MOUNT PLEASANT – Iowa Wesleyan College went up and down the field and piled up the yards, but Quincy University took advantage of big plays to defeat the Tigers 35-28 Saturday night in a wild game at Evans Field.
The Tigers put up 517 yards of total offense, driving the ball almost at will for much of the evening. IWC missed several golden opportunities to finish drives with touchdowns, though, while the Hawks had two long touchdown plays and one big quarter that made the difference in the game. The result was Quincy taking over first in the Mid-States Football Association Midwest League while the Tigers dropped to 0-3 in league play, 2-5 overall.
After a tight first half, Quincy blew out to a substantial lead in the third quarter, scoring three touchdowns on its way to a 35-13 lead. Josh Mitchell had the big blow, returning a Tyler McGuire (Sr.-Mount Pleasant, Iowa) punt 72 yards for a touchdown, breaking numerous tackles on the play and weaving through the punt coverage to give the Hawks an eventual 25-13 lead after holder Dustin Keeven picked up a bobbled snap on the point after attempt and ran around end for two points.
The Tigers continued to move the ball and continued to battle in the fourth quarter, though, and would throw a serious scare into the guests before the end. Quarterback Bryan Abihider (Sr.-Hemet, Calif.) who had a career-high 318 yards passing, ran it in from eight yards out to make it 35-20 with 5:54 left in the game. He then guided a 71-yard drive that took 12 plays but took just 1:59 off the clock and was capped by Daryan Coleman (So.-Downers Grove, Ill.) catching his second touchdown pass of the night and Abihider running in the two-point conversion to make it 35-28 with 38 seconds left.
IWC very nearly got the ball back again in the final seconds. The Tigers tried an onside kick, and Kyle DeRossett (Sr.-Dupo, Ill.) recovered the first attempt, only to see Wesleyan get penalized for being offsides on the play. DeRossett had a chance to recover a second attempt as well but was hit just as he tried to corral it in, and the Hawks recovered and ran out the clock.
Iowa Wesleyan’s offensive prowess was on display from start to finish, with the Tigers outgaining the Hawks 295-164 in the first half. Lawrence Moore (So.-Country Club Hills, Ill.) was on the receiving end of a number of Abihider’s throws and had 95 yards receiving in the first half before finishing with career highs in receptions (11) and receiving yards (188).
However, it was Quincy that held a 10-6 lead at the break. The Tigers shut down the Hawks for most of the first 30 minutes, but in the second quarter James Bailey took a short pass from Sam Donatucci, broke one tackle and was gone to a 65-yard touchdown to put the visitors ahead.
On the other hand, a number of promising drives came up short for IWC. The Tigers drove inside Quincy’s 20-yard line four times in the first half but had just six points to show for it. Scott Knipfer (Sr.-Cottage Grove, Wis.) made a pair of field goals but had another blocked, and a fourth drive just before halftime ended at the Hawks’ six-yard line with time expiring.
Until the third quarter wore on, though, the IWC defense limited the damage. Gerald Knighten (Jr.-Bellwood, Ill.) intercepted a pair of passes, and both interceptions took place in Tiger territory with the Hawks threatening to score. The converted wide receiver now has four interceptions this season and three in the past two games. He also added a pair of pass break-ups in a fierce match-up with Bailey, who also had four catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns.
Abihider finished 28 of 48 passing and added 57 yards rushing for 375 yards of total offense. Jaren Maybin (Jr.-Baltimore, Md.) rushed for 114 yards on 19 carries, his third 100-yard rushing game of the season. Greg Fields (So.-St. Louis, Mo.) added a career high eight catches for 49 yards, while Coleman scored the first two touchdowns of his career, including a six-yard catch from Abihider in the third quarter that answered a Quincy touchdown to start the second half and made it 17-13.
Darious Watson (Jr.-Bellwood, Ill.) led the Tiger defense with eight tackles. Quincy finished with 302 yards of offense, with IWC holding a 4 ½ minute edge in time of possession and a huge 84-52 advantage in offensive plays run. With conference-leading St. Ambrose losing to McKendree 21-7 on Saturday, the Hawks are now alone in first in the MSFA Midwest at 3-0 in league, 4-3 overall, and have won four straight after a 0-3 start.
IWC will try again for its first MSFA Midwest win of the season next Saturday against Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill. at 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.