EDWARDSVILLE (PA) – Delaware Valley College junior wideout Rasheed Bailey caught a deflected pass in the end zone with 1:29 remaining as the Aggies rallied from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit and defeated host Wilkes University, 31-27, in a Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) game.
Delaware Valley, which was coming off back-to-back overtime losses, snapped just the fifth losing streak its had since 2003 and improved to 6-3 overall and 5-3 in the MAC. The victory also clinched a school-record sixth consecutive winning season and the 10th in the last 11 years (5-5 in 2007). The Colonels dropped to 4-5 overall and 3-5 in the conference.
Things did not look good for the Aggies after Wilkes quarterback Taylor Young went deep and hit a wide-open David Claybrook for a 54-yard touchdown pass and a 27-17 lead with 9:40 remaining.
Delaware Valley quarterback Aaron Wilmer had big completions to Lewis Vincent and Rasheed Bailey on the ensuing possession with Bailey's catch going for 35 yards to the Wilkes eight-yard line. On third-and-goal from the seven, Wilmer hit tailback Chris Smallwood underneath and Smallwood plowed into the end zone for his second score of the game. Brandon Snyder's kick pulled the Aggies to within three, 27-24, with 9:40 left on the clock.
Delaware Valley looked as it if it forced and recovered a fumble on the next kickoff, but the officials ruled the player down and Wilkes kept possession. The Colonels moved the ball all the way down to the Aggie 18-yard line, but Frank Bobo's 35-yard field goal attempt was off the mark and Delaware Valley took over with 4:11 to play.
The Aggies faced a third-and-10, but Wilmer hit Dashown Waller for a first down. They then had a third-and-seven when Bailey made a leaping grab for 20 yards to the Wilkes 38. Kyle Schuberth followed with an 11-yard run to move the sticks and a catch by tight end Max Stella put the ball at the 19-yard line.
On the next play, Wilmer threw one into the back of the end zone intended for Vincent. It deflected off Vincent and a defender, but Bailey was there to grab it out of the air for a touchdown and a 31-27 lead with just 89 seconds left on the clock.
Wilkes took over at its own 32 following the kickoff and had a third-and-10 from its own 46-yard line five plays later. Aggie cornerback Chris Vega broke up a long pass to bring up fourth down. Young's next throw was knocked away by Alonzo Sadler to give the ball back to the Aggies. Two kneel downs ran off the final 42.7 seconds and Delaware Valley had the victory.
Wilkes struck first in the game as, on its second possession of the game, Patrick Ingulli's scored on a six-yard touchdown run. Late in the first and early in the second, Delaware Valley got big runs from Schuberth and Aaron Wilmer for a first-and-goal at the nine. Smallwood got the call on two straight runs and the second put him in the end zone from four yards out. Snyder hit the extra-point following the 11-play, 69-yard scoring drive and tied the game at 7-7 with 11:44 left in the first half.
On the Aggies' next possession, freshman wideout Tyler Bing lined up in the backfield, took the handoff and found the left sideline for a 31-yard touchdown run. It was the first score of his collegiate career and it capped a six-play, 74-yard drive. Snyder's extra-point gave Delaware Valley its first lead of the contest at 14-7 with 7:04 remaining in the half.
The Aggies appeared to have Wilkes stopped on the ensuing possession, but a roughing the passer penalty on a long third-down play kept the drive alive. The Colonels then used some big runs from Ingulli to drive into the red zone and Young scored on a four-yard keeper for a 14-14 ballgame with just 2:24 to go before the intermission and it remained that way at the break.
Delaware Valley scored on its first possession of the second stanza as Snyder booted a 39-yard field goal just five minutes in. However, Wilkes needed just 85 second to find the end zone after the field goal as Ingulli scored from three yards out. Two plays before, the Aggies nearly had a turnover as Frank Law forced a fumble, but it was recovered by a Colonel wide receiver and he netted an extra 39 yards. The extra-point was missed, leaving the score at 20-17 in favor of Wilkes.
Delaware Valley drove down the field and Schuberth was off to a big run, but he fumbled the ball and it bounced to the one-yard line where the Colonels recovered it. Later in the game, Young hit Claybrook for the long a touchdown and a 10-point lead. However, the Aggies rallied for the come-from-behind win.
Schuberth carried the ball 18 times for 117 yards and, in the process, became just the second player in school history (Matt Cook the other) to record three consecutive, 1,000-yard seasons. His total currently stands at 1,005 yards. Wilmer started off slow but wound up 16-for-30 for 226 yards and two scores while Bailey had five grabs for 119 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Ken Kenner-English and Danny Wynne led the defensive charge with 12 tackles apiece.
Ingulli finished with 130 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries for Wilkes. Young was 12-for-21 for 159 yards and a score. D.J. Shuttleworth had 10 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble.