MADISON, NJ - Down 28-9 in the late
stages of the third quarter, the College at Florham Devils rallied
to make it 28-23 but Wilkes stopped a potential game-winning FDU
drive in the final minute to escape with the victory in Middle
Atlantic Conference action on Saturday afternoon.
With the loss, the Devils dropped to 3-4 (0-4 MAC) while the
Colonels improved to 4-3 (3-1 MAC).
After each team stalled on their first possession of the game, but
then Wilkes went 66 yards in 11 plays to take a 7-0 lead on a
one-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Tyler
Berntsen (Long Valley, NJ/West Morris) with 7:36 left in
the first quarter. The Devils stormed right back though, as
senior running back Bayshawn Wells (Lawrence,
NJ/Lawrence) returned the ensuing kick 68 yards to set the Devils
up on the Wilkes 25 yard line. The return was the fifth
longest kickoff return in FDU history. The Devils then drove
down to the Wilkes six where they faced a fourth-and-one.
Senior quarterback Matt Jeffers (Burlington,
NJ/Burlington Twp.) converted not only the first down but he
stretched in for the touchdown to close the gap to 7-6 with 4:46
remaining in the first. The extra point however, was
On the first drive of the second quarter, the Devils went 66 yards
in nine plays capped by a 27-yard field goal from sophomore kicker
Travis Mullen (Palm Harbor, FL/East Lake) to make
it 9-7 with 10:14 to go in the first half. The big play in
the drive was a 32-yard run from Wells that took the ball from the
FDU 37 to the Wilkes 31. The Colonels responded immediately
with an 80 yard drive in seven plays to grab a 14-9 edge with 7:35
left on a one-yard touchdown run by junior running back
Zach Tivald (Edison, NJ/Edison). After a
three-and-out by FDU, Wilkes started with the ball on their own 19
yard line. Four plays later, freshman running back
Auxence Wogou (Hackettstown, NJ/Hackettstown)
raced 58 yards for a touchdown to give Wilkes a 21-9 lead with 3:54
to play in the half. The Devils pushed the ball down to the
Colonels 35 on their next series but had to punt and Wilkes took a
knee to end the first half.
FDU got the ball to begin the third quarter and senior running back
Sean Norton (Lincoln Park, NJ/Boonton) returned
the opening kickoff 53 yards to the Wilkes 35 yard line.
After Norton carried for 15 yards to set up first-and-goal from the
six, a botched option attempt pushed the ball back to the 27.
Jeffers hit senior running back Brendon Griffin
(Riverside, NJ/Riverside) for 15 yards on third down to put the
ball on the 12 but Mullen missed wide right from 29 yards out
allowing Wilkes to escape without giving up any points. The
Colonels then took advantage as they drove 80 yards in 12 plays to
grab a 28-9 lead with 7:32 left in the third on a seven-yard
touchdown run by Berntsen. Two possessions later, FDU marched
64 yards in six plays, capped by a 16-yard touchdown pass from
Jeffers to sophomore wide receiver Jon Bennett
(Howell, NJ/Freehold Twp.), to pull the Devils to within 28-16 with
2:18 to go in the quarter.
Neither offense accomplished much until the Devils took over on
their own nine yard line with 5:49 left to play in the game.
Jeffers then led FDU on a 14-play 91 drive, all 14 plays were pass
plays, that culminated in an 18-yard scoring strike to senior wide
receiver Andrew Scamporino (Secaucus, NJ/Secaucus)
to narrow the Wilkes lead to 28-23 with 2:37 remaining. On
the drive, Jeffers had five completions of 10 yards or more with
the longest being a 23-yard gain to sophomore wide receiver
Doug Van Orden (Madison, NJ/Madison) on
third-and-four from his own 30 yard line. The Devils elected
to on-side kick on the ensuing kickoff but the Colonels recovered
on the FDU 48. The Devil defense rose up though, forcing a
three-and-out, and after FDU called all three of their timeouts,
the offense got the ball on their own 15 with 2:05 to go.
Jeffers completed two passes to Van Orden for 15 total yards to
push the ball out to the 30. He then completed to senior
tight end Beau Reed (Ocean, NJ/Rumson) for five
yards, but on second-and-five from the FDU 35, Jeffers was
intercepted by freshman linebacker Tate
Moore-Jacobs (New Cumberland, PA/Cedar Cliff) as he was
trying to throw it away. Wilkes was then able to take a knee
and run out the rest of the clock to hold on for the win.
Jeffers finished the game 25-of-40 for 252 yards to go along with
two touchdowns and two interceptions. Van Orden caught eight
passes for 74 yards while Griffin ran 10 times for 46 yards and
added five catches for 36 yards. On defense, senior safety
Gino Abbate (Port Reading, PA/Woodbridge) led the
way with a game-high 10 tackles. Junior linebacker
Steve Hoverson (Middletown, NJ/Middletown North)
made eight stops and had a sack while sophomore safety Joe
Mancini (Miller Place, NY/Miller Place) also had eight
tackles. Senior defensive end George Gibson
(Hazlet, NJ/Raritan) had five tackles, two for loss, while junior
defensive back Sean McPherson (Brick, NJ/Brick)
and freshman linebacker Michael Mancino (Weston,
FL/Cypress Bay) split a sack.
The Devils return to action on Saturday, October 30, 2010, at home
against Albright beginning at 1 pm.