DePauw Tigers picked third; Wittenberg tops predictions

Thursday, August 16, 2018

CLEVELAND — After winning its league-leading 15th North Coast Athletic Conference football title last fall, Wittenberg has been tabbed to repeat as conference champion in 2018, based on the preseason coaches’ poll, released Thursday.

The Tigers, who had a perfect 10-0 regular season in 2017, collected seven of the 10 possible first-place votes, totaling 96 points. Wabash picked up one first-place vote and 85 points overall, good enough for second place. DePauw (81 pts) and Denison (75) secured the final two first-place votes and were slotted third and fourth, respectively.

Ohio Wesleyan rounded out the top five in the coaches’ poll with 57 points. Wooster (46), Allegheny (42), Oberlin (26), Hiram (23) and Kenyon (19) filled out six through 10 in the standings.

Wittenberg enters the season ranked 14th in the preseason poll. The Tigers return offensive threats in the form of senior quarterback Jake Kennedy, and senior wideouts Thaddeus Snodgrass and Liam Duncan.

Kennedy returns as the signal-caller, having thrown for 43 touchdowns and more than 5,000 yards in the past two seasons. Senior running back DeShawn Sarley also returns for the Tigers, carrying the ball 152 times for 767 yards in 2017.

On the other side of the ball, Wittenberg looks to fill the void of 2017 NCAC Defensive Player of the Year, Chandler Ferko, while leading tacklers Terrance Crowe and Jonathan Seay return at linebacker.

Head Coach Joe Fincham enters his 23rd season as the Tigers’ coach after winning his 200th career game in 2017.

Fincham owns a career record of 201-44 at Wittenberg.

The 2018 NCAC football campaign kicks off on Sept. 1 with a conference matchup in week one as Wabash travels to Hiram.

Seven other conference teams take on non-conference opponents in the opening weekend, while DePauw remains idle.

NCAC preseason football poll

Team (1st)Pts.
1. Wittenberg (7)96
2. Wabash (1)85
3. DePauw (1) 81
4. Denison (1)75
5. Ohio Wesleyan57
6. Wooster46
7. Allegheny42
8. Oberlin26
9. Hiram23
10. Kenyon19