Wolverines Led by Defense to Fifth Straight Victory

Wolverines Led by Defense to Fifth Straight Victory

DOVER, Del. - The Wesley College Football team earned their fifth consecutive victory on Saturday, downing New Jersey Athletic Conference rival Montclair State University 37-14 as the Wesley defense collected four interceptions and held the Red Hawks scoreless in the second half. 

Nick Falkenberg earned his first start at quarterback since the first game of the season, throwing for 267 yards and two scores on 20-for-37 passing. Bryce Shade caught eight passes for 150 yards while Jamar Baynard ran for 71 yards on 17 carries. Alex Kemp spelled Falkenberg at quarterback for one drive, rushing for nine yards and a touchdown. 

Samer Manna led the Wesley defense with 12 total tackles while Stephen Yorkman had five tackles including a sack. Manna, Andre Connally, Ben Robinson, and DaJahn Lowery each finished with an interception. Connally returned his for a 58-yard score late in the game to seal the Wolverines' win.

Nick Bruhn was a special teams star, punting for 226 total yards on six kicks, and pinning the Red Hawks inside their own 20 yard line on two occasions. The freshman also drilled a 44-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, the longest Wesley field goal since 2010 when Dan Tryon hit a 46-yarder.

The Wolverines opened the game on a high note, stopping the Red Hawks' opening drive with a pick. DaJahn Lowery intercepted an overthrown ball and gave Wesley great field position. The Wolverine offense was stagnant though and had to settle for a field goal. Speidel drilled a chip shot to make it 3-0.

The Red Hawks responded with a touchdown drive to go ahead 7-3, going three plays for 75 yards and the score. Wesley came back later in the first quarter with a 10-play, 77-yard drive for another chip shot field goal. Speidel drilled it again to make it 7-6.

A blocked punt set up the Red Hawks with a short field in the second quarter, and the visitors punched in a short touchdown run to make it 14-6. Wesley answered the call with a touchdown drive of their own. Two plays from scrimmage later the Wolverines connected for a score. Falkenberg found Shade on a streak for a 38-yard pitch-and-catch down the sideline to make it 14-13. 

In the final seconds of the first half, Wesley added another touchdown to take the lead. Nick Falkenberg capped a 43-yard drive with a fade route to Xavier Allen. The 6-4 wide receiver wrestled the ball away from the MSU defender and came down with the score to make it 20-14 with 24 seconds left in the half. The Red Hawks kneeled out the clock and Wesley took their lead into the break.

In the second half, the Wesley defense stepped up, limiting the Red Hawks without points in the second half and cut the offense to just 42 rushing yards and 79 passing yards in the second half. On eight Montclair drives, the Wolverine defense forced three punts, blocked a field goal, recorded one turnover on downs, and intercepted three passes returning one for a touchdown.

Meanwhile the Wesley offense generated a touchdown drive with Alex Kemp at quarterback. The "Wildcat" formation threw off the Montclair defense and stimulated a Wesley offense that had stagnated for much of the third quarter. Kemp led a four play, 40-yard drive, all on the ground and capped it with a seven-yard keeper for a touchdown to make it 27-14.

In the fourth quarter, Wesley added 10 more points on a pair of spectacular plays. Nick Bruhn drilled a 44-yard field goal, the longest of his career and the longest by a Wolverine since 2010, to make it 30-14. Andre Connally provided the dagger in the final few minutes, jumping an out route and swiping the pass on the sideline before returning it 58 yards for a score.

Connally's defensive touchdown was Wesley's first defensive score since last season when Craig Pettit returned a pick to the house against Southern Virginia University. The touchdown made it 37-14 and erased all hope for the Red Hawks. Wesley forced another interception in the waning moments and kneeled out the clock for the win.

The Wolverines improve to 6-2 on the season with their fifth straight win. The squad remains atop the NJAC standings with a 6-1 mark and will face off against Salisbury University on November 5.