Oilers slay Dragons for first G-MAC Championship

Will travel to Shepherd in first round of Playoffs


By Collin Frazier



University of Findlay football team takes on an old foe this weekend in the first round of playoffs. It will take on the Shepherd University Rams in West Virginia Saturday Nov. 20. In 2017, UF also played Shepherd beating them 29-17.

The game comes after a tough battle for the conference championship on Nov. 13. The football team defeated a resilient opponent in Tiffin University 26-21. With this victory, the Oilers have achieved something they have failed to do in 24 years: conference champions. Not only that, but this was the first G-MAC Championship for the Oilers since joining the conference in 2017.

“It feels great. We finally accomplished what we’ve been trying to accomplish for all these years,” said defensive lineman Reggie Micheaux. “We brought it together as a team. Even though it was a rough season to start, we still came together towards the end to pull it out.”

What made this Oiler team so special was everything fans did not see on the field.

“Their character, their attitude, their resiliency, their physical and mental toughness… all the stuff you can’t measure, you can’t see is probably what pulled this team through,” Head Coach Rob Keys explained. “You look at it – we’ve had two overtime wins, a walk-off field goal win, and then a game like that. Not only that, there have been some other games that have gone down to the fourth quarter.”

“They just seem to be pretty resilient when it comes to a situation,” Keys continued. “They handle adversity really well. That doesn’t take away from a talent perspective; we have some very good players out there on both sides of the ball. But ultimately, I think this team has won and had the opportunity to win because of the stuff you can’t see.”

On Sunday, the Oilers gathered around to see if their success of a season was enough to earn a NCAA D-II playoff berth. And it was as they earned just their second playoff berth in program history, where they will face-off against an offensive powerhouse that is Shepherd University, a team familiar with the postseason.

“This is not only a great team, it’s a great program,” Keys proclaimed. “It’s their 13th consecutive playoff appearance. They’ve been ranked in the top 10 pretty much the last 13 years – they’ve been in the national finals. I think playoffs is already on their schedule. They go from regular season to playoffs. They kind of know that every year ‘this is what we do and this is what we expect’. So, from a program perspective, you’re looking at one of the top NCAA Division II programs, period.” 

“Offensively, number one offense in the country,” continued Keys. “They’ve scored more points than anybody at any level, almost averaging 50 points a game, led by their quarterback who is a Harlon Hill finalist. His stats are kind of scary when you look at them. To beat them it’s not going be about stopping them – you’re not going stop them offensively. You just got to limit them. You just got to slow them down because they’re going to get their yards, they’re going to get their points, but I think we need to focus on really what we need to do and not really all the other stuff that we can’t control.”

To the players, however, it’s business as usual.

“Rankings don’t really matter to me or the team, actually.” Micheaux commented. “As long as we come out and play [to] the best of our ability, we know that we can win.”

Kick-off for the first round of the playoffs is at 12 p.m.

The UF athletic department is hosting a virtual watch party for those who do not travel to West Virginia for the game. Its website says to follow the links on the site, “or, if fans have a Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, or Google Play, they can search ‘PSAC Sports Digital Network’, add the channel, and watch the game on their TV.”

Fans can join the virtual watch party starting 15 minutes before kickoff. Viewers are encouraged to post photos of themselves watching the game with the hashtag #OilersWatch21.


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