OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Visiting Widener University held off a fourth quarter rally by Stevenson University to post a 20-14 Middle Atlantic Conference football victory at Mustang Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Stevenson (4-4, 4-3 MAC) trailed 20-7 entering the fourth quarter, but with a drive that started at midfield following a 20-yard punt return by senior Preston Addo, cut the lead to 20-14 on a 20-yard completion from junior Dan Williams to senior Devin Salisbury to make it a 20-14 game with 5:02 remaining.
Widener (6-2, 6-1 MAC) went three-and-out on its next drive as Rob Ennis, Jr. rushed three times for a total of seven yards. Punting from their own 48, a 40-yard punt was returned 45 yards by Addo, putting the Mustangs at the Pride 43 with 2:43 left and two timeouts.
A 16-yard completion on the first play of the ensuing drive from Williams to senior Kenneth Scott-Kelow put Stevenson at the 27, and following an incomplete pass, a 24-yard completion to Addo got the Mustangs down to the Widener 3 with just over two minutes to play. A one-yard rush by sophomore Daqwan Hill got the Mustangs to the 2 and Widener called a timeout.
On second and goal, Williams and junior Isaiah Austin got tangled up on a handoff causing Austin to fall at the 8. Hill got the Mustangs back to the 4 on his third down rush. Following a Stevenson timeout, the Mustangs were looking pass, but Widener's defense had the receivers locked down, and Williams tried to squeeze a pass into the right side of the end zone to junior Sebastien Vainqueur that fell short out of bounds.
Widener scored the game's first 17 points, taking a 3-0 lead with 6:27 left in the first quarter on a 29-yard field goal by Michael Raczak. The Pride extended the lead to 10-0 at the 2:19 mark as a four-yard run by Ennis capped a nine-play, 60-yard drive. In the second quarter, following a 37-yard punt by senior Wade Korvin that pinned Widener at its own 1, the Pride marched 99 yards in 11 plays, with a three-yard run by D'Andre Sapp with 7:09 left before halftime extending the lead to 17-0.
Stevenson got on the board 1:08 before halftime as a five-yard keeper by Williams capped an eight-play, 51-yard drive to make it 17-7. The drive began as Kyle Pleet recovered a fumble at midfield, one play after Williams had thrown an interception. The big play on the drive was a 15-yard completion to Salisbury that put the Mustangs on the Widener 21. Two plays later, Williams was sacked and fumbled with Widener recovering, but a holding flag on the Pride kept the drive alive and moved Stevenson to the 10.
The Mustangs received the kickoff to start the second half, but a fumble recovered by Widener at the Mustang 12 appeared ominous. However, the Mustang defense held as Widener came away with just three points on a 32-yard Raczak field goal.
On its next drive, Widener got down to the Mustang 29, but facing 4th-and-11, elected to try a 46-yard field goal by Ryan Gallagher, which fell short.
Taking over at the 29 with 8:39 to go in the third, Stevenson marched 70 yards, moving down to the Widener 8 on a 30-yard completion to Vainqueur, and on 3rd-and-goal, getting down to the 2 on a six-yard keeper by Williams. The Mustangs elected to go for it, but Hill was stopped at the 1 as Stevenson turned it over on downs.
The Pride appeared poised to put the game away as the guests drove 73 yards and had 1st-and-goal at the 2 in the beginning of the fourth quarter. Widener QB Sean McGaughey threw a floater to the back right corner of the end zone that was picked off by junior DJ Broxton. Starting at their own 20, Stevenson drove down to the Widener 16 before the drive stalled on fourth-and-1 as a Williams pass fell incomplete.
Williams finished the day 23-42 passing for 199 yards and a touchdown, while rushing seven times for 40 yards and a TD. Salisbury caught seven balls for 68 yards and a score, while Addo had five catches, but was held to a season-low 38 yards in receiving. Scott-Kelow had four catches for 34 yards. Austin had nine rushes for 34 yards.
Defensively, senior Cory Pietrzyk finished with 13 tackles (eight solo),including three tackles for a loss and a first-quarter interception after he grabbed a ball originally batted in the air by Broxton. The interception extended Stevenson's streak of games with a takeaway to 52. Broxton had seven tackles along with junior Ashton Leschke, with Leschke also registering a pass breakup.
McGaughey finished 20-43 passing for 254 yards, while Ennis carried 23 times for 117 yards.
The Pride outgained Stevenson 434-291 and held the ball for over 35 minutes. Widener was 10-20 on third down conversions, while the Mustangs converted on two-of-12 of their third down chances. Widener was whistled for 11 flags for 115 yards, while the Mustangs were flagged five times for 42 yards, its second-lowest total in both categories in 2017.
Stevenson returns to action next Saturday when it travels to Wilkes for a noon contest.