Friday, August 31, 2018

Around the MAC - Widener Football Drops Heartbreaker in Double Overtime to Rowan

Courtesy of Widener University Sports Information
CHESTER, Pa. – The Widener University football team raced out to an early lead, but on the strength of some big special teams plays, the Rowan Profs topped the Pride in a heartbreaker, 41-34 in double overtime, opening the season for both teams on Thursday night.

In stark contrast to last season's game which ended in a 6-0 final, the Blue and Gold got the quick jump, scoring three times in the first 11 minutes to take a 21-7 lead on a 38-yard pass from Sean McGaughey to Chris Randle with 4:11 to go in the first. Rowan scored on the next series and the squads traded touchdowns in the second quarter as Widener took a 28-21 lead into halftime.

Opening the third period, the Profs chopped into the lead with a field goal. Neither team scored again until Larry Eimer connected on a 33-yard field goal to extend the Pride edge to 31-24. On the ensuing kickoff, Elijah Rehm took the ball the length of the field to knot the score at 31-31. The Pride had a chance in the waning seconds, but a field goal attempt came up short forcing the extra frame.

After the two teams each scored three in the opening possession of OT, Rowan was able to punch in a score from four yards out. Widener responded, getting the ball down to the nine on a pass from McGaughey to James Gillespie. A run on first down from Donte' Harrell brought the ball to the five, but the drive stalled in the final three plays.

  • Harrell led the Pride on the ground with 93 yards and two touchdowns in his first game since October 15, 2016 after missing last season with an injury.
  • Randle ran 19 times for 85 yards as well as catching five passes for 45 yards. He scored a pair of touchdowns total for the game.
  • Gillespie had a career-best 111 yards receiving in the contest.
  • In his debut with the Pride, Shane Mulhern led the team with 13 tackles. Anthony Jordan followed closely with a career best 12.
  • Eimer's 44-yard field goal in overtime was the longest for a Widener kicker in three years.

  • After neither team scored in its first possession, set up by good field position after a Rowan punt from deep in its own territory, WU took the ball 44 yards on eight plays, capped by a one-yard plunge by Harrell to go up 7-0.
  • The Profs countered on the kickoff with an 83-yard return for a score.
  • Widener moved the ball well on its next possession, going 63 yards in nine plays. Harrell once again found paydirt, scoring from nine yards out.
  • After a Rowan fumble, the Blue and Gold wasted no time in responding as McGaughey found Randle from 36 yards out, pushing the lead to 21-7.
  • Harrell was the story of the opening frame. The running back who missed last season with an injury ran the ball six times for 25 yards and two scores.

  • Leading 21-14 just less than five minutes into the second quarter, Widener capped an eight play, 93-yard drive that started when Rowan turned the ball over on downs in the end zone with a three-yard run from Randle.
  • Late in the frame, the Profs scored the final points of the quarter as Cory Madden took a swing pass from Riley Giles and scampered eight yards for the score.
  • Jordan had six of his tackles in the period.

  • Neither team was able to get much offense going in the quarter as the only points came on the opening possession when the Profs kicked a field goal, chipping the lead to 28-24.
  • Mulhern had six takedowns in the frame.
  • Gillespie caught two passes for 40 yards.

  • Widener broke a 20-plus minute scoreless streak between the two teams when Eimer drilled a 33-yard field goal with just less than six minutes remaining, extending the advantage to 31-24.
  • The lead was shortlived as Rehm took back his second kickoff of the night, this time for 100 yards to knot the score.
  • Mike Pawlowski had two tackles and his first sack of the season in the frame.

  • The Blue and Gold started on offense and mustered a 44-yard field goal by Eimer in its possession.
  • Rowan responded with a field goal of its own to send the game into a second extra frame, where the Profs scored a TD.
  • Widener moved the ball and had a first-and-goal from the nine, but couldn't punch in from the five on three tries.
  • Eimer's field goal was the longest for a Widener kicker since Ryan O'Hara blasted a 52-yarder against Delaware Valley on November 14, 2015.

The Pride returns to action when it faces rival Lycoming on Saturday, September 8 in a non-conference matchup. Kickoff from Hirschmann Field at Quick Stadium is set for 1:07 p.m.