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Fincham seeks consistency in Wittenberg’s third game

Tigers host Kenyon at 7 p.m. Saturday

The skeleton of Wittenberg’s new $40 million indoor facility rises behind the stands at Edwards-Maurer Field. The football players see it take shape every time they take the field, though it won’t be ready in time for them to use it this season.

Coach Joe Fincham’s focus now is on the present. That means a 2-0 start and a 7 p.m. home game Saturday against Kenyon.

The Tigers, ranked 14th in the D3Football.com poll, routed Oberlin 45-14 last weekend in their first road game and first North Coast Athletic Conference game of the season.

“We had a lot of improvements,” Fincham said. “We certainly had a lot of big plays in the game.”

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The play of quarterback Jake Kennedy impressed Fincham the most. He completed 27 of 34 passes for 310 yard with four touchdowns. He has seven touchdown passes in two games and has completed 72.1 percent of his passes.

“I thought he played good in the Westminster game,” Fincham said, “but he made some rhythm throws and things like that, which quite frankly we hadn’t seen him make in the past.”

If there was a negative for Wittenberg’s offense at Oberlin, it was the start. The Tigers scored three points on their first three possessions and trailed 7-3 entering the second quarter.

“The first drive,we have three pre-snap penalties, and we fumble inside the 20,” Fincham said. “You could make all the excuses — long bus ride, week off, all those things — but at the end of the day, they’re still excuses and you’ve got to go play.”

The defense also faltered in the first quarter. Oberlin scored a touchdown against Wittenberg for the first time since 2014. The Tigers won the last three seasons by scores of 62-0, 35-3 and 34-0.

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Wittenberg’s defense played better the rest of the way. The Yeomen went three-and-out on two of their next three possessions and threw an interception.

“I thought we played more physical defense than what we did in the first ballgame,” Fincham said. “The resounding deal right now is we’ve got to find some consistency in our play. We’ve played two games now. You’re going to have some slow moments in any ballgame. It’s not just 60 minutes of gas on the fire. But you can’t start slow on the road like we did, and you can’t have the third quarter we had in the Westminster game and think you’re going to have success every Saturday.”

Note: After beating Oberlin for the 20th straight time, Wittenberg seeks its 26th straight victory against Kenyon. The Lords haven’t beaten the Tigers since 1914, though they did tie them once in 1921.

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