November 29, 2014

Widener Football Elite Eight Bound - The Pride upends Christopher Newport 37-27

Image: John Green
Chester, PA (Nov. 29, 2014) – No. 10 Widener took a commanding third-quarter lead and held off a comeback attempt from Christopher Newport for a 37-27 victory in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Leslie C. Quick Jr. Stadium.


Widener (12-0) is off to the national quarterfinals for the 11th time in school history, improved to 12-0 for the only the third time in team annals, is 7-0 in NCAA Tournament games at Quick Stadium and 5-2 in the “Sweet 16.”

The Pride also are 6-0 at home, marking the third time in four years they have won at least their first six home games in one season.

Widener will face 10th-ranked Linfield in the quarterfinals next Saturday at a site to be determined. The Pride have their No. 10 ranking according to the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and the Wildcats have their ranking according to D3Football.com.

The Pride began to establish momentum early in the second quarter, when a 75-yard drive gave the squad the lead for good. Sophomore Seth Klein (Wernersville, PA) fired a 46-yard pass to senior All-America Anthony Davis (Upland, PA)that went to the four yard line and put Widener in business. Klein then found a wide-open sophomore Montrell Hicks Taylor (Newark, DE) for a four-yard touchdown pass with 11:23 to go in the half and a 14-10 lead.

Widener then looked to deliver the knockout punch late in the half, when a 98-yard drive that took just under three minutes was capped with Klein sneaking in from one yard with 37 seconds left for a 21-10 contest.

The Captains (8-4) got a 35-yard field goal from Mason Studer on the second-half’s opening drive for a 21-13 deficit, but the Pride came right back. A pass-interference penalty set up the home team and senior Terrant Morrison (Smyrna, DE)ended it on a one-yard run with 7:27 remaining in the third for a 27-13 lead.

Widener’s defense, which most of the year has led the nation in fewest rushing yards allowed, forced CNU into a three-and-out before again extending the lead. Klein completed four passes in the ensuing drive for at least 10 yards, capped with a 14-yard strike to senior Brian DiGiovanni (Glen Mills, PA) for a 34-13 margin.

Junior Ryan O’Hara (Royersford, PA) kicked a 32-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter for a 37-13 Pride margin.

CNU made things interesting on Daquan Davis’ 31-yard touchdown run with 8:16 to play for a 37-20 margin and then got the ball back when Drew Davidson recovered a fumble forced by Mic Edwards. The Captains then marched 66 yards and scored on Marcus Morrast’s three-yard scoring pass to Rudy Randolph for a 37-27 contest.

The drama continued when the on-side kick was recovered by the Captains’ Vincent Bolden at his squad’s 36 yard line. But on CNU’s last two drives, it went four-and-out thanks to Widener’s ever-present defense which sent the home team on in the bracket.

Klein again had a strong outing, completing 21-of-29 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns. He now has 33 touchdowns this year, the second-best single-season total in school history.

Davis had 13 catches for 146 yards and now has 261 receptions for his career, the third-best total in Middle Atlantic Conference history.

Brandon Harper (Blackwood, NJ), the MAC’s Defensive Player of the Year, closed with seven tackles and fellow seniorKevin Burns (Collingdale, PA) had six for the Pride.

The teams on the stat sheet almost played level with Widener holding a 373-361 edge in total offense, CNU gaining a 269-268 margin in passing yards and Widener posting a 24-20 edge in first downs.

Morrast completed 25-of-45 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns to Rudy Rudolph, who had eight receptions for 106 yards. Edwards and Cameron Barlow each had eight tackles for the Captains.