By ANDY WOLF
LIBERTY, Mo. — Nothing says dominance like ball control.
The University of Findlay football team possessed the pigskin for 13:49 in the first quarter against William Jewell College over two lengthy but methodical touchdown drives — the latter extending into the second quarter.
The Oilers kept the pressure on throughout and walked away with a 55-17 nonleague victory Saturday at Greene Stadium in Liberty, Mo.
“Any time you get a win on the road it’s a good thing,” UF coach Rob Keys said. “Right now we’ve got a long trip back but very satisfied with the way the kids played and handled business.”
Their 40:52 time of possession marks the second time in the Keys era that they’ve topped 40-minutes.
Findlay improved to 2-1 overall while William Jewell dropped to 0-3.
Even without 1,000-yard rusher and senior Chauncey Bridges, who didn’t make the 11-hour trip due to injury via Wednesday’s practice, the Oilers got everything they wanted in leaning heavily on the run early.
They racked up 367 rushing yards, 124 in the first quarter, with Daouda Sylla (136) and Michael Campbell (105) each topping the century mark.
Sylla has now ran for 566 yards and eight touchdowns in his last four games dating back to last season.
Campbell’s total and two scores (2, 7 yards) were both career highs.
Jacob Hill also chipped in 38 yards on six carries.
“We talked about it at length over the last three weeks, even going into the preseason, about the formula to winning and that’s controlling the line of scrimmage,” Keys said. “I thought early on in the game our offensive line and defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and it wasn’t reflective on the scoreboard. We weren’t up by 21 points but you knew that we were in control of the football game.”
Keys said it was a collective effort in setting the tone early as 19 of UF’s 25 first-quarter plays were rushes.
Only twice did a carry go for fewer than four yards.
UF took 14 plays to go 75 yards on its first drive that ended with Jason Moore winning a jumpball in the end zone for a 6-yard catch from Rhys Gervais.
The defense quickly got off the field by forcing a three-and-out with just five yards yielded.
The Oilers went right back to work.
They burned out the remaining 7:12 of the first quarter in 11 plays and scored 40 seconds and two plays into the second quarter when Gervias hit a diving Moore in the back of the end zone for a 11-yard touchdown despite interference.
“It goes back to our offensive coaches as well as the quarterback getting us in the right play,” Keys said. “We were very effective in the run game. If they’re going to start to overload the box, you’re going to go one-on-one with Jason or Airion (Kosak) or Drew (Ogletree) on the edge. Those are tough matchups.
“The chemistry between Rhys and Jason is very evident once you get into that zone. They’ve worked a lot at those completions, their timing and where the ball is going to be.”
Gervais threw for 194 yards (16 of 19) and four scores on the day, hitting Kosak on a 43-yard catch and run and Moore again for the third time from 18 yards out on consecutive scoring drives in the third quarter.
Moore led with 65 yards on six catches.
Backup quarterback and 6-foot-6 Adam Bertke scored UF’s last touchdown on a 24-yard keeper, fooling everyone with a play-fake before making a defensive back miss with a juke and going untouched the rest of the way.
William Jewell did gradually put together a touchdown drive after totaling 17 yards on two straight three-and-outs to start the game.
Quarterback Brad Strauss got WJC on the board with a 2-yard rushing score. He threw for 261 yards with a late 52-yard touchdown to Trejaun Mask on a perfectly executed screen pass.
The Oilers did pick off Strauss twice as Rhon Houston and Francis Cutchember each had the takeaways.
Houston had a team-high five tackles.
Houston was filling in at safety again for the still injured fifth-year senior Aaron Ivory.
Isaac Miles and Cutchember each had four tackles and Johnny Hopkins recorded a sack and two pass breakups.
“Defensively, we stressed at lengths going into the weeks: fast starts,” Keys said. “The last two weeks we’ve given up a touchdown on the first drive. That just can’t happen.
“I didn’t like the way the half ended. We gave up a touchdown, not enough pressure on the quarterback as I’d like. We did have the takeaways and one taken away on an offsides penalty. All in all, we played a lot of guys today.”
Findlay 6 21 21 7 — 55
William Jewell 0 10 7 0 — 17
UF — Moore 6 pass from Gervais (kick failed)
UF — Moore 11 pass from Gervais (Demler kick)
UF — Campbell 2 run (Demler kick)
WJC — Strauss 2 run (Dye kick)
UF — Sylla 4 run (Demler kick)
WJC — Dye 26 FG
UF — Kosak 43 pass from Gervais (Demler kick)
WJC — Mask 52 pass from Strauss (Dye kick)
UF — Moore 18 pass from Gervais (Demler kick)
UF — Campbell 7 run (Demler kick)
UF — Bertke 24 run (Demler kick)
First Downs 37 18
Rushes-yards 367 59
Passing Yards 220 261
Comp-Att-Int 19-24-0 23-42-2
Punts-Avg. 0-0 3-57
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 7-66 6-61
rushing — Findlay, Sylla 24-136, Campbell 17-105, Hill 6-38, Rettig 10-32, Bertke 1-24, Gdula 1-20, Slagel 3-15. William Jewell, Strauss 9-42, Dydell 3-16, Schneider 1-6, Nelson 2-2, Mask 3-(-7).
passing — Findlay, Gervais 16-19-191-0, Bertke 3-5-29-0. William Jewell, Strauss 23-40-261-2, Schneider 0-2-0-0.
receiving — Findlay, Moore 6-65, Kosak 1-43, Ogletree 2-37, Hill 2-21, Densel 2-21, Allton 3-16, Lee 1-8, Boucher 1-5, Stuffel 1-4. William Jewell, Mask 5-83, Weilant 3-37, Burch 3-37, Vann 3-35, Graft 4-22, Stulce 1-18, Gomez 1-15, Miller 1-9, Dydell 1-6, Gaudette 1-(-1).