By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News
FULTON, Mo. ? The Iowa Wesleyan football team could taste the upset as the clock wound down in Fulton on Saturday, but the Tigers were stunned by a game-tying touchdown pass, and eventually fell in overtime.
The Tigers led by a touchdown with less than one minute remaining, but Westminster tied the game on a 73-yard touchdown pass and stole the game in overtime.
Ater the two teams traded punts early in the game, IW struck first with a 46-yard touchdown rush by Akenyon Bagley. The PAT was good and the Tigers led 7-0 early on.
The Tigers forced a Blue Jay fumble on the next Westminster posession, but the offense couldn?t capitalize on the good field position. The two defenses held up throughout the first quarter and it was 7-0 Tigers after one quarter.
The defenses continued to dominate for the majority of the second quarter, but Westminster was able to find their offense after getting good field position on a turnover on downs.
Westminster had the ball at the IW 46 to start their drive with 1:24 remaining in the half. Quarterback Treng White found Chase Abbington on a 35-yard touchdown pass three plays into the drive, and the PAT tied it up before halftime at 7-7.
The Tigers had to turn to backup quarterback Leo Kober in the third quarter after DeMarcus Collins was shaken up on a first down scramble. Kober took over in the red zone, connected with Jordan Pennington on a 15-yard pass, and then ran it in himself for a four-yard touchdown run to re-take the lead for IW.
The Tigers led 14-7 after three quarters, but Westminster was able to hit back in the fourth. The Blue Jays drove inside the IW red zone and scored on a 19-yard rushing touchdown by Latif Adams. The PAT was good and the game was tied 14-14.
Kober led the Tigers right back down the field on the next IW posession. After driving to the Westminster red zone, Kober hit Rudy Amezcua with a 15-yard touchdown pass, giving the Tigers back the lead at 21-14 after the extra point.
Westminster stalled on the next drive but got the ball back at their own 27 with 47 seconds left. On a second and 10, White hit Abbington on a slant play, and he darted down the field to score the biggest touchdown of the game with 33 seconds left. The extra point was good and IW found itself half a minute away from overtime.
The Tigers couldn?t get anything going on their posession in overtime. Kober was sacked on fourth and eight, and Westminster just needed one score to win.
The Blue Jays needed just two plays, a 24-yard pass to Abbington and a one-yard rush from Adams, to win the game and leave a sour taste in the Tigers? mouths.
IW lost the total offense battle 427-333, but won the turnover battle 2-0. The Tigers didn?t trail all game until the very last snap.
Collins finished 8-20 for 96 yards, and also scrambled for 35 yards. Kober was 8-14 for 82 yards and a touchdown, and added four yards and a score on the ground.
Amezcua led the receiving core with seven catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. Pennington had 47 yards on three catches. JOSH broadway caught three balls for 25 yards, and Dylan McDonald had one catch for eight yards.
Bagley went for 76 yards and a touchdown to lead the Tiger ground game. Damincio White ran for 37 yards, and Jacquez Hall ran for 15.
Corice Spann led the Tiger defense with 10 tackles. Daireon Smith had seven tackles and a fumble recovery, and Craig Wrenn finished with five tackles of his own.
Jalen Girtman forced two fumbles in the loss. Noah Ross forced one fumble and Julian Carabajal had a fumble recovery.
IW fell to 2-8 overall and 2-7 in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference. The Tigers finished in eighth place, ahead of both Minnesota Morris and Crown College. Eureka won the league at 8-1.