Written and posted by Wesley College Sports Information
DOVER, Del. - Wesley College's Shane McSweeny (Bensalem, Pa./Bensalem) threw for 336 yards and five touchdowns as the Wolverines downed Hobart 35-28 in the NCAA First Round.
The Wesley defense also came up big in the game, stopping the Statesmen three times inside the five yard line during the game.
The Wolverines got on the scoreboard first as McSweeny hit Jared Morris (Toms River, N.J./Toms River East) for an eight-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter. The play capped an eight-play, 41-yard drive.
Wesley's passing game showed its big play capability on its next possession. On third and 16 from the Wesley 28, McSweeny found Steven Koudossou (Waldorf, Md./Westlake) for a 72-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 4:03 left in the opening period.
The Statesmen put together a 13-play drive during the end of the first quarter and the opening of the second period. Hobart drove as deel as the Wesley two on fourth and goal, but Jeff Morgan (Vineland, N.J./Vineland) stuffed Bobby Dougherty for a five-yard loss to snuff the opportunity.
Defensive lineman Nick Auriemma picked off a screen pass later in the second quarter as Hobart took over at the Wesley 12. One pass from Kelly Olney to Brendan Hatlee was followed by three straght rushes by Dougherty, who eventually scored on a one-yard run to cut the Wolverines' lead in half.
McSweeny, however, found Koudossou on Wesley's second play of its next drive for a 66-yard score and the Wolverines' quickly rebuilt their two score advantage.
Hobart benefitted from another Wesley miscue as Reggie Robinson recovered a fumble that started an eight-play, 32-yard drive capped by a one-yard plunge by Steven Webb.
Matt Barile (Bel Air, Md./Fallston) was on the receiving end of a 42-yard touchdown on Wesley's next drive with just 17 seconds to go in the half as the Wolverines went into the locker room ahead 28-14 behind 249 yards and four touchdowns from McSweeny.
The Statesmen cut it to a one-score game in the third period when Drake Woodard blocked a punt and Devin Worthington returned it 24 yards for a touchdown to make it 28-21 with 8:01 left in the quarter.
Wesley followed it with a 13-play, 60-yard drive that ate up over seven minutes of game time, ending with McSweeny hitting Sean McAndrew (Lanoka Harbor, N.J./Lacey Township) in the back corner of the end zone on a 15-yard score for a 35-21 lead.
Three straight incomplete passes forced Hobart to punt, but the Wolverines fumbled the return to give the Statesmen the ball at the Wesley 16 yard line. A penalty and an seven-yard completion set up a one-yard run by Webb that cut it to 35-28 at the end of the third quarter.
Kelly Olney hit Elvin Souffrant for 34 yards on Hobart's first possession of the fourth quarter and the Statesmen continued to move into Wesley territory eventually making it inside the five yard line. Webb was thrown for a one-yard loss by Devin Hardy (Baltimore, Md./Eastern Tech) and Paul Gilstrop (Lindenwold, N.J./Paul VI) on first down. Dakevis Howard (Wilmington, Del./Concord) broke up a pass on second down and Dominique Herald (Newark, N.J./Pennington School) hurried Olney on third down. On fourth down, Olney overthrew Junior Woodard in the end zone as Wesley came up with another red zone stop.
After a Wesley punt, the Statesmen again moved down the field inside the red zone with a chance to tie the game. On first and goal from the 10, Olney rushed for a yard, then hit Souffrant for a seven-yard gain on second down. On third and goal from the two, Mike Asiedu (Yonkers, N.Y./Gorton) and Leon Jones (Lindenwold, N.J./Lindenwold) stuffed Webb for a three-yard loss. Fourth down again saw Olney look in Woodard's direction, but the pass was incomplete as the Wolverines held with just 1:43 to play.
Two runs by McSweeny picked up a first down and Wesley was able to run out the clock.
In addition to his performance passing, McSweeny rushed for a team-high 61 yards, one more than Askia Jahad (Williamstown, N.J./Williamstown). McSweeny reached a pair of milestones in the win. He topped 7,000 yards passing in his career and tied Jason Visconti for second all-time at Wesley with 77.
Koudossou had a career day with five catches for 166 yards and two long touchdowns.
