BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- Sophomore quarterback Jimmy Lahue connected on a 44-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Will McLaughlin with seven seconds remaining in the first half to cap a frantic final two and a half minutes before the intermission and give the Moravian College football team a 21-7 victory over McDaniel College in the 2012 Centennial Conference opener for both schools at Rocco Calvo Field Saturday.
Moravian received the opening kickoff but would punt after three plays. The Green Terror started from their own 38-yard line. Junior running back Joe Rollins carried the ball on four of the first five plays for McDaniel; however, he was ejected from the game after a personal foul on the fifth play. The Green Terror continued the drive and had a third-and-goal at the four yard line when sophomore quarterback Nick Valori was intercepted in the end zone by Greyhounds' sophomore linebacker Kevin Bracken. Bracken would return the ball seven yards to set up Moravian's second drive of the game.
The Greyhounds, now 1-1 overall and 1-0 in conference action, would cap that 93-yard drive and take a 7-0 lead with 6:28 left in the first quarter when senior running back Joe Tegan went through the middle on a first-and-20 play and ran 76 yards down the far side line for a touchdown and Moravian's first points of the season. Senior Tyler Thompson added the extra point with 6:28 left in the first quarter.
After the teams traded punts, McDaniel would start on its own 12-yard line with 12:39 before halftime. The Green Terror put together an 18-play, 88-yard drive that included a fourth down conversion before senior Matt Emerson scored on an 18-yard run with 2:32 before the intermission. Junior Bill Castor would add the extra-point to knot the score at 7-7.
Junior tight end Chase Zimnik returned the ensuing kickoff to the Moravian 43-yard line where he was hit out-of-bounds and the penalty started the Moravian drive at the McDaniel 42-yard line. Lahue completed five straight passes to move the Greyhounds into the red zone before senior running back C.J. Billera scored on a seven-yard run to put the Greyhounds back in front. A bad snap on the extra-point attempt had freshman wide receiver/holder Jimmy McCarthy attempt a pass that was short, leaving the score at 13-7 with 1:06 until halftime.
Valori would throw his second of three interceptions on the first play of the Green Terror's next drive with Moravian senior linebacker Luke Trexler intercepting the pass at the McDaniel 46-yard line.
Lahue picked up nine yards on a rush on first down before being sacked on second down. Lahue then heaved a pass from near midfield to the near corner of the end zone where McLaughlin out-jumped the defense and pulled in his first career touchdown reception. Lahue then connected with McCarthy for a two-point conversion to push Moravian's advantage to 21-7 with just seven seconds before halftime.
McDaniel started the second half with the ball and moved from its own 10-yard line to near midfield before Valori was intercepted by Greyhounds junior defensive back Brandon Lesko at the Moravian 27-yard line.
The Greyhounds picked up a first down and moved to the McDaniel 48-yard line after four plays. At that point, lightning was detected within eight miles of the stadium and the game went into a delay that lasted one hour for lightning and heavy rain. After the delay, Moravian continued its drive and moved into the red zone before Tegan was stripped of the ball by senior defensive lineman Roger McGuinn at the McDaniel 12-yard line. Junior defensive lineman Pat Tighe covered the ball for the Green Terror.
After the teams traded punts again, McDaniel began a drive at its own 16-yard line. Three plays into the possession, sophomore quarterback Seth McFall had a pass intercepted by Moravian sophomore defensive back Rick Sinnig.
The Greyhounds would move from the McDaniel 34-yard line down to the 20 before Thompson came on to attempt a 37-yard field goal with 8:20 left in the fourth quarter. The attempt sailed wide left to keep the score 21-7 Moravian.
Each team would punt one more time before McDaniel turned the ball over on downs and Moravian took three knees to run out the clock.
The Greyhounds had 339 yards of offense on 64 plays including 161 yards in the first quarter, which was 15 more yards than Moravian had in its season opening game. Lahue led the offense going 14-for-22 for 178 yards and a touchdown while Tegan added 129 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Billera finished with 38 yards on nine attempts, and he caught two passes for 12 yards. McCarthy grabbed a game high five passes for 72 yards while sophomore Terry Rodriguez had two catches for 25 yards. Senior Albie Moran also had two receptions for eight yards while McLaughlin made his one catch count with the 44-yard touchdown.
Emerson led McDaniel with a career high 153 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries while junior running back Patrick Steele had 45 yards on eight attempts. Rollins had 15 yards on four carries before leaving the game. Valori completed seven-of-11 passes for 36 yards but was intercepted three times while McFall was four-for-nine for 28 yards and an interception. Senior tight end Shane Edmond and senior wide receiver Casey Briggs each had three receptions for the Green Terror with Edmond adding 26 yards and Briggs gaining 20 yards.
Senior defensive back Travis King led the Moravian defense with eight tackles while freshman linebacker Brendan Downey had seven tackles in his first collegiate start. Bracken was one of three Greyhounds with six tackles to go with his interception while sophomore defensive lineman Nick Melillo and junior defensive lineman Fran Corbett each had six stops. Freshman defensive lineman Ryan Pysher had one and a half sacks to lead the Greyhounds.
Junior linebacker Mike Cousar led the McDaniel defense with 14 tackles including a sack while McGuinn had nine stops with two for loss and a forced fumble. Senior defensive back Tim McLister had eight tackles for the Green Terror, and he added a pass breakup.
Moravian will make its first road trip of the season next Saturday when the Greyhounds travel to Baltimore to battle Johns Hopkins University in a 2:00 p.m. Centennial Conference game at Homewood Field.