DOVER, Del. – No. 18 Wesley College punched in a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns en route to a 38-17 win over No. 20 Stevenson University in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Division III Football Championship Saturday afternoon at Scott D. Miller Stadium. The Wolverines improve to 9-2 and advance to face No. 7 John Carroll next weekend, while the Mustangs, who were making their first NCAA appearance, finish at 9-2 for the second straight season.
Wesley, which is making its 12th straight and 13th overall NCAA appearance, was led by 265 rushing yards and three touchdowns by Jamar Baynard. The Wolverines amassed 540 total yards of offense, with quarterback Nick Falkenberg finishing 21-35 passing for for 199 yards and two touchdowns. Bryce Shade caught 12 balls for 123 yards and had both touchdown grabs.
Stevenson junior quarterback Dan Williams finished 22-35 passing for 323 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions. Juniors Devin Salisbury and Preston Addo each had six catches, including a TD grab, while Dequan Ellison had five catches. Senior Devonte Williams rushed 11 times for 46 yards.
After Wesley's first two drives ended in interceptions by junior Mike Datu, including one at the goal line, Stevenson took a 7-0 lead as a 20-yard pass from Dan Williams to Addo capped a four-play, 75-yard drive with 1:11 left in the first quarter. Wesley answered 1:08 into the second with a 23-yard field goal to make it 7-3 following a Mustang defensive stand. The Wolverines went up 10-7 with 6:14 to go in the half as Falkenberg hit Shade with a seven-yard pass to cap a 69-yard drive.
Stevenson tied the game 2:13 before intermission on a 30-yard field goal by senior Tim Sternfeld, but the guests took a 17-10 lead into the locker room with a nine-play, 81-yard drive capped by a 37-yard pass to Shade in the end zone with six seconds on the clock.
Wesley received to start the second half and went three-and-out, with a punt putting Stevenson back at its own 15. On the first play, Dan Williams went back to pass, but the ball slipped out of his hand and Wesley recovered. It took two plays, with a six-yard Baynard run, making it 24-10 with 12:41 left in the third.
Stevenson pulled within 24-17 on the first play from scrimmage with 8:50 to go in the third, as Dan Williams completed a pass over the middle to Salisbury, who was able to shake several defenders and run in for the 80-yard score. The score remained 24-17 until Baynard scored with 12:04 left in the fourth to cap off a 15-play, 65-yard drive that chewed up 5:01. Wesley's insurance touchdown came with 6:37 left as Baynard ran in from 13 yards out to make it 38-17.
Wesley outgained Stevenson 540-357 and held the ball for just over 33 minutes. The Mustangs had a takeaway for the 44th straight game and an interception in the 26th consecutive game. The Wolverines finished 3-3 on fourth down conversions. The Mustangs lost the turnover battle 3-2, just the second time all season it commited more turnovers than their opponent.
Stevenson head coach Ed Hottle talks about the team's first ever NCAA Championship Tournament appearance and shares his thoughts on the team in general.