September 6, 2013

Callahan, Koudossou Lead #5 Wesley Over #20 Widener

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DOVER, DEL. – Quarterback Joe Callahan and wide receiver Steve Koudossou set several school-records on the day, and along with an impressive defensive effort in the second half, the fifth-ranked Wesley College football team defeated No. 20 Widener, 33-21, in the first-ever night football game at Scott D. Miller Stadium on Friday night.

Callahan, a redshirt sophomore from Absecon, N.J., set new single-game marks for completions (37) and yards passing (510) along with five touchdowns in his first career start.  Catching nearly half of those passes was Koudossou, the speedy receiver from Waldorf, Md., who established new records for receptions (17) and receiving yards (266), while tying the school-record for touchdowns receiving (four).

The previous passing records belonged to Wesley Hall of Famer Jason Visconti, who completed 32 passes for 476 yards against Rowan in 2001.  Koudossou shattered Larry Beavers' eight-year-old record of 239 yards, which was set against Mary Hardin-Baylor in 2005. His receptions in a single-game broke the old record of 11, which was first set by Joe Naselli vs. Catholic in 1991 and Gene Knight against Mississippi in 2009. Three others, Duane Martin, Beavers, and all-time leading receiver Michael Clarke had all previously caught four touchdowns in a single game.

Not to be overlooked, however, was the Wolverines defense, which held the Pride to just 270 total yards while recording eight sacks and 13.0 tackles for loss. More importantly, Wesley, who trailed 21-20 at halftime, held Widener scoreless in the second half and forced three three-and-outs. The Wolverines finished the night with 644 total yards and held the ball for over 13 minutes longer than the Pride.

From the beginning of the game, it looked like it would be the Anthony Davis vs. Koudossou matchup, two of the best receivers in the Nation. Davis, who was a preseason All-American, caught six passes for 97 yards in the first half and also returned two kicks for over 100 yards, while Koudossou, had already matched a school-record for catches with 11 in the first half, along with 123 yards and two touchdowns. 

Davis was not as impressive in the second half as the Wolverines made several defensive adjustments at the half and held Davis to just two catches for six yards in the second half.

Widener got out in front early on as freshman quarterback Seth Klein hit Jermaine Quattlebaum from ten yards out, but Wesley answered on its ensuing possession with an identical ten yard pass from Callahan to Koudossou.  Two-straight touchdown runs by the Pride gave them a 21-7 lead with 9:19 to go in the second quarter, but a turnover led to Callahan's second touchdown pass, this time a 25-yard strike to Jeremiah Howe, who finished with seven catches for 103 yards.

Just before the half, Callahan found Koudossou on a fade route in the corner of the endzone to cut the deficit to a single point at 21-20 and that is how it went into intermission.

The second half was dominated by Wesley. Midway through the third quarter, Klein attempted a fly-route to Davis, who was being blanket covered by Derrick Bender. Bender tipped the ball in the air and Jared Morris, the Wolverines All-American free safety, was there to pick it off. Wesley didn't capitalize immediately, but the momentum definitely shifted as Widener went three-and-out and the Wolverines then responded with an eight-play, 81-yard drive which culminated in the third touchdown pass to Koudossou as the third quarter expired.

To start the fourth quarter, Wesley forced another three-and-out, as Aamir Petrose and Malik Jones combined on a sack. Passes to Matt Bundy and Howe gave the Wolverines a first down, and after a reverse to Bryce Shade went for three yards, Callahan hit Koudossou for a 70-yard catch and run for a score to make the score 33-21 with 11:30 left to play.

Head Coach Mike Drass stepped up the defensive pressure from then on as Wesley was credited for six sacks in the final 15 minutes.

Before a capacity crowd of 2,500, the Wolverines also were able to move the ball well on the ground, carrying the ball 40 times for 134 yards.  Brandon Wright ran for a game-high 60 yards on just nine carries which included a 28-yard scamper on his first carry of the year.  Eugene Byrd and Kennard Squirrell also combined for 60 yards on 15 carries.

Defensively, Jordan Wescott led all players with 13 tackles and while All-American linebacker Sosthene Kapepula finished with nine and 1.5 tackles for loss.  Petrose record 2.5 sacks on the night while Jones and Isaiah Ingram finished with two sacks apiece.  Joseph Lane and Payton Rose also were credited with tackles on the quarterback behind the line-of-scrimmage.

 The road for Wesley does not get any easier as they play host to nationally-ranked Salisbury on September 14, at 1 pm.

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