Football Welcomes Findlay for Homecoming, National Showcase Game

David Turner (Photo by Andrew Cugliari)
David Turner (Photo by Andrew Cugliari)

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Dominican football team will be in the national spotlight for the second consecutive week, as they host Findlay during Homecoming and Hall of Fame weekend.

The (RV) Panthers and Oilers are slated to open Great Midwest Athletic Conference play at 12:05 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, at Panther Stadium in the NCAA Division II National Showcase Game of the Week. The contest will be the home opener for ODU and will stream live on ESPN3. The Black & Gold are 8-7 all-time in home openers, including wins in each of the past two seasons.

ODU is coming off a 48-21 setback to defending national champion and top-ranked Valdosta State (Ga.) last Saturday. The game, which was streamed nationally on ESPN3, marked the first time in program history that the Panthers had faced a defending national champion or No. 1 ranked team.

Sophomore Evan Ernst (Mason, Ohio) accounted for three touchdowns, rushing across the goal line once and tossing two scores to junior Devanaire Conliffe (Willohgby, Ohio). Ernst completed 18-of-27 passes for 210 yards, improving his season completion percentage to .742, which ranks seventh nationally.

Conliffe hauled in five passes for a career-high 131 yards against the Blazers. The junior now has eight catches this fall for 227 yards and four touchdowns. Three of his four scores have come from over 30 yards out. His receiving yard and touchdown totals both rank inside the top 15 nationally.

A trio of Panthers had double-digit tackles in the loss to VSU, a feat that had not been accomplished since a 57-17 win over Malone last October. Senior Camren Moore (New Carlisle, Ohio) and junior Jayden Davis (Springfield, Ohio) tied for the team-high with 13 total tackles. Junior Dauson Dales (Defiance, Ohio) added 10 stops, giving him back-to-back outings with double-digit tackles. Senior Alessio Amato (Zanesville, Ohio) added a career-best seven tackles to go along with a fumble recovery. Amato also picked off a pass in Week One, giving him two of ODU's five takeaways this season.

Findlay treks south with a 1-1 record and is coming off a 31-21 victory over Northwood (Mich.) last Saturday. The Oilers scored all 31 points in the first half and were led by quarterback Matt Winzeler, who tossed for 236 yards and three touchdowns. Findlay nearly upset the No. 2 ranked team in the country Week One, falling at Ferris State, 24-23, after failing on a two-point conversion in the final minute of play.

ODU and Findlay are no strangers to the national spotlight, as Saturday's meeting will be the third meeting in a showcase game in series history. To go along with a 6-1 all-time record against the Oilers, the Panthers have won both nationally televised/streamed games, 41-21 in 2013 and 34-21 in 2018.

Contact: Tyler Jester

jestert@ohiodominican.edu