OSKALOOSA – William Penn University rushed for 353 yards and got several big plays in the passing game as Iowa Wesleyan College dropped a 44-14 decision to the Statesmen Saturday afternoon in Mid-States Football Association Midwest League play at a frigid Oskaloosa Community Stadium.
The Tigers moved the ball at times, recovered two turnovers and even had good field position for a number of drives thanks to some good play in the kick return game. The Statesmen made Wesleyan pay for its turnovers and inconsistency, though, and dropped IWC to 2-5 this season (1-3 in the MSFA Midwest).
William Penn blew the game open with 16 points in a 5:59 span bridged over halftime and just after the Tigers looked ready to make a run in the second half. After Penn took a 21-0 lead late in the second quarter following an 11-yard Ryan Van Dalen touchdown pass to Skyler Crouch, the Tigers marched down the field, going 75 yards in 11 plays. Included in the drive was a fourth down fake punt in which upback Brian Schrock (Fr.-Congerville, Ill.) ran 16 yards for a first down, and Kevin McConnell (Fr.-Kansas City, Mo.) finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run to make it 21-7 with just 25 seconds left in the half.
Unfortunately for Wesleyan, the scoring in the half wasn’t over. The Statesmen completed a desperation pass with two seconds left in the half, with Crouch catching the ball between two defenders at the IWC six-yard line. Cam Shearon was able to come on and kick a 24-yard field goal as time expired, making it 24-7 at the half.
Penn then received the second half opening kick, but the Tigers seemed to have the Statesmen stopped on downs until punter Cody Hackett ran for 14 yards on a fake punt on 4th and 10 to keep the drive alive. Van Dalen finished the drive with a one-yard touchdown run, his third of the game, and things got worse for IWC on its first offensive possession of the second half.
Following a 39-yard kickoff return by Gerald Knighten (Sr.-Bellwood, Ill.), the Tigers had good field position. With 3rd and 3 near midfield, though, McConnell’s pass was tipped and intercepted by Javaras Thomas of WPU, and on the Statesmen’s first play after the turnover Van Dalen threw another jump ball to Crouch, who came down with the ball at the 10 and went the final yards for a 52-yard touchdown reception.
Still, the Tigers were in position to make some noise late in the game after several defensive stops later in the quarter. Deonte Fletcher (Fr.-Conyers, Ga.) recovered a Penn fumble and raced 51 yards for a touchdown in the third to make it 37-14, and Wesleyan got the ball back again late in the quarter and moved right down field.
McConnell connected with Qadeer Stewart (Fr.-Morena Valley, Calif.) twice on the drive, including a 32-yard pass down to the Penn four-yard line at the end of the quarter. But with four chances from inside the five-yard line the Tigers came up empty, the drive ending when McConnell couldn’t handle a low snap on fourth down and went down at the 12-yard line. The Statesmen then responded by going 88 yards in nine plays, eight of them coming on the ground. Dalton Phelps capped the drive with a 16-yard touchdown run to close out the scoring.
Offensively the Tigers got off to a slow start, getting just one first down in the first quarter. IWC also was plagued by a number of dropped passes throughout the game. The IWC offense posted 161 total yards but had just 53 yards rushing on 27 attempts. McConnell rushed for 23 yards on 16 attempts, but Jaren Maybin (Sr.-Baltimore, Md.) was held to three yards on eight carries in the game. McConnell completed 13 of 30 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown, hooking up a game-high six times with Stewart for 67 yards.
Defensively the Tigers were led by Chris Owens (Jr.-Greer, S.C.), who was all over the field all day and had 11 tackles. Darious Watson (Jr.-Bellwood, Ill.) and Nate Washington (Fr.-Stone Mountain, Ga.) both added 10 tackles, while Eduardo Garcia (Fr.-San Diego, Calif.) had seven tackles. Matthew Palmer-Newton (So.-Camarillo, Calif.) also added his second fumble recovery of the season in his first start of the year.
Van Dalen rushed for 141 yards for William Penn, which controlled the ball for more than 36 minutes. Crouch had four receptions for 126 yards for the Statesmen, who improved to 4-3 overall, 2-1 in the MSFA Midwest and defeated IWC for the 10th straight time in the series.
The Tigers now get ready for their Homecoming game next Saturday against Quincy (Ill.) University. Game time will be 1 p.m. at Mapleleaf Stadium.
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 WPU 44 IWC 14