The Lycoming College football team's defense forced seven turnovers on Saturday, Oct. 20, with both sophomore Tanner Troutman and junior Kabongo Bukasa picking off two passes, but a 34-yard touchdown reception by Widener's Anthony Davis with 17 seconds left helped 14th-ranked Widener come from behind to defeat Lycoming, 28-23, in front of 4,235 fans on Homecoming.
The Pride (7-0 overall, 6-0 MAC) got the ball with 1:26 left on the clock and completed two third down plays, bringing the clock down to the last few precious ticks when All-American candidate Chris Haupt, who was intercepted five times in the game, found Davis over the middle and Davis was able to roll into the end zone.
The Warriors (5-2, 5-1) held a nine-point lead with 9:13 left in the final quarter after Bukasa picked off his second pass of the day to give Lycoming the ball at their own 48-yard line. Sophomore Tyler Jenny then used a flea-flicker to find senior Jarrin Campman streaking toward the right sideline for a 41-yard gain and five plays later, senior Parker Showers broke the plane for six.
Widener got back in the game, though, with a 13-play, 94-yard drive that was capped on a six-yard pass from Haupt to Couve LaFate. The Pride converted four third-down plays on the drive, including a 3-and-21 from the Lycoming 44-yard line, where Haupt found Connor Schlegal for a 38-yard gain.
Lycoming, though, picked up a first down and ran the clock under two minutes before having to punt the ball away, setting up Widener's winning drive.
Widener got on the board with their second drive of the game, as Haupt found LaFate for a 14-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and the Pride seemed to hold momentum in the second quarter, after a blocked field goal and the lead almost grew to 14 if not for a dropped pass near the Widener endzone on fourth down.
The Warriors got started, though, when Troutman stepped in front of a Haupt pass at the 46-yard line and returned it 45 yards to the one, where Jenny found senior Wes Strayer for his first career touchdown on the next play, tying the game with 6:10 left in the quarter.
After an interception on the next play after the ensuing kickoff by senior Ryan Fenningham, the Warriors worked the clock with a 13-play, 58-yard drive that finished with a wildcat touchdown on a 6-yard run by junior Matt Atkinson, giving Lycoming the 14-7 lead at the half.
Widener tied the game on their first drive of the second half, as Haupt found Connor Schlegel for an 8-yard score to cap an 11-play, 66-yard drive.
Lycoming got a great opportunity late in the third quarter, when the defense stopped Widener at a 4-and-1 at the Widener 22, but a field goal from 38 yards went wide. The Warriors got the ball right back, when sophomore Cody Butler scooped up a fumble at the 20-yard line. The Warriors drove the ball to the one-yard line and junior Zack Czap connected on a 19-yard field goal, giving Lycoming a 17-14 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter and setting up the dramatic end.
Jenny completed 18-of-30 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns, as he helped Lycoming grind up 31:42 in clock and 320 total offensive yards. Atkinson caught five passes for 53 yards and tan four times for 23 more yards and a score. SophomoreJohn Sibel caught four passes for 43 yards and Campman caught three for a team-high 72. Showers ran 16 times for 53 yards and a score and senior Craig Needhammer ran 11 times for 30 yards.
Widener ran 27 times for 94 yards, led by 32 yards from Chris Wickes, but Haupt finished 34-of-55 with four touchdowns and four interceptions. He threw for 395 yards. LaFate posted seven catches for 57 yards and two touchdowns and Davis finished with six catches for 97 yards and a touchdowns.
Troutman finished with 10 tackles and two interceptions to lead the defense, while Bukasa had nine tackles, a forced and recovered fumble and two interceptions. Senior Caleb Shertzer finished with six stops along with fellow senior Matt Talerico and Fenningham, who also had an interception and a breakup.
Joe Wojceickowski led the Pride with 15 tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery and Dylan Ditmer posted eight stops. Darius Johnson also had a sack.
The Warriors, who will now need some help to win the program's 15th MAC title, will need to win their last three games, starting with a 1 p.m. game at Wilkes on Saturday, Oct. 27.