the Oilers on top 37-34 and send the homecoming crowd home happy. With the win the Oilers move to 2-1 at home and snap a three game losing streak.
In a game that was tied at the end of three of the four quarters, it seemed like this one was destined for overtime. Neither team was lacking in scoring early on. Each team tallied a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter; Findlay’s coming from Dylan Blunk and Marcus Jones. The second quarter saw both teams tally a single touchdown, but it was a 41-yard Tyler Bugeja field goal into the wind that gave Findlay a 24-21 lead going into the half.
“After we put up 24 points in the first half we were thinking we should be right around 50 by the time the game’s over,” said Findlay coach Rob Keys. “However, Northwood did a good job stopping us and it was very hard to move the ball in the second half.”
The Oilers were held scoreless in the third quarter, and a short Northwood field goal tied the game up at 24 heading into the final 15 minutes.
The defense stepped up big on the first possession forcing the Timberwolves to punt and the Oilers took over on the Timberwolve 29-yard line. From there, a long eight play 71-yard drive was capped off with a Daiquone Ford touchdown run from a yard out for his fifth touchdown of the season.
However, once again the Timberwolves answered by going right through the Oiler defense on three plays for a game tying touchdown. On the next drive Findlay got the ball down to the Northwood 37, just out of field goal range, but couldn’t get the ball any closer. Gervais threw three straight incompletions and the Oilers were forced to give the ball back to Northwood on downs.
With only 3:24 left to play the game was in the hands of the Oiler defense. With 17 seconds left the Timberwolves found themselves on the Findlay 22-yard line on 4th and three. It would be a long field goal but they had to try it. As they attempted the kick a man came unblocked through the Northwood line and got a hand on the ball to block the field goal. Unfortunately for Findlay they had 12 men on the field, which resulted in a penalty and a first down.
Two plays later Northwood found themselves on the 1-yard line with five seconds left. They once again lined up for the field goal and although Findlay didn’t block it, the ball hooked right and the game was headed to overtime.
“The football gods were smiling down on us on that one,” said Keys. “I think it did make a difference though that he was on the right hash because that becomes a tough little kick for a lefty.”
In overtime Findlay won the toss and elected to defend. Finally the defense got another big stop holding the offense to a field goal setting the stage for Blunk.
On the first play of offense for Findlay in overtime Gervais connected with Blunk for the 25-yard score ending the game.
“The thing about our guys is that they never quit,” said Keys. “Even when they lined up to kick that field goal they were still in it and then we came out in overtime and had the best series of defense we had all game. Now the goal becomes to bottle that up and become consistent with it.”
The Oilers will look to make it two in a row when they travel to Grand Valley next Saturday to take on the Lakers at Lubbers Stadium.