By BRIAN LESTER
The Matchup: University of Findlay vs. Walsh University at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Game time set for noon.
Records: Oilers are 6-3 overall and 6-3 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Cavaliers are 3-7 overall and 2-7 in the conference.
Series: This will be the first meeting between the two teams.
Last Week: The Oilers secured their second consecutive winning season by knocking off Malone 38-14 last Saturday in the final home game of the year.
UF blanked the Pioneers in the second half and finished the game with 363 yards. MU was limited to 272 yards.
Monterae Williams rushed for 114 yards and scored two touchdowns while Clay Belton completed 8-of-16 passes for 75 yards and a score. Seth White caught four passes for 103 yards and scored twice, including once on an 81-yard scoring strike by backup Jesse Slone.
Trevor Smith paced the Oilers’ defense with eight tackles while Brandon Butler added seven tackles. Harold Jones-Quartey tallied six tackles and returned an interception for a TD, the first defensive TD of the year for the Oilers.
Ray Ballard, Richard Sumlin and Eric Palmore-Lett came through with five tackles apiece for a defense that racked up eight sacks.
Walsh is coming off of a 31-28 loss to Notre Dame College. The Cavaliers were beaten on a last-second TD pass as they dropped their second consecutive game by seven points or less.
The Cavalier held a 21-3 at halftime but couldn’t hold on for the victory. Jack Dawson was 8-of-14 for 109 yards and a TD while Steve Smith rushed for 109 yards and a score. Daryl Gary caught four passes for 89 yards and scored once.
Pierre Raymond racked up 13 tackles and Cameron Trudell tallied 12 tackles. The Cavaliers allowed 442 yards and came through with 278 yards.
Walsh forced three turnovers and turned the ball over twice. It had three sacks.
One To Watch: The Cavaliers are giving up just over 200 yards per game through the air and that should bode well for senior quarterback Clay Belton, who comes in with 2,185 passing yards on the season.
Belton has thrown for 15 touchdowns and has been picked off eight times. If he gets going early, it will open the door for the running game as well. The more balanced UF is against a physical WU defense, the more success it is going to have putting points on the board.
Keep An Eye On This WU Player: Senior running back Toba Olarewaju is playing with a broken hand but that shouldn’t slow him down in his quest to close out his career on a high note. Olarewaju has rushed for 773 yards and nine TDs this year and he needs to be at his best for the Cavaliers to have a shot at knocking off the Oilers.
What They Are Saying: I had a chance to talk with head coach Rob Keys and senior defensive back Jamon McClain at practice this week. Click on the links below to listen to their interviews.
Head Coach Rob Keys: Keys is about to wrap up his second season as the head coach of the Oilers and owns a career record of 12-8. He is 12-7 against GLIAC opponents and has a chance to lead UF to its first seven-win season since 2009 (7-4) and its first season of three losses or less since 2002 (9-2).
Defensive Back Jamon McClain: The junior is second on the team in tackles with 49 and has also picked off one pass. McClain has also recovered one fumble and has forced one fumble.
Around The GLIAC: Lake Erie at Tiffin, Malone at Ohio Dominican, Ferris State at Northern Michigan, Notre Dame College at Ashland, Grand Valley State at Saginaw Valley State, Michigan Tech at Wayne State, Hillsdale at Northwood. GLIAC Football Page.
Thoughts on Super Region 4: The GLIAC will at least have one team in the NCAA Division II playoffs because Ashland is unbeaten. But I still think the league deserves at least two bids. Grand Valley State and Saginaw Valley State are playing for the second spot and the winner should get in.
The fact that GLVC is going to get a team into the postseason bothers me because Indianapolis and Missouri S&T play in arguably the worst football conference in America. If S&T gets a bid over another GLIAC team, something seriously needs to change with the playoff system.
The GLIAC is such a tough league from top to bottom and you could make a case that it has at least three or four potential playoff teams. It deserves at least two. For a complete look at the rankings, click here.
It seems like in the blink of an eye, the season is over. The Oilers play their final game of the season this week and while they won’t win a conference title or head to the playoffs, they have made progress.
UF has a chance to finish no worse than a tie for third place in the conference. It could finish in a tie for second if SVSU knocks off GVSU. To finish at least in third isn’t bad at all for a program that was just 1-10 two years ago.
Walsh won’t be a pushover but the Oilers are the better team and this is their chance to close out the season with a complete-game win.
