October 7, 2017

Powell Intercepts Two Passes as Widener Downs Wilkes

Photo Courtesy of Widener Sports Information
Article courtesy of Widener office of Sports Information
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Widener University football team forced three turnovers, returning one for a score and went over 400 yards of offense for the second straight game as the Pride won its first road contest of the year, 30-7 against the Wilkes Colonels on Saturday afternoon.


After holding the Colonels on a fourth down attempt early in the first quarter, Widener opened the scoring, using a four-play, 38-yard drive, capped by a 26-yard touchdown pass from Graham Jespersen to D'Andre Sapp. Later in the frame, the Blue and Gold converted its first field goal of the season as Michael Raczak connected on a 40-yarder. Neither team scored in the second as the Pride took the 10-0 lead into halftime.

In the third, Widener scored twice early in the period. Receiving the opening kickoff of the half, the Pride marched 77 yards in nine plays, culminating in a two-yard scamper by Jespersen to make it 16-0. On the ensuing Wilkes possession, the Colonels had a third down on their own 34 before Powell stepped up and intercepted a Wade Rippeon pass, taking it all the way back for his second pick six of the year and a 23-0 lead. As it has often this season, Widener used the deep ball for its last score as Jespersen connected with Montrell Hicks-Taylor for an 82-yard touchdown, the longest play of the year for the Pride, extending the advantage to 30-0. A Nicholas Geimer run midway through the period cemented the final score.

FIRST QUARTER NOTES
  • After stopping the Colonels in four plays on the first series of the game, Widener took over on the Wilkes 36. An eight-yard run by Rob Ennis, Jr. gave the Pride a 1st-and-10 on the 26 when Jespersen hooked up with Sapp for a score to put the Pride up 7-0.
  • Jespersen completed all four of his passes for 48 yards in the opening 15 minutes.
  • Widener kicked its first field goal of the season as Raczak delivered a 40-yard shot with 3:19 remaining in the frame.

SECOND QUARTER NOTES
  • The Pride claimed its first interception of the day as Kyle Lowery picked off a Rippeon pass, ending a Wilkes drive that started midway through the period.
  • Neither team had much offensive punch in the quarter as 38 total plays led to 117 combined total yards.
  • Ennis gained 32 of Widener's 52 yards on nine carries.

THIRD QUARTER NOTES
  • The Pride started the second half off with a bang, taking the opening kickoff and going 77 yards on nine plays. Jespersen finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run. Jespersen accounted for 72 yards on the drive with 53 through the air and 19 on the ground.
  • Three plays after the kickoff, Powell stepped up and took down his second interception of the year, returning it 36 yards to paydirt. It was his third defensive score of the season.
  • Later in the period, the junior would strike again. After Wilkes came up with an interception of its own, Powell picked off his second pass of the quarter on the very next play.

FOURTH QUARTER NOTES
  • The Blue and Gold completed its scoring for the day early in the fourth as after losing two yards to its own 18 on the first play after a punt, Jespersen went up top to Hicks-Taylor for the longest play of the year for Widener, connecting on an 82-yard touchdown pass.
  • Powell completed his strong day with four tackles in the frame.

BY THE NUMBERS
  • Powell became the first Widener player with two interceptions in a game since Lowery did it against Albright on Oct. 29, 2016. He also moved into third place on the Widener single-season list with 136 interception return yards.
  • It was the fourth time this season the Pride has held its opponent to 10 points or less.

TWEETABLES (140 characters or less)
  • Jordan Powell records his second pick six and third touchdown of the year on D as @Widener_FB downs Wilkes RollPride GoWidener
  • Montrell Hicks-Taylor pulls in the longest play of the year with an 82-yard touchdown as @Widener_FB tops the Colonels RollPride GoWidener

UP NEXT
Widener returns to Quick Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 14 for homecoming against the Lycoming Warriors. Part of the festivities will include honoring the 1977 National Championship Football Team. Kickoff is slated for 1:07 p.m.
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