Time of Poss.
ROCKFORD, Ill. – A.J. Veloz (Fr.-Whiting, Ind.) threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns and Lakeland College used big pass plays, a big first half and more stout defense for a 34-7 win over Rockford University Saturday afternoon.
The Muskies blew out to a 27-7 halftime lead and won their third straight game to improve to 3-0 in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (3-3 overall). Lakeland also improved to 7-0 all-time against the Regents and held an opponent to a single touchdown for the third straight week, a stretch in which it has outscored opponents 116-21.
The Muskies once again used the big play on offense, with eight passes of at least 18 yards. That included all four touchdown passes on the day by quarterbacks Veloz and Michael Whitley (Fr.-Vidalia, La.).
Veloz found Kezlow Smith (Jr.-Pontiac, Mich.) for a 40-yard touchdown in the first quarter and a 19-yard pass to Richard Micheaux (Jr.-Taylor, Mich.) on the next drive that put Lakeland ahead for good at 13-7.
He also scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak late in the second quarter, and then delivered a dagger just before halftime. The Muskies got the ball back at their own 33 with just 30 seconds left in the half, but on the first play Veloz hit Michael Esiobu (Jr.-Chicago, Ill.) for a 67-yard bomb for a 27-7 lead.
Whitley also got in on the act in the fourth quarter, throwing for a 29-yard score to Smith, who finished with another 100-yard receiving day. Smith caught nine passes for 127 yards and was one of two 100-yard receivers, as Esiobu caught three passes for 104 yards.
The Lakeland defense also put up another stifling effort, limiting Rockford (1-5 overall, 0-2 NACC) to 146 yards of total offense. The Muskies also held an opponent to negative rushing yards for the second straight week, as the Regents' 24 rushing attempts netted -18 yards, and Rockford also was just 1-for-13 on third downs.
The defense also finished with six sacks, led by Josh Schneider (Jr.-Green Bay, Wis.) with 1.5 sacks. Yaphay Harvey (Sr.-Milwaukee, Wis.) and Landon Derginer (Jr.-Marinette, Wis.) also both intercepted passes and Devin Fears (So.-Pontiac, Mich.), Kevyn Lewis (So.-Romulus, Mich.) and Vincent Stepney-Willis (Jr.-Madison, Wis.) all recovered fumbles as Rockford turned the ball over five times.
In fact, the Muskie D did not allow a point and only allowed the Regents to drive into Lakeland territory twice. Rockford's lone score came in the first quarter when Reginald Haynes intercepted a Veloz pass and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown to give the Regents a brief 7-0 lead.
The Muskies gained 434 yards of offense, including 320 through the air. Veloz completed 20 of 32 passes and Whitley also completed both of his attempts for 60 yards total.
Kendrick Burks (Sr.-Pontiac, Mich.) led the running game with 20 carries for 46 yards. Michael Wynn (So.-Detroit, Mich.) also caught four passes for 49 yards.
Harvey led the defense with eight tackles and also added two passes broken up. Fred Fielding (Jr.-Black Creek, Wis.) added seven tackles. A total of seven players also finished with at least one-half sack.
The Muskies are back home next weekend when they host Aurora (Ill.) University at 1 p.m. at Taylor Field in another NACC matchup.