The key for the Oilers is to match the physicality of the Cavaliers. From an offensive standpoint, UF needs to be as balanced as possible.
Monterae Williams should have another big game, especially with this being the final one of his career. Plus, Williams will be playing in his hometown, which is an added incentive for him to play his best.
I expect the offensive line to continue to play well as a unit and the defense needs to come out and build on its performance in the second half against Malone.
The Oilers were very aggressive up front against the Pioneers, tallying eight sacks, and with the Cavaliers’ offensive line ravaged by injuries, UF needs to capitalize on that and get after a quarterback who has been average at best.
The big thing for the Oilers is to get the win and go out with a 7-3 record. It sets the stage for a successful recruiting campaign and lays the foundation for even more success during the 2013 season.
What UF needs to do is play the complete game it has been searching for all year. As I’ve said in the past, the potential has been there to do it, but inconsistency has prevented it from happening.
Walsh is far from being a powerhouse, but the Cavaliers have competed hard in every game. If the Oilers play up to their potential in all three phases, they will put themselves in a position to keep the Cavaliers from ever feeling like they have a chance to win.
I’ll have more on the game when I arrive in Canton. You can also follow me on Twitter during the game @BLester1993. Enjoy the game everyone.
Update: The Oilers are going to roll out of town with a 26-7 victory. The win gives the Oilers a 7-3 season and a bright outlook for the 2013 campaign. Good step forward for the program as UF will finish no worse than tied for third in the GLIAC.
Update: Monterae Williams scores the 50th TD of his career and the Oilers own a 26-7 lead with 10:05 to go in the game. Williams finds the end zone from 6 yards out and Tyler Johns caught a pass on the conversion attempt but couldn’t get into the end zone.
Update: Oilers cap third quarter with a 20-7 lead. Defense stepped up big with two interceptions by Feraris Golden.
Update: The Oilers haven’t had much luck moving the football in the second half. That is something UF will need to improve on next year. Oilers need to be consistent offensively from start to finish to have a chance to make that jump to conference title and playoff contender during the 2013 campaign.
Update: Oilers cranked out 278 yards in the opening half and Williams rushed for 135 yards. Belton completed 5 of his 12 passes for 91 yards and has thrown one pick. Jaryd Brown has caught three passes for 52 yards.
Walsh has managed 116 yards, including 82 by Toba Olarewaju, and Harold Jones-Quartey has racked up seven tackles. Brandon Butler tallied five tackles and former Vanlue standout Josh Kloepfer racked up four tackles. D.J. Williams added three tackles.
Update: We have arrived at halftime here in Canton. Three TDs by Williams and a solid defensive effort have helped give the Oilers a 20-7 lead at the break.
Update: Williams finds the end zone for the third time today as the offensive line continues to open up big holes. Williams scores on a 3-yard run and has 117 yards and three scores on the day. UF holds a 20-7 advantage with 1:57 to go in the half.
Update: UF defense gives up its first touchdown of the day. WU finally gets its run game going enough to set up a 7-yard TD run by Toba Olarewaju as Cavaliers cut the Oiler’s lead to 14-7 with 6:14 to go in the half.
Update: Oilers lead 14-0 at the end of one quarter.
Update: Williams continues to dominate the defense of the Cavaliers. He rushes 1 yard for his second TD of the game. He carried the ball five times on the drive and has 64 yards on the day.
Great job by Seth White to pin Walsh at the 1 on a punt and the defense never let the Cavaliers go more than 3 yards on that possession to give UF great field position.
Update: Monterae Williams scored his first TD of the day and the Oilers have a 7-0 lead with 8:38 to go in the opening quarter. Williams continues to run the ball hard. The 80-yard was aided by Clay Belton’s 34-yard run. Good work by the offensive line as well.
Update: It’s game time for the Oilers. They are taking the field and will get the ball first.
Update: This is a homecoming game for Monterae Williams and Jamon McClain. Both players were high school standouts at Canton McKinley, and for Williams, it’s a chance for him to play his final college football game on his high school field. It’s been a lot of fun watching Williams the last four years and he will definitely go down as one of greatest players in UF history.
Update: I am inside the press box high above Fawcett Stadium and the Oilers are on the field finishing their warm-ups as they get set for their season finale against Walsh.
UF has already secured its second consecutive winning season and has a chance to go 7-3, which would tie it for now worse than third in the conference. It’s a huge step forward for the program and inches the team one step closer to achieving its goal of playing for a conference title and NCAA Division II playoff berth.