DOVER, Del. – After falling behind 7-0, Wesley College's sixth-ranked football team scored 24 straight points and went on to beat Virginia University of Lynchburg, 24-7, on Saturday afternoon at Scott D. Miller Stadium.
On the opening kickoff, Wesley (5-1) was successful with some trickery and recovered an onside kick. Unfortunately the Wolverines were not able to capitalize on the field position and were forced to punt by the Dragons. VUL (1-5) went three-and-out on its first possession and after a Wesley turnover, the Dragons drove 81 yards for a touchdown with 1:24 left in the first quarter.
A kick return from Jeremiah Howe on the ensuing kickoff sparked a scoring drive for the Wolverines as he returned the ball 33 yards to the Wesley 43-yard line. A facemask penalty and a 21 yard pass from Justin Sottilare to Devar Robinson got the Navy & White into field goal range, and with 12:59 left in the half, Dan Tryon hit a 25-yarder to cut the deficit to 7-3.
Wesley forced a punt on VUL's next possession and Sean Hopkins returned the punt to midfield, giving Wesley good field possession once again. A pass to Matt Bundy for 11 yards, followed by a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty once again got Wesley into Tryon's range, but on third-and 25, Sottilare hit Steven Koudossou on a post pattern for a 39 yard touchdown.
Both teams went scoreless for the final 5:14 of the half and also the entire third quarter but Wesley extended its lead to ten on a pass from Sottilare to converted fullback Chris Cummings midway through the fourth. The reception was Cummings first career touchdown catch.
Dyamond Ruffin quickly gave the ball back to Wesley as he intercepted a pass that was deflected by Luke Maginnis. Starting the ball at midfield once again, Eugene Byrd came into the game at running back and ran the ball five times for 24 yards before crossing the goal-line on a five-yard run. The score was the first of Byrd's career, but more importantly put Wesley up 24-7 with under three minutes to play.
Wesley's defense allowed VUL to record just 184 yards of total offense, a season-best for the Wolverines, and only 15 yards came through the air. On the flipside, Wesley recorded 277 yards of offense, including 235 passing yards from Sottilare who completed 20 of 35 passes.
Howe caught a team-high four passes for 46 yards while Koudossou hauled in three passes for 56 yards. Brandon Robinson led the team with 64 receiving yards.
Field position and penalties played a major role in the game as the teams combined for 20 penalties and 209 yards. On the average, Wesley started their drives at its own 43, with Hopkins returning three punts for 116 yards, an average of 38.7 yards a return.
Defensively, Wesley was led by Sosthene Kapepula with ten tackles while Eugene Lott and Jeremy Keith recorded sacks. Jared Morris and Devin Hardy were also in on a tackle for loss.
The Wolverines will now go on the road for two-straight games, starting with a cross country trip to Atherton, Calif., for a game against Menlo College on October 20 at 3 pm Eastern. Menlo is currently ranked 23rd in the NAIA.