DOVER, Del. - The fourth-ranked Wesley College football team survived a wild affair with No. 23 Rowan University outlasting the Profs for a 38-25 victory at Drass Field on Saturday afternoon. The game included nine turnovers, including five in the fourth quarter, and two safeties as the top-25 teams traded blows.
Joe Callahan earned a pair of outstanding accolades in the contest, breaking the Wesley program record for career touchdown passes with his 101st and 102nd passing scores, and crossing the 10,000 passing yard threshold, becoming just the second Wesley quarterback to ever accomplish that feat.
Callahan went 37-for-50 passing with 399 yards and two touchdowns. Bryce Shade received the biggest share of those completions, catching 12 for 159 yards. Kyle George brought in 10 catches for 96 yards while Alex Kemp and Tory Robinson each pulled in touchdown passes. Jamar Baynard carried the ball 28 times for 123 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.
On the defensive side, Craig Pettit led the team with 11 tackles and an interception while Samer Manna had 10 tackles and scooped up a fumble recovery. James Williamson recorded eight tackles and forced a pair of fumbles that both resulted in turnovers. Andre Connally earned six tackles and picked off a pair of passes for the Wolverines.
The Wesley defense came up large in their top-25 matchup, setting up Callahan and the offense with great field position all day long. A forced fumble by James Williamson set the Wolverines up for their first score. Joe Callahan connected with Alex Kemp for 44 yards on a fly route to make it 7-0 midway through the first quarter.
The Wesley defense earned a stop on their next possession, but were pinned inside their own five by a punt and a penalty. On the next play from scrimmage, Rowan earned a sack for a safety making it 7-2. After fielding the free kick, Rowan connected on a 61-yard play action pass for a score, making it 9-7 late in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Callahan orchestrated a 12-play, 78-yard drive for a touchdown, finding Tory Robinson on a six-yard hitch route in the end zone for the score. The extra point from Speidel made it 14-9. After the Wolverine defense forced a punt, the next Wesley offensive drive stalled out at the Rowan 20.
The Profs drove the length of the field, winding the clock and looking for a go-ahead score before the halftime whistle. Rowan seemed poised to score as they progressed down to the Wesley 13-yard line with less than 2:00 remaining in the half. On a third and goal from the 13, Andre Connally picked off the Profs in the end zone to preserve the Wesley lead as they entered the halftime break.
In the third quarter, Wesley opened the scoring with a 27-yard field goal from Speidel, increasing their lead to 17-9. On the ensuing Rowan drive, the Profs were faced with third and short and decided to hand the ball off. James Williamson exploded into the Rowan backfield and blew up the play, nearly stealing the handoff. Instead he disrupted the exchange from quarterback to running back and forced a fumble which was picked up by Manna and returned to the Rowan 7-yard line, setting up the offense with pristine field position. Three plays later, Jamar Baynard found the end zone for a score, making it 24-9.
The Profs and Wolverines traded scores as the third quarter ticked away. At the end of three periods, Wesley held a 31-16 lead. On the next Rowan drive, the Wesley defense forced a quick punt and it looked as if the Wolverine offense would receive the ball looking to go ahead by three scores. Instead, a muffed punt gave the Profs the ball on the Wesley 24.
Later that drive, Rowan was faced with 4th-and-16 and decided to go for it. The Profs quarterback was picked off on the two-yard line, but the ball was stripped, rolled back into the end zone and recovered by a Wesley defender. The call on the field was originally ruled a touchback, but after a lengthy conversation the referees awarded Rowan their second safety of the game, making the score 31-18 and giving the Profs the ball again.
On the ensuing free kick, Jemel Smith returned it 83 yards for a touchdown, cutting the Wesley lead to just six points, 31-25. The next Wesley drive wound over three minutes off the clock, but a turnover on downs gave Rowan the ball back at their own 20 with 5:36 to go.
Over the next five plays, three turnovers occured keeping the raucous fans on the edge of their seats. Wesley allowed a big run on the Profs' first play, but stripped the running back in pursuit and fell on the ball. Two plays later, Callahan was picked on a deflected pass. Two plays after that, Connally snatched his second interception of the game and set up Wesley with the ball in Rowan territory and just 3:58 remaining.
After the wild sequence of turnovers, the Wolverines fed Jamar Baynard a constant diet of carries as they burnt the clock down in the final quarter. The running back was featured in every snap of a five-play, 33-yard scoring drive that he capped with a 14-yard counter to the right for a touchdown. The score made it 38-25 and sealed the victory for the Wolverines.
With the victory over their New Jersey Athletic Conference foe, Wesley stayed perfect on the season at 7-0 with a 6-0 mark in conference play. The Navy and White will return to action on October 31 when they travel to Montclair State University for another NJAC matchup.