Defensively, Asiedu was all over the field making 14 tackles to lead Wesley. Howard had seven tackles and was disruptive in coverage, breaking up five passes. Morgan had six tackles, two for loss and a sack.
For Hobart, Olney was just 16-of-37 for 211 yards. Webb rushed for 45 yards and added another 93 receiving.
Robinson led the Statesmen with a game-high 15 tackles, forced a fumble and recovered another. Dane Wilcoxen had 1.5 sacks. Auriemma had 1.5 tackles for loss in addition to his interception.
Wesley outgained Hobart 473 to 291, but four Wolverine turnovers and 157 penalty yards helped the Statesmen stay in the game.
With the victory, Wesley has now won at least 10 games six times in the last seven years and has won at least one NCAA Playoff game in each of those seven seasons.
The Wolverines will face Linfield on November 26 in the NCAA Second Round.
Hobart Coach Mike Cragg on his team's ability to stay in the game every time Wesley scored: "We kept fighting to come back. Fighting to stay in it. It really showed a lot of heart."
Coach Cragg on his team's chances in the fourth quarter: "We had opportunities late to tie it and just had to connect on some passes, but there was an overthrow."
Coach Cragg on Wesley's wide receivers: "They have some great weapons at wide receiver. They are really fast. We were in a nickel and knew they were going to pass, but a kid still got five yards behind us. They have great talent and did a great job."
Coach Cragg on his defense holding Wesley to just seven second half points: "We tried to get more pressure. We run blitzed and pass blitzed. We were behind so we felt we had to gamble a little more. They couldn't connect with some open guys. We used the blitz to try to confuse them and slow them down."
Wesley wide receiver Steve Koudossou on why he was able to be successful in the game: "It's just hard work. Our coaches push us to get better every day."
Koudossou on having to hold on for the win: "We knew we had to stick together. We talk about that a lot. We just stuck together and things didn't get rough."
Koudossou on Hobart: "All week our coaches said it was going to be a good game and you can't take anyone lightly."
Wesley Coach Mike Drass on Hobart: "I just want to congratulate them on a great season. They have an outstanding team. Coach Cragg has been first class all week and they just have a great team. It was a great game."
Coach Drass on turnovers: "We're going to have to watch this film and talk about turnovers and field position. Giving them the ball in our territory gave the opportunities to tie the game."
Coach Drass on penalties: "I want to watch the film. I can't believe we had 13 penalties. I want to watch the film so we can teach the team to do better."
Coach Drass on the win: "Winning is never easy. No matter who you're playing, executing and winning is never easy."
Coach Drass on the defense: "Hobart made some plays, but I thought we tightened things up in the red zone and made it difficult for them to score."
Coach Drass on defensive stands: "We tried to get some pressure. We knew it would be a three-step drop to get the ball out quick. We tried to play some press coverage at the line to get some contact. On one of the plays, a good pass would've gotten them a score."
Coach Drass on Steve Koudossou: "He averages way over 25 yards per touch. We're trying to get him the ball more. He's really becoming a better receiver as the year goes on. He's already a great runner. He's a guy over the next few years who should continue to develop."
Coach Drass on Hobart's Kelly Olney, playing due to a concussion to Nick Strang: "We thought both quarterbacks were good when we watched film. We looked at nine (Olney) and thought he was special player."
Wesley quarterback Shane McSweeny on Hobart: "They fought hard and played great. We gave them some opportunities with some mistakes. You can't give a team life and you have to give them credit for playing a great game."
McSweeny on the Wesley defense: "The defense played great. We put them in some tough spots."
Jeff Morgan on defensive stands: "We knew somebody had to make a play. We knew we had to get the stop."
Morgan on penalties: "We had a lot of penalties. Personal fouls. It's dangerous in the playoffs because everyone is on the same level. We need to regroup and play with discipline."
McSweeny on the win: "We didn't win maybe the way we wanted, but Coach just says advance and that's what we work for. We have a great defense with Jeff Morgan, Chris Mayes, Mike Asiedu and they're not going to let us lose."
McSweeny on Koudossou: "No one is going to bring him down on the first tackle. He's going to make someone miss."