Saturday, October 14, 2017

Widener's Defense Leads Again as Football Downs Lycoming on Homecoming

Jr. DB Justin Hardy intercepts a Sr. QB Collin Wright pass for a pick six that broke the game wide open.
CHESTER, Pa. – The Widener University football team got two more defensive scores and held the ball for more than 32 minutes on offense as the Pride improved to 5-2 on the season with a 31-17 homecoming victory against the Lycoming Warriors in front of a sellout crowd of 4,000 fans at Leslie C. Quick Jr. Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Things did not start well for the Blue and Gold as Lycoming went up 10-0 by the end on the first quarter on a 28-yard field goal and two yard touchdown run. Widener got on the board with its defense midway through the second frame as Jordan Powell came up with his fourth interception and third pick six of the year, slicing the lead to 10-7. Forcing a fourth down on Lycoming's next possession, the Pride took advantage of a mistake as the snap sailed high and into the end zone where the Warriors' punter fell on it for a safety.

After turning Lycoming aside on the first drive of the second half, the Widener offense went to work. Starting from its own 14, the Pride went the length of the field, the last 35 yards covered on a Sean McGaughey pass to Montrell Hicks-Taylor to put the Blue and Gold up 16-10. On its next possession, Lycoming turned the ball over on downs on an incomplete pass on fourth and three from the Widener 26. The Pride then turned in its longest drive of the season taking 15 plays to go 74 yards in 8:19 before Chris Randle plunged in from a yard out before converting the two-point play himself, extending the lead to 24-10. Lycoming scored once more a minute later to keep things close. With one last chance taking the ball over with 80 seconds left and no timeouts on its own five, Justin Hardy put the Warriors away with an interception before scampering 14 yards to paydirt.

At halftime, the Pride honored the 1977 national championship football team, the first squad in school history to win a team national championship, for its induction in the Widener Athletics Hall of Fame.

  • Lycoming opened the scoring, taking its opening possession 68 yards in 11 plays, capped by a 28-yard Jamie Fisher field goal.
  • On the ensuing kickoff, Widener fumbled and the Warriors recovered, setting up Lycoming on the Pride 14 yard line. Five plays later, a Sam Dressler run made it 10-0.
  • Casey Kerschner led the Pride with six tackles in the opening 15 minutes.

  • The game started to turn as with Lycoming driving, Jordan Powell picked off a Chase Williams pass and took it 40 yards to the house for his third pick six and fourth defensive touchdown of the year.
  • Widener scored again, this time on a safety two minutes later as an errant snap sailed over the head of the punter and into the end zone.
  • The Pride held the Warriors to six net yards of rushing in the period and 0-for-4 on third down.

  • Widener forced a punt following the opening kickoff of the second half before taking the ball 86 yards in eight plays, capped by a 35-yard strike from McGaughey to Hicks-Taylor, putting Widener on top.
  • After a Lycoming drive stalled, the Blue and Gold took the ball and proceeded to hold it for more than eight minutes before increasing its lead.
  • Rob Ennis, Jr. ran for 41 yards in the period.

  • Completing the drive that began in the third quarter, just under three minutes into the final stanza, Randle broke through the line from a yard out to put the Pride up 24-10.
  • The Warriors would not go away, scoring one play after a muffed punt gave them new life on the Widener 24, closing the gap to 24-17.
  • The Blue and gold slammed the door as in a last drive for Lycoming, Hardy came up with his pick six to cement the final.
  • Kerschner finished off his big day with two sacks in the frame.

  • With the win, the Widener senior class becomes the first group in school history to go 4-0 against Lycoming.
  • Hicks-Taylor has six touchdown receptions this season, all of them for 35 of more yards.
  • Powell's score was his fourth of the season. He now leads the nation in defensive touchdowns.
  • The two pick sixes marked now give Widener six defensive scores on the year, tying Mary Hardin-Baylor for the most in NCAA Division III.

TWEETABLES (140 characters or less)
  • Ennis rushes for 91 yards and the defense comes up with two more scores in a #Homecoming win for @Widener_FB vs Lyco!! GoWidener RollPride
  • Kerschner with a monster day coming up with 16 tackles and 2.0 sacks as @Widener_FB comes up with a #Homecoming win! GoWidener RollPride
  • Two more defensive touchdowns for @Widener_FB including the #NCAAD3 leading fourth of the year for Jordan Powell GoWidener RollPride

Widener has a bye week before returning to action on Saturday, Oct. 28 when it travels to Stevenson for a MAC showdown. Kickoff from Mustang Stadium is set for 1:00 p.m.

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