URBANA, Ohio – West Virginia Wesleyan's Derek Drapen caught a one-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Deal (pictured) with 16 seconds remaining to tie the score at 20-20 here today against the Urbana Blue Knights in a Mountain East Conference game.
Bobcat kicker Tyler Fischer was good on his point-after-kick to give Wesleyan the come-from-behind 21-20 victory.
Urbana started their final drive at their own 28 with nine seconds left.
On the first play, Kevin Pharaon and Justin Forchion teamed for a sack of Urbana quarterback Cale Burdyshaw for a nine-yard loss and on Urbana's final play, they threw a pass for a six-yard loss as the clock expired.
It was quite the comeback for Wesleyan who trailed going into the half by a score of 13-0.
It was also a record-breaking day for tailback Michael Anderson who rushed for 187 yards and a score as he became the college's all-time leading rusher.
Urbana scored a pair of first-quarter touchdowns and they would take that 13-0 into the third quarter. They missed on a two-point conversion on their second score which would become a key play later in the game.
Wesleyan finally got on the scoreboard at the 6:35 mark of the third quarter.
The drive started at their own 10-yard line and they marched 90 yards in just under three minutes.
Wesleyan scored on a 21-yard pass play from Deal to Drapen, who caught two touchdowns on the day.
Fischer's kick was good to trim the Urbana lead to 13-7.
An Urbana interception set them up with a short field on their next score.
Starting at the Bobcat 20-yard line, they needed just two plays as Burdyshaw hit Trevon Saunders for a 10-yard pass on the first play of the fourth quarter to put the Blue Knights up by a 20-7 score.
Wesleyan mounted their comeback on their next series.
They started at their own 14 and went 86 yards for the score.
The drive was capped off on a four-yard run by Anderson with 11:02 left in the game.
Fischer was true on his kick as that made the score 20-14.
On the Bobcats' go-ahead drive, they started at their own 27 with 6:04 showing on the clock following an interception by Chad Pinson.
Anderson started the drive with a three-yard run, Deal completed a 30-yard pass to Waddell, and then Anderson ran the ball four more times for 25 yards. That put the ball at the Urbana 15.
Jerel English had three carries for three yards and Anderson carried it twice more for seven yards to put the ball Urbana five.
Facing a fourth-and-two at the Urbana five, Wesleyan called back-to-back timeouts.
On the next play, Anderson found an opening and darted four yards for the go-ahead score.
"To come back and win a football game down 13-0 speaks to the growth of the team," remarked head coach Del Smith. "With as many nail-biters as we have lost this year, I was very proud of our guys to be able to exchange scores, get critical turnovers and complete the final drive to win the game."
Wesleyan outgained Urbana by a 466-399 margin on offense.
Deal finished his day completing 21 of his 34 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns.
Waddell was Deal's favorite target as he caught six passes for 102 yards.
Pharaon led the defense with six tackles and 3.5 sacks.
The defense had five sacks on the day, an interception (Pinson) and one forced fumble (Jabari Weems).
"I credit our defense for keeping us in it early and causing the key turnover late in the fourth quarter to give us a chance to drive for the win," Smith remarked.
Wesleyan improved to 2-5 on the season and 2-5 in the MEC.
They will have little time to enjoy the win as they travel to East Tennessee State, a FCS school, this Thursday.
Kick-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.