CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Wesley College's 20th-ranked football team defeated Division I (FCS) Charlotte, 35-28, in front of 14,534 fans on Saturday afternoon at Jerry Richardson Stadium. The Wolverines, who outgained the 49ers, 522 to 353, and held the ball for over 38 minutes, are now 7-2 on the season while Charlotte now stands at 4-6.
Tied going into the fourth quarter at 21, Charlotte took the lead with a 1-yard touchdown run by Kalif Phillips with 14:56 remaining, his second of the game. Wesley got a first down on its first play of its ensuing possession on a 15-yard reverse to Steve Koudossou but was unable to convert.
The Wolverines defense then forced a three-and-out and Wesley responded with a nine-play, 62 yard drive to tie the score at 28, capped off by a 17-yard touchdown pass from Joe Callahan to Bryce Shade.
Morgan Taylor picked off a pass on Charlotte's very next play deep in Wesley territory and Ryan Gerlitz' punt forced the 49ers to start back inside their own 10-yardline. The Wolverines forced another three-and-out, the third time of the game, regaining possession around midfield with 4:34 left.
A pass to Kyle George on third-and-nine gained 39 yards as the six-foot-four, 250 pound tight end took several 49ers with him down to the 12-yardline. A pass to Koudossou got Wesley inside the five and two plays later Callahan ran for his second touchdown of the game on a sneak from a yard out with 2:14 left to play.
Charlotte had an opportunity to tie the game on its final drive, getting inside the Wesley 30-yard line, but a deflection by senior Dyamond Ruffin sealed the victory for the Wolverines.
Wesley led at one point, 14-0, after Callahan's first QB sneak for a touchdown and Callahan's toss to a leaping George in the back corner of the endzone with 4:19 left in the first half. Charlotte was able to cut the halftime deficit in half after the Wolverines failed on a surprise onside kick and the 49ers drove 39 yards for a score.
Callahan completed 25-of-39 passes for 317 yards, his third career 300-yard passing game. He also threw a pair of touchdown passes and rushed for two more, gaining 27 yards on eight carries.
George and Koudossou both had eight catches on the day, with George gaining a career-high 143 yards and a touchdown while Koudossou went for 86 yards. Rick Jackson also had a big day on the ground, running the ball a career-high 23 times for 92 yards and a score.
Sosthene Kapepula led the Wesley defense with eight tackles while Aamir Petrose and Jared Morris tallied six tackles apiece. Derrick Bender and Duke Herald each had a forced fumble and fumble recovery on the day.
Wesley closes out the regular season when it hosts Alfred State on Saturday, November 16, at 1 pm.