Nov. 21, 2009

Courtesy Wesley Athletics

DOVER, Del. - Quarterback Shane McSweeny (Bensalem, Pa./Bensalem) accounted for six touchdowns as Wesley College defeated North Carolina Wesleyan 55-23 in the NCAA Division III Football Championships First Round.

The junior quarterback threw for 299 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 103 more yards and another score.

On the Wolverines (11-0) second possession of the afternoon, freshman Brandon Wright (Clayton, N.J./Clayton) rushed off tackle for 20 yards to give Wesley a 7-0 lead. 

The Battling Bishops (8-3), however, answered right back.  Quarterback Bo Jordan hit the dangerous Orlando Webb, who used a wall of blockers to run down the sideline on a 67-yard touchdown.

At the start of the first quarter, Wesley took over at its own 20 yardline.  McSweeny rushed for 28 yards, then hit Gene Knight (Baltimore, Md./Overlea) with a short pass that turned into a 38-yard gain that moved the ball down to the three yardline.  Two plays later, Sean McAndrew (Lanoka Harbor, N.J./Lacey Twp.) hauled in a three-yard score.  Joel Creef busted in to block the extra point, however, and the Wolverines led 13-7.

Later in the quarter, Wesley forced North Carolina Wesleyan to punt, but fumbled the return, setting up the Battling Bishops at the Wesley 31.  Jordan went to Webb two more times, once for 24 yards and the next for a seven yard strike and a 14-13 lead after the extra point with 6:35 to go in the half.

Another turnover on the Wolverines' next series gave North Carolina Wesleyan possession at Wesley's 30.  The Battling Bishops eventually moved down to the Wesley four after a 12 yard run by Teron Bush.  But after a penalty and a fumbled snap, the drive stalled and NCWC had to settle for a 28-yard field goal and a 17-13 lead with 1:13 to go in the half.

As has been the case several times this season, the Wesley offense ran the hurry up to perfection.  McSweeny threw a perfect pass downfield to Ellis Krout (Dallas, Texas/Roosevelt), who made the catch between a pair of defenders for a 46-yard gain.  After a pair of incompletions, Wesley converted the third down with a pass to Leonard Stevenson (Nanjemoy, Md./Lackey).  On the next play, McSweeny hit Knight in the middle of the end zone for the 11 yard score and a 20-17 lead at the half.

Wesley opened the second half with another scoring drive.  The Wolverines went 59 yards in six plays, capped by a seven-yard touchdown from McSweeny to Krout for the 27-17 lead.

Two more touchdowns late in the period put the game away.  Wesley put together a 51 yard drive, all on the ground, scoring on an 11-yard run by McSweeny for a 34-17 lead.  Justin Strickland (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall) blocked a punt on the next possession and the Wolverines took over at the Battling Bishop 11.  After an incomplete pass, Barry Garrard (Piscataway, N.J./Piscataway) rushed 11 yards to paydirt for a 41-17 lead after the third quarter.  

The third period ended and the fourth quarter began with North Carolina Wesleyan on the move.  On the second play of the quarter, Jordan got into the end zone with a one yard run as Battling Bishops tried to mount a comeback, trailing 41-23 after Mike Ward (Norwich, Conn./Norwich Free Academy) blocked the extra point.

The Wolverines needed just four plays to answer.  McSweeny hit Krout for 67 yards and a touchdown and Wesley jumped ahead 48-23 with 12:23 left in the game.

After the Battling Bishops forced four turnovers in the first half, Wesley got in on the action with an interception by Aaron Benson (Swarthmore, Pa./Strath Haven) in the end zone to prevent a potential NCWC touchdown.  After the 21-yard return, the Wolverines kept the ball on the ground, running seven times in the next eight plays.  Then on second and goal at the Battling Bishop nine, McSweeny was forced from the pocket and hit by several defenders as he tried to throw the ball away.  The ball went high into the air and came down into the waiting arms of McAndrew in the back corner of the end zone to cap the scoring.

Ward, Jeff Morgan (Vineland, N.J./Vineland) and Dakevis Howard (Wilmington, Del./Concord) tied for the team lead with six tackles.  Ward added two tackles for loss, a sack, knocked down two passes and blocked an extra point.  Chris Mayes (Walforf, Md./Westlake) had three tackles for loss and two sacks.

The defense shutdown the North Carolina Wesleyan rush attack, limiting it to just 44 yards on 25 carries.

McSweeny completed 15-of-28 passes, rebounding from a 1-of-6 start in the first quarter to hit on 14-of-22 the rest of the way.  In addition to his five touchdowns, he was intercepted twice.

Both Krout and McAndrew caught a pair of touchdowns.  Krout had four receptions for 130 yards, while McAndrew had four catches for 42 yards.  Knight had the other touchdown reception as one of his team-high five grabs, covering 87 yards.

Jordan completed 25-of-46 passes for the Battling Bishops for 333 yards and two scores.  Webb caught of those completions for 167 yards and two touchdowns, while three other players had four catches apiece. 

Creef had a game-high seven tackles for NCWC.  Antonio Harris also filled up the stat sheet with 1.5 tackles for loss, a fumble return for 37 yards and a pass breakup.

With the win, Wesley will host Mississippi College in the second round on November 28 at noon at the Scott D. Miller Stadium.