Nov. 28, 2009

Courtesy of Wittenberg

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — The Wittenberg Tigers got back to basics in the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament, and the result was a workmanlike 34-17 victory over visiting Trine University.

The win, Wittenberg's 19th in 29 all-time NCAA Division III Tournament games, advanced the Tigers to the national quarterfinals for the fourth time since 1998 but the first time since 2001. Wittenberg, which is 12-0 overall after capturing the 2009 North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) title, will take on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the 2008 national runner-up and champion of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Warhawks, who have made four straight appearances in the NCAA Division III championship game, are ranked No. 2 in the nation and own a matching 12-0 record in 2009.

The Tigers certainly didn't turn in their most complete performance of the campaign, but on the strength of a significant time of possession advantage (38:48 to 21:12), Wittenberg simply wore down the Thunder. Trine defeated then-ninth ranked Case Western 51-38 a week earlier for its first NCAA Division III Tournament game since joining the division in 2003, but the Thunder were limited to just 250 yards in total offense by the nation's top-ranked defense.