MOUNT PLEASANT – Iowa Wesleyan College moved the ball as well as it has all season, but committed nine turnovers in a 27-7 loss to Grand View University Saturday afternoon at Mapleleaf Stadium.
The Tigers had a season-high 25 first downs and ran a staggering total of 98 offensive plays, but it wasn’t enough against the Vikings, ranked 22nd in the most recent NAIA national coaches’ poll. IWC was thwarted time and again by mistakes and dropped to 2-8 this season, 1-5 in the Mid-States Football Association Midwest League.
In addition to the nine turnovers, Wesleyan also had 14 penalties and five dropped passes, undoing a lot of good work throughout the day by the offense, defense and special teams. The Tigers outgained the Vikings 337-330, had a 25-20 advantage in first downs, converted five of six fourth downs, won the field position battle and generally moved the ball well against a Grand View team that came into the game ranked fourth in the MSFA in total defense.
IWC trailed 20-7 at halftime but could easily have led at the break. The Vikings scored their first touchdown in the first quarter when a Kevin McConnell (Fr.-Kansas City, Mo.) pass was mishandled by a Wesleyan receiver, tipped in the air and Josh Monette caught it and ran 42 yards with the interception return for GVU’s ninth touchdown of the season by its defense or special teams. The extra point kick snap was bobbled and the Vikings settled for a 6-0 lead.
Wesleyan came back late in the quarter, taking over at the Vikings’ 42-yard line after an interception by Gerald Knighten (Sr.-Bellwood, Ill.). Helped by a personal foul for roughing the punter that kept the drive alive and then a 30-yard connection between McConnell and Greg Fields (Sr.-St. Louis, Mo.), the Tigers scored when Jaren Maybin (Sr.-Baltimore, Md.) carried it in from one yard out. Darious Watson (Jr.-Bellwood, Ill.) made the extra point and IWC held a 7-6 lead after one quarter.
The Vikings responded quickly, helped by a 31-yard pass on third down to keep a drive alive, and Daryl Ford ran it in from eight yards out to make it 13-7. The teams then traded turnovers, and IWC embarked on a 19-play, 81-yard drive that included a pair of fourth down conversions, including a 20-yard run by Brian Schrock (Fr.-Congerville, Ill.) on a fake punt. A touchdown pass to the end zone on first-and-goal from the GVU 5 was dropped, though, and Watson’s eventual 21-yard field goal attempt was blocked.
Grand View’s next drive ended with a blocked field goal by Deevonte Browning (Fr.-Deland, Fla.), but after trading punts the Vikings got the ball back on an interception by Brandon Howard and scored on their next play for a 20-7 lead with just 38 seconds left in the half.
The Tigers still had a golden chance to score before halftime. A pair of Grand View personal foul penalties aided a drive. T.J. Tolliver (Jr.-Bellwood, Ill.), who came on at quarterback after McConnell was injured earlier in the second quarter, connected with Lawrence Moore (Jr.-Country Club Hills, Ill.) on a 16-yard pass down to the one-foot line with nine seconds left. But on first-and-goal, the snap was fumbled, and IWC also was unable to score on second-and-goal from the GVU 5 as time expired.
The second half became mostly a nightmare for Wesleyan. A long kickoff return by Knighten gave IWC great field position to start the half in Grand View territory, but a third down sack and fumble was recovered by the Vikings. GVU then went 57 yards in seven plays, capped by Ford catching an eight-yard swing pass from Gregory Charles for a score.
The Tigers would get to at least midfield on every possession in the second half, but six of the seven possessions ended in turnovers. Three of the drives ended inside the GVU 25-yard-line, including one at the nine-yard line.
Tolliver finished the game 21-for-48 passing for 187 yards but five interceptions and two lost fumbles on sacks. Combined with 65 yards passing by McConnell, the 252 yards through the air was easily the most passing by Wesleyan in a game this season. Moore had his biggest receiving day of the season with 10 catches for 100 yards. Maybin rushed 19 times for a net of 43 yards, with several long runs called back by penalties, and the senior also had five catches for 47 yards.
The Wesleyan defense recovered three turnovers of its own in the game, including fumble recoveries by Tim Leon (Fr.-San Diego, Calif.) and Derek Stover (Fr.-Warner Robins, Ga.), and also blocked a pair of field goals. Nate Washington (Fr.-Stone Mountain, Ga.) had five tackles and also blocked a field goal, while Tarvis Gordon (Fr.-Sanford, Fla.) and Chris Owens (Jr.-Greer, S.C.) also had five tackles each.
Ford led Grand View with 68 yards rushing, while Charles came off the bench to throw for 163 yards and run for 23 more. The Vikings improved to 7-2 overall, 5-0 in the MSFA Midwest.
Before the game a total of 10 seniors were honored before their last home game, including Fields, Knighten, Maybin, Jason Amy (Lake Elsinore, Calif.), Scott Baldwin (Penn Valley, Calif.), Brian Farmer (Bronx, N.Y.), Carl Granum (Sr.-Brooklyn, N.Y.), Bayquon McDonald (Bronx, N.Y.), Chris Newman (Mount Dora, Fla.) and Rocco Russo (Miami, Fla.).
The Tigers have next week off and will finish their season Nov. 14 at St. Ambrose University in Davenport. Game time is 1 p.m.
For more information regarding the IWC football program or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; email@example.com e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
Box score #22 GVU 27 IWC 7